Popo Agie Falls Hike in Sinks Canyon, Wyoming

hiking pop agie falls

The Popo Agie Falls hike in Sinks Canyon State Park (just outside of Lander, Wyoming) is proof  you don’t have to be in the more famous mountain ranges to enjoy great hiking and beautiful scenery.

First, let’s get the pronunciation right: Popo Agie is a Crow Indian word that’s pronounced: “Puh – Po Shuh.” Yep, nothing like it looks like! But that’s what they say over at the Sinks Canyon State Park website.

What We Loved about the Popo Agie Falls Hike

I’m going to preface this by saying more accurately, “What I loved about the Popo Agie Falls hike…” This was our first family trip to the mountains and our kids hadn’t quite discovered the wonders of hiking yet. Now they’re all over it, so I’m sure if they were to do this today as adults they’d agree with this!

Hiking in Sinks Canyon
The Popo Agie River raging behind our kids, Sinks Canyon State Park

3 MILES ROUND-TRIP IS A NICE DISTANCE. Especially if this isn’t going to be your only activity of the day. Kids can handle 3 miles, making it a good family hike (as long as you bring snacks and water—something we neglected…and learned from!).

A SUPER INTRODUCTION TO MOUNTAIN HIKING. If you’re from a non-mountain state like we are, the Popo Agie Falls hike is a great one to start with. The elevation isn’t super high (up to 7,800 feet) and the climb isn’t super steep (660-foot elevation gain over 1.5 miles).

This well-used trail in Sinks Canyon is a great introduction to mountain hiking

If you’re headed out to the bigger mountains, this hike will get you primed for higher elevations and rougher terrain.

GORGEOUS WILDFLOWERS. We hiked this trail at the end of June, which is prime wildflower season. Many of the photos of flowers in the post 14 Favorite Rocky Mountain Wildflowers are from this hike.

Indian paintbrush, Sinks Canyon
Indian paintbrush was one of the many wildflowers blooming on this late June day

IMPRESSIVE WATERFALLS. The year we went—2011—they had had twice as month snow over the winter as normal. So there was SO much water coming over the falls. Later in the summer and in normal years people “ride” these falls, as seen from some of the photos elsewhere on the web.

Popo Agie Falls is about 60 feet from top to bottom, that you can enjoy from a bench if you want a break before heading back up the trail the way you came.

Popo Agie Falls
The water rushing down Popo Agie Falls

What Else is There to Do Around Here?

SCENIC DRIVE. Don’t miss The Loop Road! Unfortunately, we couldn’t drive it all because, as mentioned, they had had so much snow that year the road wasn’t fully plowed out yet—in late June! We were able to drive part of it, though, starting on the side opposite Sinks Canyon and got to an alpine lake for some trout fishing.

As long as you’re on this drive, take some time to visit…

SOUTH PASS CITY. On our 2017 trip to Wyoming we camped at Atlantic City Campground (we recommend it!) and spent a couple hours in South Pass City, a restored historic mining town. We really enjoyed this! This tiny little town has some major historic significance, like the home of the first woman judge in the US.

south pass city, wyoming
Historic mining town, South Pass City is just off The Loop Road scenic drive, and well worth the stop.

How to Get There

Lander is right on Highway 287 in west-central Wyoming. Sinks Canyon State Park is just 8 miles southwest of the city, at the southeast edge of Bridger-Teton National Forest.

We’ve stopped in the area twice now, both times either on our way to or from Grand Teton National Park. Lander is a nice-size town with lots to do, including, of course, rodeo.

On our first trip we camped here for two nights at Twin Pines RV Park. It’s right on the highway, but has very friendly staff and campground hosts, hot and clean showers, and is just a few miles from downtown Lander.

One of our favorite photos from our 2011 trip—it was published in a family hiking book by the American Hiking Society!

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