Crystal Mill

MODERATE 59 reviews

Crystal Mill is a 8.2 mile out and back trail located near Marble, Colorado that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1040 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

forest

river

wildlife

off road driving
1 month ago

One of the most annoyingly bumpy trails I’ve ever done, Even with GPS still had to ask locals how to access the trailhead. Not especially scenic until you get to the mill. Most croweded trail I’ve ever done, Will not go again, Just had to see it once.

hiking
1 month ago

Boy, it was kind of tough to find the trailhead, but thanks to some prior reviews, I was able to ascertain its whereabouts without wasting too much extra time. The trail was covered in snow, although it was packed down significantly with snowmobile tracks. This was an incredibly peaceful hike along the river, with the only sounds being the water moving. I passed not a soul on the trail, and had the Crystal Mill to myself. Things look very nice covered in snow. After a few photographs, some beef jerky and some water, I made my way back to my truck.

hiking
3 months ago

Many times our experience is based on our expectations. I knew this was going to be a pretty hike. What I didn't know is that this isn't a hiking only trail, it's a road. It's not a bad thing, but just be aware it's a road designed for 4wheel drive/off road vehicles.

There are also no signs. Once you make it through Marble as the app gives directions (download the area of the map on Google maps or bring a GPS: we came through Carbondale and lost service and Data before we even hit Redstone), you could park at the bottom of the hill like another reviewer says (just before the 'No winter maintenance' sign ), or continue up the hill (most cars can make this part). At the top of the hill the road forks and this is where the only sign is. It's just not explicit. Left forks to lost mountain trail. Right says the town of Crystal 4 miles. To the right there is a place for 2 cars to park. If you keep going to the right, even though it appears you are going nowhere, there is more parking (upwards of 6 cars) to the far right. The road/trail then takes a sharp left down a hill.

Driving: any capable 4 wheel drive vehicle you are willing to take off road would be fine, as well as OHVs. We were passed by 3 ATVs and probably 5-8 cars/trucks.

Hiking: most of the trail is flatter, with the steepest hills at the beginning. Except you are going down them first, so save some energy for the end. Being a road there are some rocky areas, but mostly even. If it has been rainy or snowy, there are large parts of the road that turn into a giant pond.

We took our 10, 8, and 5 year old sons. The 10 and 8 year olds had no trouble with the hike. The five year old ended up being carried most of the way but in full disclosure, isn't out of the norm for him. :D We hiked this Oct. 21 and probably saw about 20 other hikers, plus the previously mentioned driver's.

Overall, a very good hike. Beautiful Crystal River, and some great photo opportunities. Just know it's a road and there are no signs to help guide you. Hopefully the above is helpful... every car we encountered was as confused as we were on exactly where to go.

hiking
4 months ago

We got there on Sunday 10/15/2017 9:30am, passed the mailboxes, our 4X4 SUV able to drove up to the trail head, 5MPH. There are about 6-8 parking spots up there. Hiking along crystal river, most the aspen leaves were gone but still very beautiful. Some ups and downs and rocky road. But not hard difficult at all. We were enjoying the views and stopped for pictures, took us 1 hr and 45 minutes to get there. Saw some 4X4s, ATV drove there.

Crystal Mill, that old house was build in 1892, still looked amazing! We hiked down by the river, had some lunch, waited for the better lighting for pictures. Walked around until 1pm.

Imaging with all the golden aspen around this place, it will be much more colorful!

Hopefully will be back here in September next year!

hiking
4 months ago

If you include up Dave's Hill which ads another 1.6 miles round trip, it make it a much more difficult hike. If have the right vehicle, avoid Dave's Hill. The rest of the hike is great. Today's trek was more difficult than normal as 24 hours ago we had 8 inches of fresh snow land. This made the trail slippery, muddy, water pooled, and cool. The destination was spectacular seeing the Mill. Overall we hiked 10.2 miles.

4 months ago

This might be one of my favorite hikes in Colorado I have done thus far. That being said, it makes me a little sad that some people have difficulty finding it! So here it goes.

