Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
706.00 ft (215.19 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.95 mi (6.36 km)
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Popo Agie Falls ("Puh - Po Shuh”, for non-locals), known in short as simply the Falls Trail, is a short hike (with longer, multi-day linkup potential in the Wind River Range) in the Shoshone National Forest just outside of Lander, WY. It’s one of the area’s most popular hikes, both for its short duration, easy nature, and good bang-for-your-buck ending destination. If you’re wondering what to do on a hot summer day in Lander, look no further than Popo Agie Falls.

While not in Sinks Canyon State Park itself, this trail is accessed through it, three miles from the visitor center at the very end of the main road before it starts to snake up steep switchbacks toward Fossil Hill. Park in the Bruce’s parking lot, a huge lot on the left side of the road.

The trail itself begins just across the road. Immediately cross a large bridge over the river before coming to an informational sign post and trail register. Turn left here and you’re off! Except for a small deviation, this trail parallels the middle fork of the beautiful Popo Agie River.  As such, there are plenty of opportunities to cut down to the bank for a refreshing dip and moment of calm.

With an 8% average grade (and only 21% max), this easy-going hike is perfect for families or a short dose of nature after work.  For that reason, this trail has a little something for everyone, so don’t be surprised to see horses, mountain bikers, boulderers (yes, there is actually a small bit of bouldering in fields along the right side of the trail), anglers, and hardcore backpackers and mountaineers using the trails as an access point to get deeper into the Wind River Range.

Follow this steadily uphill and slightly rocky trail for 1.5 miles.  At this point, the trail will have been steadily climbing up and away from the river until you encounter a short series of switchbacks. Please stay on the trail and follow the switchbacks. You’ll see shortcut trails where people have tried to save themselves 40 paces, but this only seeks to encourage the trampling of surrounding vegetation. Please stay on the trail.

Beyond this series of switchbacks, you’ll come to a fork in the trail, an important one to not miss (unless you want to find yourself on a 28-mile loop heading off into the Wind Rivers). As clearly marked by the signs, the straight path will set you on a route called Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River trail (sometimes referred to as the Tayo Park Loop). You want the left path, following The Falls Trail. Cross a small footbridge and ascend the steepest hill of the hike to a flat plateau from which you can catch your first glimpse of the upper tiers of Popo Agie Falls. While it looks far away still, there is less than half a mile to your destination.  

Continue along this view-laden plateau for a moment before dropping down into a lush forest back by the banks of the river.  Cross a single-track footbridge before suddenly arriving at one of the coolest points of the hike (literally, since the combination of wind and spray from the falls makes this particular spot about 10 degrees colder than anywhere else). If water levels are low enough, venture out onto the huge rock slabs stretching out into the spray of some of the lower falls (but be careful you don’t slip!).  Alternatively, relax on the log bench and take it all in.

For those who aren’t quite ready to call it quits yet, continue on just a little further until you reach the famous “waterslides."  You’ll know it when you see it: a perfectly deep pond at the base of a huge rock shelf, perfect for jumping or sliding as long as water levels are high enough. In mid to late summer, the water is unfortunately too low to really slide; you’ll end up skidding down the rock more than anything, but the brave of heart still try.  

For those who wish for a little more privacy and smaller otter slides into little narrow pools that are usually still somewhat slidable even in later summer continue scrambling up the rock slabs as far as you wish.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Spring

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Unique swimming opportunity. Beautiful vistas. Family friendly.

Cons

High traffic for the area.

Trailhead Elevation

7,141.00 ft (2,176.58 m)

Highest point

7,847.00 ft (2,391.77 m)

Features

Waterfalls
Near lake or river
Vault toilet
Wildflowers
Horseback riding
Wildlife
Fishing
Family friendly

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback
Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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