Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness Trails
Central Colorado's Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness maintains a low profile, largely forgotten between the lofty heights of its neighbors, Collegiate Peaks and Maroon Bells–Snowmass wilderness areas. Dominated by rugged and unnamed peaks of the Williams Mountains, the valleys of Hunter-Fryingpan lead through dark spruce forests and past gurgling trout streams to flower-covered alpine tundra. For those who rank solitude as the primary objective of wilderness sojourns, Hunter-Fryingpan provides abundant opportunities. As its name implies, Hunter-Fryingpan includes the headwaters of the Fryingpan River and Hunter Creek as well as other tributaries of the Roaring Fork River. State wildlife officials have granted both rivers Gold Medal status and have placed catch restrictions in order to promote abundant numbers of large trout. High-mountain streams in this wilderness receive similar praise for their productive fisheries. Aspen forests thrive in the lower valleys, while old stands of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir populate higher valleys, such as along Spruce Creek. These dark, primeval forests provide a haven for elk, mule deer, and possibly wilderness-dependent species such as lynx and pine marten. A spur of the Sawatch Range, the Williams Mountains consist of metamorphic rocks contorted into sinuous banded patterns by immense pressures and temperatures deep within the earth’s crust 1.7 billion years ago. Granitic intrusions were injected during later, though still ancient, mountain-building episodes. The current landscape reflects the multiple glacial periods of the last few million years. This trail guide includes descriptions of Midway Pass, Sawmill Park, Fryingpan Lakes, Mcnamara Hut to Margy’s Hut Ski Tour, Lost Man/South Fork Passes, and Fryingpan River to Midway Pass to Spruce Creek.
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Directions to: Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness Trailsprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Skill Level||Easy to Moderate|
|Season||Best Spring through Fall|
|Trailhead Elevation||9,000 ft|
|Top Elevation||13,000 ft|
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