Three Hikes Near Lander, WY

Lander, WY

Between the frequent rain drops, we did manage three nice hikes during our week long stay in Lander.  Our first outing was a short but steep hike called the Lower Climbing Buttress  just inside Sinks Canyon State Park.  This trail starts across from Sawmill Campground and climbs to the top of the Tensleep sandstone cliffs on the south facing slope.   It’s a short (a bit over a mile round trip) and steep hike up the side of the canyon and back.

Our target for lunch with a view

Told you it was steep!

Looking south up Sink Canyon

As we approached our lunch spot we could hear footsteps behind us (over the noise of our breathing).  A single runner came bounding up the trail, said hello, and continued up the steep slope.  Soon he appeared along the ridge far above us.  The little dot on the ridge line indicated by the arrow is him.

After enjoying our lunch we began heading carefully back down the trail.  As we descended we spotted that runner going down a nearby alternate path.  We could soon see him in the parking area below us as he entered a vehicle, took a drink from a container, ran across the road to the rest room, and took off running back up the trail again.  We had initially thought we were quite the strong hikers when we got up to our lunch spot (after catching our breath) but this mountain goat quickly dispelled that feeling!

Lunch with a view

The next day we drove through the state park to a trail leading up to the PoPo Agie Falls (locals say “PoPo A Gee”, park info says “PoPo Shia”).  This is a beautiful hike up to a series of scenic water falls.  The road up through Sinks Canyon State Park runs for about three miles before entering Shoshone National Forest.  At that point  it takes a sharp turn and heads steeply up into the mountains.  But during our visit the road was closed due to heavy snow at the higher elevations.  We drove right to the gate closing the road and parked in what’s called Bruce’s Parking Area. We walked across the road and took the footbridge across the river to the trailhead kiosk.

Footbridge over the PoPo Agie River

From there it is 1.8 miles up to the falls.  For the first half of the hike the trail runs right along the river.

In some spots it leaves the river and goes through a cool boulder field.

Returning to the river, the trail went by a series of small falls.

About the half way point the trail begins to go up a bit more steeply.

As it went up, the views of the river below became more interesting.

After a bit we came to a fork in the road (and we took it, Yogi!).  Go left and the falls are about a quarter mile away.  Go right and you can hike for many, many miles into the national forest.  We turned left.

Just after crossing the little bridge the trail rose up and over an area of slick rock.  As we looked back we had a nice view of the trail behind us.


As we crested the slick rock the series of water falls came into view.

We continued down the trail, crossing a fairly new wooden bridge over a wet area, and came to the end of the trail at a nice bench with a great view of the lower falls.

Lunch with a view

Many colorful flowers brightened the trail as we hiked.

Our final hike in Lander was on a trail called The Bus Loop.  To get to the trailhead you go north on Main Street.  Just past the Safeway turn west on to Baldwin Creek Road.  Drive 4.2 miles and park in a small pull-off on the right side of the road.  The trail begins across the road from there.

The bus loop is a series of hiking/biking/riding trails on BLM land.  The trails are unmarked so you need to check your route on a map before you head out.  The trail is named for the remains of a small bus lying in a wash along one of the trails.  Who knows how that thing got to were it is.

Just a few yards from the bus is the remains of an old Dodge that provided someone with a good shooting target.

We hiked past the “junk yard” to a fork in the trail.  One of the paths lead up into some rocks that looked interesting, so we went that way.  We found that it lead up into a large area of slick rock.

We climbed up to the top of the rocks in hopes of getting a nice view of the valley below.

Lunch with a view and blue sky

While we sat eating our lunch and looking at the blue sky, we heard a rumble of thunder.   We then turned around to see the dark clouds forming over the mountains to our south.  The thunder and storm clouds made us reconsider our hike.  We quickly made our way back down the rocks and headed for the Jeep.

Time to head for home

Shelter in sight

Of course, no rain ever fell.  But the slick rock was the highlight of the trails, so we don’t think we missed much by cutting the hike short.

That concludes our stay in Lander.  Although the rain curtailed our activities all too often, we did get to complete the hikes at the top of our list.  Deep snow up in the high country also prevented us from some adventures, so a return visit may be in our future.  Next up is a visit to Red Lodge, MT.

More on that later . . .

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20 Responses to Three Hikes Near Lander, WY

  1. exploRVistas says:

    Hope a mountain lion doesn’t see that runner, or it might be his lunch with a shoe!

  2. Jeff Pierce says:

    Three great hikes,but only the Waterfall is tempting, the others appear to be too much work for the reward. Glad the nimble shared them!.

  3. pmbweaver says:

    I love all the photos. Even though y’all had rain, it looks so beautiful. I have always loved looking at rushing water. Those photos are my favorite. You picked a great place to have a lunch. All three hikes look like they were at amazing. Keep the photos coming. I am enjoying following along on Facebook. Be safe. Miss y’all.

  4. Jim and Barb says:

    Beautiful waterfalls and wild flowers, we have a few of those same wildflowers around here but I have no idea what they are!

  5. Looks like some wonderful hiking in that area!

  6. Ah yes, trail runners. Making us mere mortals feel bad about ourselves… right up until they break their ankle. 😃 Anyway, glad you got to do some fun hikes, even if the weather wasn’t always cooperative. Those are definitely some good looking ones.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, Laura, it was a little embarrassing to see Mr. Trail Runner trot by not even breathing hard…not once by twice! We did manage to make all work out between the rain drops.

  7. Nancy says:

    Great hikes! Great flowers! Great waterfalls! Great lunches with a view! Hope the weather starts cooperating with you.

  8. Jodee Gravel says:

    How great to find three such different hikes in the same area. Really lovely views. And flowers in the blog!! So pretty. The waterfall and slick rock pics are especially gorgeous. Glad the thunder didn’t bring you more rain.

  9. Laurel says:

    All of those hikes are beautiful—cool rock formations, waterfalls, views, and even wildflowers! 🙂
    I just hate when I’m huffing and puffing up a trail and someone goes running past me, LOL. From your photo, that was a really steep trail!

  10. Joe Taylor says:

    Great hikes and I have made notes for all of them! Looking forward to the Popo Agie Falls the most, but the views on the other two are well worth the effort.

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