Start your GPS before you lose service which i would guess is almost an hour before you get to Marble. We used AllTrails for directions and it took us right to where you need to go. We parked by the mailboxes that people talked about. They are 0.5 mile before your GPS will tell you you've reached your destination.
After passing Beaver Lake, the mailboxes are on the right side and the parking is on the left. It's right before a "No Winter Maintenance" sign. We got there right before 9 on a Saturday and there were only a couple cars.
I wanted to see if we could park a little further up the hill, but when I saw the 4x4 vehicle only sign i got discouraged, so we went back to the mailboxes.
I drive a Ford Focus and after hiking up the hill to where the trail officially starts, I think it would've made it. On our way back, we saw a Mini Cooper parked at the top, so with confidence, your little sedan will be fine.
But if you end up taking the mailbox route, know that it is 0.8 miles to the official start to the trail and 4.6 miles to the mill. As others stated, that first leg up to the top from the mailboxes is hands down the hardest part of the hike. (But beautiful mountain views if you turn around!) You will see a sign that says "Town of Crystal 4 miles" and that's when you know the tough part is over.
The rest of the road has a few minor ups and downs, enough to get your heart rate up but not enough to make you question your decision to hike

hiking
4 months ago

9/30/17
Stunning!! While we did get rained on I still whole heartedly recommend making this a fall hike! The colors on both the hike and the drive to Marble are absolutely incredible! Even my 9 year old said "totally worth it!"

If you park just past Beaver Lake where there's a line of mailboxes. you'll find the most difficult part of this hike is that first vertical climb up of about a mile. If you have a four-wheel drive you might try to Drive however you want a pretty high clearance for that! at the top of the first mile you'll see a sign that says town of Crystal 4 miles with an arrow.. This is the trailhead. Follow the the left-most trail. after about a half-mile you'll come to a fork at Lizard Lake. I imagine you can take either way to go around the lake. We took the right fork. From there the hike is fairly easy on foot. There are some ups and downs but most of it is level ground. The path follows the Crystal River which is gorgeous and aptly named. If you keep an eye on the far Canyon you'll see many many waterfalls! I can see myself and my family going back to this hike many time and still not being able to capture all we want.. I know there's quite a few pictures that I wanted to get that we got rained out of. we'll definitely be back!! Enjoy and bring rain gear ;-)

4 months ago

we parked just past beaver creek once we saw the no winter maintenance sign and the boxes mentioned before. the incline from there to the trail head was easily the most difficult part of the hike. after the tail head there's one more hump and then after lizard lake is pretty minor ups and downs. we only saw two other hikers but lots of atvs and jeeps even on a Tuesday. hind site our truck could have made it to the top but we really enjoyed hiking it. we saw so many beautiful things you follow the river high and low the entire way. the water was a Beautiful aqua color. clear and cold. we bundled for bad weather and ended up in shorts and tanks by the end. it was just over four miles there four miles back and completely worth it for how breathtaking the mill is. the town of crystal is just behind the mill not even a quarter mile further and has a gift shop and a couple other private buildings. although this is a well trafficked hike you should still prepare will sufficient snacks water first aid repellent etc. and proper shoes. the return trip down the downhill side of that initial incline you started on kicks your buttons again. it is tough on the knees and ankles. the path was mostly packed dirt mud and gravel into hand sized rocks in areas. but totally comfortable for someone transitioning from intermediate hikes. and again probably one of the most beautiful hikes I've been on growing up hiking in Colorado. With an amazing historical prize at the end. have fun.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful! I hiked the early morning of 9/20/17. The leaves were changing, it was gorgeous.

I drive a little Toyota Corolla and it definitely wouldn't have made it up the path. Like someone else said on here, there is a little parking spot (fits probably 5-6 cars) across from some mailboxes past Beaver Lake. It is 4.6 miles to the mill from there.

Once you get to the mill if you walk only a couple minutes farther you will get to the "town" of Crystal, that has some log cabins and a book store.

