Popo Agie River: Lander to Hudson

CLASS - II (V?)

GRADIENT - 20 ft/mile

LENGTH - 15 miles

FLOAT TIME - 3 hours

BLM QUAD MAPS - Lander

PUT IN - Lander City Park

PUT IN - Google Map

TAKE OUT - upstream from Hudson

Popo Agie River

Gage Station CFS Little Popo Agie near Lander.

Popo Agie River

 

The Middle Fork Popo Agie, also called the Popo Agie, is the most often floated of the three branches. The upper section in Sinks Canyon State Park is a tough Class V and to my knowledge has not been floated. It is a continuous rock garden and boulder field with a good drop in elevation and fast current. There are many places that contain strainers and overhanging trees. It is suitable for expert kayakers only. You can scout most of it from W-131, which may be reached by turning west on Fifth Street in Lander. About seven miles from town you enter the state park and go by the "Rise" and "Sinks". The pavement ends at mile #9 and a couple of miles further you cross the river on the road to Louis Lake.

To float the lower section, you begin by putting in at the park at the end of Third Street in Lander. Just downstream is the highway bridge which can have a dangerous current in high water. Below here there are many sharp turns and the channels can be choked with downed timber and branches. There were no fences when I was here but I believe there were several places where a couple had been washed out - so be on the look out.

About one hour from the park is the confluence with the North Fork and the Popo Agie River proper begins. From this point downstream, land on the north side lies in the Indian Reservation and floating in the reservation is prohibited. The left half of the river also falls within the reservation.

The rest of the float down to Hudson is an easy Class II. You go under three bridges during the next two hours and through a small oil field area. Down from the third bridge is a long ridge with a bluff at the point. Downstream a bit further is the confluence with the Little Popo Agie in Hudson.

Be advised that below this confluence you are in the Wind River Indian Reservation. I have been informed that locals often float down about 500 yards to a concrete buttress at an old railroad bridge to take out. I would say this was tricky business at best! Because there is no public access on the lower Popo Agie, you need to contact private land owners to get permission to trespass and take out before the confluence with the Little Popo Agie.

The Little Popo Agie River is a small branch of the main river and is seldom floated. This is mainly due to serious dewatering from local irrigation. Public access is limited to two points a couple of miles off W-28 (mile #67) on the Red Canyon Road. The North Fork Popo Agie River is another small branch that also sees little floating. Once again this is mainly due to dewatering from local irrigation. Public access is also limited, but there is one Game and Fish access point southeast of Milford.

Photo Caption (image not shown): A spelunkers dream and a kayakers nightmare - a missed eddy at The Sinks on the Popo Agie River will make an impression.