Sinks Canyon is a rugged canyon at the base of the southern Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. Located on the eastern slope of the mountains, the canyon is named for a unique geologic formation, “The Sinks,” where the river vanishes underground near the mouth of the canyon.
The canyon proper begins at the falls, where the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River flows over a granite escarpment in a series of cascades. The river follows the widening canyon down into the Lander Valley. This valley is a part of the larger Wind River Basin.
The Popo Agie joins the Wind River in the basin. The Wind flows into the Yellowstone, which drains into the Missouri and ultimately the Mississippi then the Gulf. The river begins in snow fields and alpine lakes near the Continental Divide. The Wind River Mountains get enough snow to support small glaciers.
Some years, the high peaks can get over 200 inches of snow. The water in the river is pure since much of this area is a protected wilderness. Snow and rain falling on over 190 square miles flows into the Middle Fork watershed.
Sinks Canyon is part of a magnificent ecosystem that stretches from the sagebrush and juniper covered foothills, through conifer forests, aspen meadows, to alpine habitat at timberland.
An amazing diversity of birds and wildlife can be seen in this area, as well as world class geology, and a dazzling variety of wildflowers and other plants.
As the first plan for Sinks Canyon State Park said: “Within the canyon walls are found unspoiled symbols of the best of Wyoming. The mountains, the river, fish and wildlife; sage, wildflowers aspen and pine trees, a rugged country of tranquil quiet under blue skies.”
Unless otherwise credited all photos were taken by and are copyrighted property of Randall Wise. Permission for publication required.
Bighorn top banner photo copyright Roderick Rieman. Sinks cave water top banner shot copyright Matthew Cranny.
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