I started my hike just before 7 am, on the way up I passed 2 cars on their way out (people who live in Crystal) and one mountain biker and Jeep going to the mill. Once I was up there a handful more Jeeps made their way up and on my way back down I passed some more vehicles and a couple ATVs. The people in the Jeeps were very respectful of hikers and were driving very slow, the people with the ATVs didn't seem to care they were blowing dust up for the hikers as much.

If I had been a little more prepared I probably would've just rented an ATV to get to the mill because there is a 16 mile loop through another basin back to the cars. But it was still a beautiful hike and definitely worth it.

off road driving
4 months ago

Rough! Took 50 minutes to drive to the end in my Jeep, praying the whole way. Faster than walking, though, and the view was worth it!

off road driving
5 months ago

great trail! Easy riding on a loop around to the crystal mill. Lots of smooth sandy driving at the upper valley. spectacular panoramics. Various forms of traffic (hiking, biking, motocycle, atv, and suvs) so heads up.
DO NOT park in the lake parking lot unless youre fishing.

hiking
5 months ago

We really liked this hike! We drove a Subaru Outback up to the fork in the road without any problems, which cut off about a mile or so from the total hike. The mill itself was beautiful to see and the hike along the Crystal river was as well.

hiking
5 months ago

Some places should just be kept secret, except from me. I drive a minivan, there is no way I would make it to the mill or even that dirt road just past the mail boxes so I just parked at the mail boxes. You will see them, they are right before the No Winter Maintenance sign past Beaver Lake. Which, FYI, right before I parked a bear ran across the street in front of me when about 100 feet from the boxes. That first incline after that is brutal, after that its not too bad. There are a couple decent down hills which obviously means you have to go back up them coming back. Some tree coverage on the way, lots of vehicle traffic too so beware. Absolutely amazing area. Love the mill. I would live there if I could.

hiking
6 months ago

After a challenging start up the first hill from the mailboxes, the track widens out and drops into a beautiful valley as the trail follows the Crystal river. Although the trail for the most part is well worn, some sections are made difficult by recent rock slides and debree. My only problem is the heavy amounts of 4x4 traffic passing along the way, a lot of the time i found myself forced into bushes so some idiot could rev his engine whilst passing.

6 months ago

First off, yes this is a nine mile hike roundtrip if you start in Marble, CO. If you start from the side with Schofield Pass it is MUCH shorter but I have not been that way. I read so many conflicting reviews on the road so we parked by the mailboxes and started up Daniel's Hill. You DO NOT need some insane jacked up vehicle to get up the first mile. There is places to park and turn around. While I would not recommend doing it in a small/low to the ground, four door vehicle (we saw one) I have a Subaru Forester and I know my car could have made it. You come to a fork in the road (go right) and only at THIS point does it become a one lane 4x4 road. You will pass Lizard Lake and then continue your hike to the mill. The hike follows the river the whole way and is very much worth the hike! It does level out a bit after the fork too. Tons of drit bike traffic so be aware! Recent rock slide too so large cars may not make it. Be safe!

7 months ago

Awesome hike on a busy fourth! Had to share road with vehicles and ATVs, but scenery was spectacular!

8 months ago

Beautiful and pretty easy hike

8 months ago

Beautiful. A bit of an incline in the beginning but fairly flat the rest of the way. Waterfalls everywhere. Make sure you go past the mill and check out the cabins. There were a ton of humming birds flying around a feeder.

hiking
8 months ago

hiked 6.5.17 the trail was heavily traveled by ATV tours choked some dust but well worth the trip. Awesome views stay right at Lizard Lake to continue on trail

8 months ago

F$!@ing awesome, I loved it. The trail is basically a 4x4 road, not really all that difficult of a hike outside of its length. Go past beaver lake and you will find a nice parking spot next to some mail boxes. You could probably drive further if you want but you came here to hike right?

The Crystal river was raging with the spring melt when we went, incredible power. Amazing waterfalls at almost every turn, a walk through a recent avalanche, swarms of dozens of types of butterfly's, wild flowers everywhere, a ghost town with books for sale and the legendary Crystal Mill...

Expect 4 hours of hiking and at least an hour of soaking it all up. If you get there early enough you can finish the day at a local hot spring which really tops it off.

You should absolutely do this.

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