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.
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.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.