Hunter-Frying Pan Wilderness - White River

Alpine lake and meadow in Hunter Frying Pan Wilderness

The United States Congress designated the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness (map) in 1978 and it now has a total of 82,026 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Colorado in the Williams Mountains and is managed by the White River National Forest.

Settled between the spectacular Colorado Wildernesses of Holy Cross on the north, Maroon Bells-Snowmass on the west, and Collegiate Peaks on the south, Hunter-Fryingpan is all but forgotten. It rises to the Continental Divide, sharing its eastern border and the divide with Mount Massive Wilderness. 

The area contains the headwaters of Hunter Creek and the Fryingpan River, and many streams in this area provide excellent habitats for large numbers of trout. Here you'll find many of the unnamed and jagged peaks of the Williams Mountains. This area encompasses forests of aspen in the lower elevations and thick spruce and fir at the higher elevations as well as open areas of unique alpine tundra that display colorful wildflowers in the summer. In the silence of this Wilderness, you'll likely see wildlife that includes elk, mule deer, and secretive smaller, fur-bearing animals.

About 65 miles of trail leave from 11 trailheads and climb 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 area. Many opportunities for solitude exist here.

Protect this special place for the future by always using Leave No Trace techniques and following all special Wilderness restrictions including:

Camp – Wilderness appropriate campsites are previously impacted sites, not visible from trails, lake shores or streams. 

Fires – With the high volume of visitors in popular areas no appropriate firewood is available.  Please refrain from having campfires especially near tree-line, trails, lakes or streams. 

Human Waste and Trash – Poop and litter is piling up in popular destinations.  Do you part, pack out all trash (DO NOT BURN) and consider using a Cleanwaste "wag bag" Waste Bags  and pack out human waste to help prevent sanitation issues. 

Wilderness is a lasting legacy.  Minimize your impacts. Get Involved! Keep it wild for good.  

At a Glance

Usage: Light-Medium
Restrictions: Wilderness restrictions apply
Closest Towns: Leadville, CO
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Aspen and Sopris Ranger Districts

General Information


Key access points:

Lost Man Campground - provides access to Lost Man Trail #1996

More trails:

Check out Aspen and Sopris District

See also:

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest Wilderness information (area is unavailable)

General Notes:


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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