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Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness

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Photograph taken in  the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness


The United States Congress designated the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness (map) in 1978 and it now has a total of 82,513 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Colorado and is managed by the Forest Service. The Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness is bordered by the Mount Massive Wilderness to the east.


Snuggled in between the more spectacular Colorado Wildernesses of Holy Cross on the north, Maroon Bells-Snowmass on the west, and Collegiate Peaks on the south, Hunter-Fryingpan lies all but forgotten. It rises to the Continental Divide, sharing its eastern border and the divide with Mount Massive Wilderness. The two are one geographically speaking, and almost became one legislatively. Holding the headwaters of Hunter Creek and the Fryingpan River, many streams in this area provide excellent habitats for large numbers of trout. Here you'll find many of the unnamed and tortured peaks of the Williams Mountains. Forests of aspen in the lower elevations, as well as spruce and fir higher up, are thick and dark, and open on alpine tundra dappled colorfully with summer wildflowers. In the silence of this Wilderness, you'll probably see wildlife that includes elk, mule deer, and secretive smaller, fur-bearing animals. A rich forest of 8,300 acres along Spruce Creek on the northwest side was added to the original Wilderness in 1993. About 65 miles of trail cross the area, climbing up drainages into the Williams Mountains. The Lost Man Trail up Lost Man Creek crosses South Fork Pass and continues down the South Fork of the Fryingpan River (about 10 miles distance), providing access to the heart of the Wilderness. Many opportunities for solitude exist here.

Planning to Visit the Hunter-Fryingpan 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 Hunter-Fryingpan 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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