Beautiful Sinks Canyon State Park, 6 miles southwest of Lander on Hwy 131, centers on a curious feature of the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River, where the rushing water suddenly turns into a small cave and disappears into the soluble Madison limestone. Although the water bubbles up a quarter-mile downstream, scientists have learned it takes nearly two hours for it to make the subterranean journey before emerging warmer and with more volume.
The sink and rise may be an interesting photo op, but the real draw is the pristine mountain valley through which the river flows – nearly a hundred bird species have been recorded here. This rugged playground is flanked by bluffs well-known by climbers, and trails popular with hikers and mountain bikers, including the 3-mile round-trip hike to Popo Agie Falls. Several campgrounds within and beyond the park are a great base for exploration.