Fryingpan River

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Fryingpan River
Fryingpan river.jpg
Fryingpan River below Ruedi Dam
Roaring Fork Colorado basin map.png
Map of Roaring Fork drainage basin, including the Fryingpan River
CountryUnited States
Physical characteristics
SourceNear Mount Massive
 • locationHunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, Pitkin County
 • coordinates39°09′52″N 106°31′40″W / 39.16444°N 106.52778°W / 39.16444; -106.52778[1]
 • elevation12,083 ft (3,683 m)
MouthRoaring Fork River
 • location
Basalt, Eagle County
 • 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]
 • elevation
6,591 ft (2,009 m)
Length42 mi (68 km)[2]
Basin size237 sq mi (610 km2)[3]
 • locationNear Ruedi[3]
 • average176 cu ft/s (5.0 m3/s)[3]
 • minimum28 cu ft/s (0.79 m3/s)
 • maximum2,690 cu ft/s (76 m3/s)
Basin features
 • leftMarten Creek, South Fork Fryingpan River, Rocky Fork Creek
 • rightIvanhoe Creek, North Fork Fryingpan River, Lime Creek

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 2012-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, accessed March 18, 2011
  3. ^ a b c "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.