Lander is considered one of the best outdoor towns in America because of its close proximity to these mountains (known internationally for rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking).
Sinks Canyon gets its name from the disappearing river here (a unique geologic formation). The Middle Fork of the Popo Agie (pronounced Po-Po-Shuh and meaning ‘gurgling river’ in Crow Indian) River plunges underground into a great limestone cavern called the sinks and comes up in a calm pool about a ¼ miles downstream at The Rise.
Stop by the vsitor center in this Wyoming state park to learn more about the natural history of the canyon and the wildlife here. They have an observation deck that overlooks The Rise, guided tours and additional educational programming.
This area is ideal for hiking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, wildlife viewing or just taking in the sights. You’ll find plenty to keep you and your family entertained here, whether you plan to visit for a day or plan to spend several days.
Here are a few of the activities you can do at Sinks Canyon State Park:
Hiking at Sinks Canyon State Park
There are trails ranging from easy to difficult here and all showcase the beauty inside this interesting park – many diverse species of plants and animals, wildflowers, aspen and pine trees. Stop by the Visitor Center for maps and trail info.
Humans have been in these mountains for 1,000s of years, all the way back to the last ice age, and have left their mark throughout. Just since the late 19th century this area has had a saw mill, a small hydroelectric dam, power plant and a ski area.
Here are some of the trails at Sinks Canyon State Park:
- Lower Climbing Buttress – a ½ mile moderate but steep trail that climbs to the top of Tensleep Sandstone Cliffs on the south facing slope across from Sawmill Campground.
- Sinks to Rise Trail – also known as the Jr Ranger Trail, this ½ mile easy walk is on a paved ADA compliant trail through wildflowers along the river.
- Nature Trail – a one mile loop that crosses the suspension bridge. North Slope Trail – a one mile climb up the hillside above the Visitor Center.
- Canyon Loop – an easy 4 mile hike into forest service land.
- Popo Agie Falls – 1.5 mile hike to the large cascading waterfall.
Mountain Biking at Sinks Canyon State Park
There are miles of trails open year round for mountain biking. These trails, Sinks Canyon and Canyon Loop Trail, start at Popo Agie Campground and go through Shoshone Forest.
Climbing at Sinks Canyon State Park
This is one of the country’s best climbing areas! And it is an amazing place to climb year round with hundreds of routes over the sandstone, granite and limestone. There’s something for every skill level from beginner to the more experienced climber.
Stop by a local gear shop and pick up a guidebook on your way into the park.
Caving at Sinks Canyon State Park
Boulder Choke Cave is a multi level cave that you can explore most of the year. But it is closed during the late Spring and early Summer due to the high water levels from the river.
Take a guided tour through the cave and learn about its history and features. There is one easy tour that only requires a little bit of crouching but the other paths through the cave involve crawling in order to explore the deeper chambers within it.
Fishing at Sinks Canyon State Park
Fishing is allowed anywhere in the canyon except at The Rise and the stretch of water downstream from it (under the bridge to Highway 131). The Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River provides some wonderful cold water fishing opportunities – rainbow and brook trout as well as brown and cutthroat trout. Just remember to pick up a fishing license on your way in.
Wildlife at Sinks Canyon State Park
A fun attraction at Sinks Canyon State Park is that you can feed the giant brown trout swimming in the calm pool of water at The Rise. Because fishing isn’t allowed in The Rise some of the fish have grown as large as 15 pounds!
Some reptiles and mammals that you may also see during your visit here are: rattlesnakes, bull snakes, mule deer, moose, black bears, Bighorn sheep, yellow-bellied marmots, elk, porcupines and red squirrels.
Birdwatching at Sinks Canyon State Park
More than 94 species of birds have been observed at this park, both local and migrating. Here are some that you may spot here: sparrows, robins, hummingbirds, chickadees, golden eagles, prairie falcons and the Great Horned owl.
Pets at Sinks Canyon State Park
Pets are allowed as long as they are leashed and cleaned up after.
Camping at Sinks Canyon State Park
There are two campgrounds at Sinks Canyon State Park:
- Popo Agie Campground – 24 primitive tent campsites built into and around the natural features of the canyon. There are also 4 yurts available to rent here. Each yurt has beds, a table and chairs but no indoor plumbing or cooking.
- Sawmill Campground – 4 primitive tent campsites are available here.
There are hand pumps with fresh water available at both campgrounds plus vault style restrooms.
Sinks Canyon State Park
3079 Sinks Canyon Road
Lander, WY 82520
Park is open year round.
Visitor Center is open May through September 9:00 – 5:00
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Sinks Canyon State Park: