Frying Pan River Valley
It’s hard to pin one of Colorado’s many mountain river valleys as the most scenic, but the Frying Pan is surely among the top contenders. Perhaps most famous as a fishing destination, it is also a birdy stretch of habitat. Check the blue spruce/Douglas-fir forest from some of the many pullouts and you could find things like Cordilleran Flycatcher, Common Merganser, American Dipper, Western Tanager, and a host of other birds, as well as squirrels and mule deer.
Habitat: Lake, Foothill Shrub, Lowland Riparian, Spruce-Fir Forest, Aspen Grove
Directions: Head downvalley (west) from Aspen on Highway 82 for about 20 miles to Basalt. At the traffic light at the intersection of 82 and Fiou Lane turn right and go around the roundabout to continue west on Midland Rd. Drive through Basalt and just beyond the town you pick up the Frying Pan road. Stop at the many pullouts along this 18-mile drive to Ruedi Reservoir, which straddles the Pitkin-Eagle county line.
Delorme: 46 C2-D2
Roads of Colorado: 84 C3
Dates of Access: Limited access in the winter months
Ownership: US Forest Service
Parking: Roadside gravel pullouts
Lodging: Camping Area
Handicapped Access: limited car birding