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Crystal Mill is a 9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Carbondale, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 9.0 mi Elevation gain 1,391 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Nature trips

Ohv / off road driving

Running

Forest

River

Views

Wildlife

Muddy

Rocky

Historic site

Fee

Description
Waypoints (0)

Leave about 4 and 1/2 hours to complete this hike (including 30 minutes of leisure time at the Mill while having lunch or swimming). As many of our users have mentioned in their reviews, the amount of Jeep/ATV traffic can be a bit frustrating at times. The road up to the trailhead is unpaved, but if you have a vehicle with decently high clearance, you can eliminate about 0.6 miles of hiking (roundtrip) by parking in the area at the top of the hill. This is a very moderate hike that runs along the Crystal River for the vast majority of the trek. The fall colors are beautiful, and summer is a great time to swim. Once you get the Mill, there is a $10 per person fee to go under the rope and view it from the water but, you can also view it from the roped off section on the road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (349)
Photos (479)
Recordings (217)
Completed (631)
Philip Hartje
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

You need to start early on this trail because there’s a lot of vehicle traffic. We started at 7:00am and finished at 11am. We only passed two cars on the way there but seven on the way back. It’s a lot of downhill at the start of the hike so you’ll have to hike back up to finish it. Pretty well-maintained but also pretty rocky so keep that in mind. Really beautiful river trail the whole way!

View Philip's Recording
Jarob Heffner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020

Went on an overcast/rainy day so the road was not busy. 10 dollars to go down to the water is not worth it, but the guy working was willing to bargain and our group paid 18 dollars for 4 people. The first section of the trail is steep, but after that is not bad.

Ryan Shepherd
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Took the rental down this road...didn’t hike. I don’t believe it’s the worth the long hike in my opinion....if you have a high clearance vehicle, 2x4 or 4x4, your good.

Brian Loeb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

This is a designated OHV route so ATVs, & 4x4 are intended to be driven on this trail! Complaining about vehicles driven on a road they are supposed to, further shows the stupidity and ignorance of some people. Also making anti-political comments, show further stupidity and in no way provide usable feedback to the site. This is a off highway vehicle road (OHV).

Megan Nunn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

I’ll start by saying the trail is really beautiful & definitely worth doing! We found the reviews mentioning the 4x4/ATV’s being a bit disruptive to be true. We started at 8 AM on a Saturday and by the time we were heading back there was quite a bit of vehicle traffic on the trail. And sadly many of the vehicles were playing loud music (& displaying maga flags..) but we were still glad to be hiking. The mill was cool & it was fun to see the tiny town of Crystal. Getting there: we parked at what we thought was the trailhead, but we were actually a mile away from it and it was quite a climb to start, so if you feel comfortable I definitely recommend driving all the way up to where the sign for “4 miles to Crystal” is!

Nicole Ferguson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
HikingBugsFee

I’ve never left a review before but this one requires some new info I had not seen on here yet. First, there is a road to get to the road that will take you to the mill. I have a compact suv and found that road easily passable. Rough, but, doable. Once you reach the sign that says town of Crystal- 4 miles, go right and park. (If you go up, you’re going the wrong way.) From there, you’ll hike down to a bridge, past a lake, then do multiple up/down hills all the way there. The first bit is shaded and so is the last. There are about 2-2.5 miles where shade is slim, mostly a single tree. The rocks are rough so wear tough soles. Hiking poles are a good idea. There is some water on the path you have to walk through so, if you have waterproof boots, they’ll be handy. The truck that fell off (see pic) is all rusted now and hard to find but it’s the halfway point. Once you get to the aspens, there one more push and you’re about a half to quarter mile out. The directions and mileage here take you to the mill, the little town and store are another maybe quarter mile. The store is not super helpful. No chapstick, no real snacks, they do have Pringle’s and snickers, it’s mostly souvenirs like tshirts. So don’t expect a sandwich or anything of substance. They do have an outhouse tho, in case you have other business. Bring water shoes to spend some time wading the rocks down below and feel the icy water to soothe your now-aching feet. The jaunt is well worth it. I am not a super experienced hiker and this was my longest one to date. It can be done. Slowly. The 4x4 folks were all super friendly. They go super slow due to the terrain so we were rarely dusted out with the exception of one or two four wheelers zipping by. This hike has everything, water falls, critters, sun, shade, and a beautiful pay-off at the end. Bring lots of water and bug spray and you’ll be solid! (I also think calling this trail mediocre is a gross understatement. It was really beautiful.)

