Popo Agie River Disappears in Sinks Canyon State Park

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Sinks Canyon by Scott Copeland courtesy of Wind River Country

The river flowing into the cave at Sinks Canyon 

There’s a river south of Yellowstone National Park known for a peculiar vanishing act.

En route through Sinks Canyon, the Popo Agie River disappears dramatically into a cavern, leaving visitors to Lander, Wyo., to ask, “Where does it go?”

The river reappears about a quarter of a mile away in what is called “the Rise,” but it’s not an easy trip from what is referred to as “the Sink” to the Rise. It actually takes the water two hours of traveling through tiny underground passages to reach the Rise.

Because the underground limestone passages are extremely small ⎯ some mere cracks ⎯ researchers have not been able to access the passages to learn more. Geologists think glaciers may have created the Sink and the Rise thousands of years ago.

The Rise at Sinks Canyon

Get some trout food from the vending machine and walk to the end of the viewing platform to see the Rise at Sinks Canyon

When the Popo Agie reappears, it continues to the Wind River, eventually meeting the Yellowstone River and then the Missouri before flowing down the Mississippi River and emptying into the Gulf.

Sinks Canyon Visitor Center

After viewing the Sinks and the Rise, stop at the new visitor center and learn about the magic.

Just three hours from Yellowstone, visit Sinks Canyon State Park and see the Popo Agie as it disappears and then reappears. But don’t leave the park without doing some more exploring. The gorgeous canyon offers world-class rock climbing, hiking and fishing.


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