Fryingpan River

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Fryingpan River
Fryingpan river.jpg
Fryingpan River below Ruedi Dam
Country United States
State Colorado
 - left Marten Creek, South Fork Fryingpan River, Rocky Fork Creek
 - right Ivanhoe Creek, North Fork Fryingpan River, Lime Creek
Source Near Mount Massive
 - location Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, Pitkin County
 - elevation 12,083 ft (3,683 m)
 - coordinates 39°09′52″N 106°31′40″W / 39.16444°N 106.52778°W / 39.16444; -106.52778 [1]
Mouth Roaring Fork River
 - location Basalt, Eagle County
 - elevation 6,591 ft (2,009 m)
 - coordinates 39°22′00″N 107°02′03″W / 39.36667°N 107.03417°W / 39.36667; -107.03417Coordinates: 39°22′00″N 107°02′03″W / 39.36667°N 107.03417°W / 39.36667; -107.03417 [1]
Length 42 mi (68 km) [2]
Basin 237 sq mi (614 km2) [3]
Discharge for Near Ruedi
 - average 176 cu ft/s (5 m3/s) [3]
 - max 2,690 cu ft/s (76 m3/s)
 - min 28 cu ft/s (1 m3/s)
Roaring Fork Colorado basin map.png
Map of Roaring Fork drainage basin, including the Fryingpan River

The Fryingpan River is a tributary of the Roaring Fork River, approximately 42 miles (68 km) long,[2] in west central Colorado in the United States.


The reason for the unusual name of the river is that when a group of trappers were attacked by a band of Ute Indians, only two men survived, one of whom was injured. Leaving his wounded friend in a cave close by, the last man left to summon help, but not before hanging a frying pan in a tree so that he could find the cave again on his return.[1][4][5]


Ruedi Reservoir on the Fryingpan River

It rises in northeastern Pitkin County, in the White River National Forest in the Sawatch Mountains along the western side of the continental divide. It flows westward along the county line between Pitkin and Eagle County. Below Meredith, it is dammed to form the Ruedi Reservoir. It joins the Roaring Fork below Basalt. A portion of the river's water is diverted to the east side of the continental divide for irrigation and drinking water via the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Fryingpan River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed March 18, 2011
  3. ^ a b "USGS Gage #09080400 on the Fryingpan River near Ruedi, CO" (PDF). National Water Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. 1969–2013. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  4. ^ Maryann Gaug (17 May 2011). Hiking Colorado, 3rd: A Guide to the State's Greatest Hiking Adventures. FalconGuides. pp. 198–. ISBN 978-0-7627-9722-6.
  5. ^ Dawson, John Frank. Place names in Colorado: why 700 communities were so named, 150 of Spanish or Indian origin. Denver, CO: The J. Frank Dawson Publishing Co. p. 23.