Shlomo Siegelman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

Trail is mostly very mediocre, cars passing by the whole time isn't super fun, and the mill at the end was not worth the 9+ miles of hiking on a road. Loads of better hikes worth doing in the Aspen area, wouldn't recommend coming out here for this one.

View Shlomo's Recording
Jesse Biter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
OHV/Off Road DrivingRocky
View Jesse's Recording
Matthew Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
HikingFeeNo shadeRocky
View Matthew's Recording
David Hymel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 1, 2020
Hiking

I went with my parents (61 yrs) who are both pretty out of shape. The first 0.8 miles were difficult for all of us and we had to stop numerous times. After that it wasn’t as bad but we still took lots of breaks along the way. The views were amazing, and you hike right next to the river almost the entire way. My favorite part (besides the mill) was the waterfalls you could see in the distant mountains that fed into the river. The only reason I gave the hike 4 stars instead of 5 was the traffic from the cars/ATVs. I felt like I was eating dust a lot of the time and it got pretty old.

View David's Recording
Pavel Efremov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

Doing it very early or late would help to avoid traffic.

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Cody Koski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

This was my first time in CO and I cannot complain. This was an amazing hike I completed with my wife and cousin. The first mile or so is pretty uphill and brutal especially since I’m from sea level. But there’s plenty of spots to rest and take on the scenery. After that it’s a nice stroll along the crystal river. The halfway pint someone in a 4x4 apparently didn’t want to scratch their doors and ended up in the river (pics) about a month prior. At the end of the trail the milk is there w a tour guide giving info and if you sign a waiver and pay 10$ you can go to the base and take pictures. I didn’t bring any cash so we were able to. You can hike in from marble,CO like we did or front the opposite side. It’s still about 9-10 miles total. Definitely a popular trail and lots of people were out. I couldn’t recommend it more. I can’t wait to explore Colorado in depth after that hoe bag Corona dies. Until then.

Pavel Efremov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2020
Hiking

Start very early to avoid heavy traffic!

Julie C.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
Hiking

One of my faves. Rolling up and down in elevation, both ways. Be prepared for ORV’s. Best in October with the leaves changing.

Curtis Sharp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 24, 2020
HikingRocky

This hike is absolutely beautiful. You get to see about everything you could ask for when it comes to hiking. My only complaint is that the trail is made for off-road vehicle’s. You get dust all over you from all the cars and atvs going by. Best way to do this trail is on a weekday, very early in the morning. Definitely worth the scenery.

View Curtis's Recording
Shawn Manske
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 24, 2020
Hiking

Excellent hike, loved it. Not difficult, easy going. Met a nice couple in the little ‘town’ of crystal (past the mill) who owed one of the cabins, 3rd generation owners, and got some great history. Note the white truck down in the river that slipped off earlier this year.

View Shawn's Recording
Brianna Fluellen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 24, 2020
HikingRocky

Loved Crystal Mill and this is a bucket list place to see! We drove it instead of hiking it and I thought we should post a review of that here for people not sure which way to go. The hike would not have been great...pretty but not spectacular and VERY narrow road with ATVs and SUVs driving up the road. As we started the drive I kept wondering what in the world you do with a car coming the other way. We soon found out and it was very difficult to find a spot for two cars to pass but we managed. Other than the drive this was amazing but just wanted to make sure you are mentally prepared for that drive...it is rough and scary in places and it wasn’t even crowded the day we went. If we did it again we would rent ATVs. Awesome at the top though!!!

