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Popo Agie Wilderness

General Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Images
Three small lakes lie in the base of a barren alpine bowl, surrounded by gray rock and jagged ridges above.
Library image #957: Alpine terrain of the southern Wind River Range

Introduction

The United States Congress designated the Popo Agie Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 101,870 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Wyoming and is managed by the Forest Service. The Popo Agie Wilderness is bordered by the Bridger Wilderness to the west.

Description

This rough land features high, jagged peaks; deep, narrow valleys and canyons; sheer granite walls; cirque basins; talus slopes; and perennial snowfields. This area abuts the Continental Divide and encompasses 25 square miles of the southern Wind River Mountain Range. Along the western boundary, which the Popo Agie (pronounced "po-po-zsha") Wilderness shares with the Bridger Wilderness, stands Wind River Peak, at 13,255 feet the highest point in the area. More than 20 other summits rise above 12,000 feet. The lowest elevation in the Popo Agie is the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River at 8,400 feet on the eastern boundary. Bordering the north side is the Wind River Indian Reservation, outstanding country where visitors must first obtain a permit before entering.

More than 300 alpine and subalpine lakes and ponds, many filled with trout, send their waters down sparkling streams and over waterfalls to the Middle Fork and North Fork of the Popo Agie River and the South Fork of the Little Wind River. All the water eventually ends up in the Wind River. Forests of lodgepole pine and Douglas fir, Engelmann spruce, and subalpine fir grow here.

In a Smithsonian Institute report issued in 1879, it was said of the Wind River Mountains, "when a good Indian dies, he falls into a beautiful stream of bright, fresh water, and is carried to the pleasant grounds [of the Winds]. . . . " The temperature rarely exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but it may plunge to 40 below zero in the winter. Snow may fall any day of the year. During summer, there are occasional heavy rains and afternoon thunderstorms are common.

Many miles of trails attract a relatively large number of visitors, which has led to resource-protecting restrictions on camping and travel. Check with the Washakie or Wind River Ranger Districts (located in Lander and Dubois, respectively). Lander is the site of the international headquarters of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

Planning to Visit the Popo Agie Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Popo Agie Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.



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