Hike Along a River to Crystal Mill in Colorado


Crystal Mill in Colorado is one of the most photographed spots in Colorado. This old Mill was used from 1893 to 1917 to generate compressed air for the miners in a nearby silver mine. It wasn't until 1985 that this mill became protected and then give it a couple decades for it to become one of the most sought after pictures for photographers and instagrammers and you can see why.

But let's start from the beginning of how to get to the Mill. This makes a great day trip from Aspen or Glenwood Springs. Find your way to Marble, CO and you will be guided from there.

If you have an ATV or overlanding Jeep you can make it right up to the Mill. Make note that this is a popular place for ATVs and the road you hike is the same road they take. The warning to use only ATVs and high clearance vehicles comes from the unmaintained road. So if you do not have a vehicle capable enough it's around a 9 mile hike round trip with 1,400' in elevation gain. Be careful of when you are driving around just finding a spot to park, some of these mountain roads are incredibly narrow and can have a lot of snow even in July.

Remember you are in Colorado where the elevation is high wherever you are. Marble sits at 7,992' and you climb the 1,400' to get to the mill so take your time and bring lots of water. The effects of elevation can hit you fast or slow, but either way its hard to bounce out of it.

We had our truck, but didn't want to chance anything, so we parked next to this beautiful lake to begin our hike.

While long, it is very enjoyable along the river.

Then you can just enjoy your time taking in the views of the mill, river and waterfall. Do not attempt to get to the mill or go into it.

The Mill was worth the drive, the hike and getting lost along the way. I hope you add this to your Colorado bucket list!

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We became full time RVers in 2016 to explore the US. Now roaming in a van we highlight hikes, road trip attractions and free camping.


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