Pat Ribotto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 21, 2020
Hiking

We took this drive yesterday on what turned out to be a very busy Father’s Day. Kinda figured that though. The drive takes about 40 minutes or so from Marble to the mill. Still bumpy and rocky as ever, but the drive is worth it. We drove to the far end of the town of Crystal and parked there, then walked up into Lead King Basin. Again, I wanted to walk the road first to see what it looked like before considering driving it. I had read several stories about it, and it is in fact pretty ugly. The biggest thing for me, would be the fact that there is virtually no place to pass someone coming from the other way. It really is a one lane road, till you get real close to the basin. But believe me, that doesn’t deter people. It was packed with people driving to Lead King, in every kind of motorized vehicle you can think of. Once at the basin, it opens up and the views are outstanding. You can see Snowmass Mountain in full view. I am actually surprised that there are no treks originating from the town of Crystal on this website, as that would seem to be a logical place to start walking up either fork of the Crystal River. Like the Pearl pass road, I won’t be taking either of those roads in my truck. Hiking works for me. Some great places to camp along the road to Lead King, but they don’t start to appear till you are about ¾ of the way there. Nice spots at the basin itself too. We walked out about 2.5 miles from where we parked, to sit and take in the view of the waterfall coming down from Geneva Lake. Wish we had more time as we would have pushed on to the lake. Another beautiful area and a really nice day hike up in here. Even driving slowly on the Crystal Mill road, which I did, can result in a bad ending. Got a flat tire on the way out. Wasn't happy about changing a tire at a tiny pull out, in the dirt. Not a great ending to what was a really fun day. Only 4 stars due to the flat :) And even though I post this as a hike, it was really a drive, then a hike. By the way, we saw no mosquitoes at all during our hike!!

Charlene Pariera
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

Stunning. One of my favorites for sure! Lots of traffic on a sketchy one lane road. Lots of dust as they go by! Tons of mesqutoes!

Kathryn Shiverdecker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2020
Bugs

This hike is a killer if you plan to hike it. The very beginning is steep and the mosquitos are definetely out so BRING BUG SPRAY (I recieved nearly 15 bites from those nasty creatures). after the first .5 mile it has a steep decline but after that is fairly level. There are a lot of ATVs and large vehicles, but if you go early enough or on a weekday you should be able to avoid a lot of them. The trail is beautiful, and Crystal Mill is fantastic. However, if you're into photography and want to go down to the river, they require a $10.00 fee and you have to sign a waiver. I reccomend bringing the $10.00 (cash only), as you can get some really fantastic shots from down there.

Josh Kramer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2020
Hiking

If you get there early enough you won’t see to many vehicles or ATVs. Even with them it was a beautiful hike! So worth it.

Shilo Cavalcanti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 14, 2020
Hiking

as all the other reviews mention, it can be difficult hiking with all the ATV and car traffic. that being said, we started around 9am and had a fairly quiet walk in. it was on the way back that we had to keep jumping out of the way. BUT still a gorgeous hike next to the Crystal River the entire way. the first part of the hike if parking at lower lot is quite strenuous but the remainder is fairly benign and flat most of the way.

Caroline Vierod
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2020
HikingMuddy

Beautiful hike along the crystal river! AWD/ 4 wheel drive needed to get to trailhead and 4 wheel drive or ATV needed to get to the mill and town of Crystal. We walked in from trailhead, it was about 4 miles to the mill and a tiny bit further to the town. You can actually rent the cabins crystal. We went on a very rainy day but it was still so beautiful. The hike isn’t very hard, mostly flat.

Melea Sheridan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 6, 2020
HikingMuddy
View Melea's Recording
Stewart Carnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 1, 2020
Hiking

Very nice hike. It's about the destination on this hike and not the trail, since your walking on a 4x4 road with traffic. There are beautiful views along the road. The little town of Crystal is beautiful and the Mill is amazing. Made the hike worthwhile.

Jenna Baldridge
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 24, 2020
HikingRocky

Completed 5/23. The views - absolutely incredible. Majority of the hike is right up against the river with perfect scenery of both water, forest and mountains. All snow is melted off the trail. The hike - little rough. The trail was sooooo rocky. There was SO much ATV and truck traffic. The noise of vehicles and constantly having to step off to let vehicles pass was a real bummer. The mill itself is beautiful. There’s chained off areas with no trespassing signs so you can’t go directly down to the river bank like you used to unless you go into the town of Crystal (about a 5 min walk up the trail) to sign a waiver and pay $10. The hike just seems.. more touristy than it used to. If we had known more about the circumstances ahead of time we would’ve chosen a different trail with less noise, people, cars and rocks.

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