Trails of Lander, WY

By Benoît Lavigueur, TCA sophomore.

Lander, Wyoming is magnificent. This small town of 8000 residents located in the center of Wyoming has an unique relief and geology that makes it a special place on earth. The outdoor activities that you can do here attract a lot of people each year. Whether you are a hiker, a biker, or a climber, you’ll find what you want in Lander.

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Photo of Popo Agie Falls by Aaron Hjelt

Trails are a main part of the outdoor activities near Lander. With more than 200 trails around the town and the nearby canyons, going from flat to 2500 feet in elevation, you’ll find the perfect trail for you, whether you are going on a small walk with the family or on a long backpacking trip. If you are an advanced hiker, there is a lot of off-trail possible in the Sinks Canyon State Park and in the Wind River Range. There is also a good potential for trail running, since there are long, steep trails that allow you to run for hours.

My 2 favorite trails are the Popo Agie Falls trail and the Blue Ridge trail. The Popo Agie falls trail is not the easiest 3 miles hike, but not the hardest either. After 1.5 miles and 600 feet of elevation, you reach the Popo Agie Falls,at 7800 feet, that are a series of falls and cascades with the longest vertical fall of 60 meters, which is pretty big for the region. The first half is an easy trail, but for the last ¾ of a mile, it is a more moderate walk with a gain in elevation and a lot of rocks.The hike leads to a couple of places to cool down in the river, a natural water slide, and a lot of good vantage points to take great pictures.

The Blue Ridge trail is a lot farther up the canyon. Situated at around 20 miles of Lander, the trail is a bit harder to access, but it is definitely worth the drive.  The Blue Ridge Lookout is not far from the start of the trail, an old lookout built in 1938, that is unique because it is in an open rock, and offers an amazing point of view on the mountains and the surroundings. The trail then continues for 3.6 miles until the end of the trail, the wilderness boundary, which offers a great view on the wind river range.. You then have to come back the 3.6 miles, total distance 7.2 miles. The first part is hard since the trail is really steep and is rocky, but you’ll be rewarded by the downhill on the way back. The trail is for advanced hikers but the work is worth because of the superb views of the canyon and the mountains around. 

Benoît enjoying the autumn colors on the Popo Agie Falls trail. Video by Aaron Hjelt.

This said, these two trails are my favorite, but there are so many trails around Lander and the Sinks Canyon that you can explore and find other trails that you prefer or with better points of views. It all depends on what you want to do.

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