The Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness was designated by the United States Congress in 1978. Now the area constitutes of a total of 82,026 acres. This beautiful, yet small area in Colorado is managed by the Forest Service. This wilderness is also part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. The area also provides 50 miles of trails, and many opportunities for those seeking solitude as well as natural beauty.
The Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness is situated between the Holy Cross Wilderness to the north, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass to the west, and the Collegiate Peaks to the south. It is northeast of Aspen and located fairly near Independence Pass. This beautiful wilderness holds the headwaters of the Hunter Creek and the Fryingpan River, thus the name that it has. Since the land has so many streams, trout fishing here is very good. There are also numerous summits in this wilderness, including the Williams Mountains. The Lost Man Trail that follows Lost Man Creek provides a long trip into the heart of the Wilderness.
Since this wilderness consists of nearly 82,000 acres, with 50 miles of trails, one can definitely find many places to hike
Lost Man Trail: This hike is almost 9 miles, and it can be reached from two different directions with a trailhead located across from Lost Man Campground on Highway 82, 14 miles east of Aspen, and another located on the north side of Highway 82 at the last switchback before the summit of Independence Pass. From there one can also hike up Geissler Mountain. It is important to look at a map so that one can know where to go before the hike.
Williams Mountain (13, 382'): Take the Lost Man Trail 5 miles to South Fork, then head northwest into the basin beneath the south face. The Summit also involves a scramble up a central couloir to the south ridge. This hike has almost 3000 feet in elevation gained.
As applies to all hiking trails in White River National Forest, horse use is permitted on trails. If you have any questions consult Aspen Ranger District at (970) 925-3445.
Flora and Fauna
The forest in the lower elevations mainly consists of Aspen trees. Closer to the alpine tundra, spruce, and fir trees fill the forests up to the tree-line. During the summer months there are many different types of wildflowers growing around the mountains and even on some of the lower summits. In 1993, another forest was added to the wilderness which consists of 8,300 acres. This forest is along Spruce Creek on the northwestern side of the wilderness. The Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness also contains a lot of fauna. This includes the larger herbivores such as mule deer and elk, as well as the more common yellow-bellied marmot and pikas.
Contacts and Links
West Zone/Aspen Ranger District
806 WEST HALLAM
ASPEN, CO 81611
There are many campsites on Lost Man Campground on the Pass Road. It is located 14 miles east of Aspen on Highway 82 past Weller and Lincoln Gulch Campgrounds (they are also both convenient to Hunter Frying Pan Wilderness). One can stay a maximum of 5 days and with no more than eight people and two cars at each of the sites. However, a site cannot be reserved. This campground offers potable water, firegrates, and vault toilets, as well as picnic table sat each of the designated sites.
Fishing and Hunting
Hunter Creek and Fryingpan River as well as Lost Man Lake, and Lost Man Reservoir provide wonderful fishing opportunities. Some the the trout include cutthroat, brown, and rainbow trout.
For more information, contact Aspen Ranger District at (970) 925-3445.
Hunting is allowed within the Hunter Frying Pan Wilderness with appropriate licensing. This wilderness is a habitat for Mule Deer, Elk, and other smaller animals.
For more information, call the Glenwood Springs office of Colorado Department of Wildlife at (970) 947-2920
Red Tape----Prohibitions and Regulations
Just like all wilderness, motor vehicles are generally prohibited in federal lands that have been designated as wildernesses. Please take care to preserve the wilderness for future generations to enjoy.
Hunting and using horses is permitted with certain regulations as well.
The Forest Service has listed some rules and regulations to help maintain and preserve this wilderness. To all visitors, the following information is prohibited:
1. Entering or being within the Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness with more than 15 people per group, and a maximum combination of 25 people and pack or saddle animals.
2. Camping within one hundred feet of any lake, stream, trail, or any "No Camping" or Wilderness Restoration" sign.
3. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a campfire:
a)within one hundred feet of any lake, stream, or National Forest System Trail.
b)within 1/4 mile of treeline or above treeline.
4. Storing equipment, personal property, or supplies for longer than 72 hours.
5. Hitching, tethering, or hobbling any pack or saddle animal within one hundred feet of any lake, stream, or National Forest System Trail.
6. Possessing a dog, except a working stock dog or dogs being used for legal hunting purposes, unless under physical restrain of a leash not to exceed six feet in length.
7. Possessing, storing, or transporting any plant material, such as hay or straw. NOTE: Exceptions are allowed for livestock feed that has been processed through chemical or mechanical means in a manner that will destroy viable seeds. Examples of allowed material include pelletized feed and rolled grains.
8. Possessing or using a wagon, cart, or other vehicle, including wheelbarrows and game carts.