Hike-in Required
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Perched atop a rock outcrop above a waterfall on the Crystal River, Crystal Mill was constructed in 1893 and used a powerhouse water turbine to generate compressed air for silver miners nearby. When the Sheep Mountain Mine closed in 1917, the mill was shut down. It was then placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

One of the most photographed sites in Colorado, the mill is located 6 miles east of the small town of Marble and is accessed primarily by four-wheel drive vehicles, although hiking and mountain biking are also possible.

The journey begins at Beaver Lake, and the road quickly shifts to a steep uphill grade beyond the lake. Hikers will feel their heart racing within the first few steps. Mountain bikers will likely shift down to their smallest gear as they roll over rough terrain. Perhaps the smartest travelers hire a jeep guide out of Marble to venture down the steep, exposed, narrow road.

After about 1.5 miles, take a right at the intersection with Lost Trail Road and descend a half mile to Lizard Lake between Sheep Mountain and Hat Mountain. The road’s profile rises and falls as it follows the river another 4 miles back into the canyon where history and nature collide at the mill.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Scenery. Historical interest.


Only accessible via rough four-wheel drive road.

Pets allowed





Nearby Lodging + Camping


Definitely hike to Crystal Mill instead of taking a Jeep. A jeep will certainly get you there quicker, but you'll only be offered fleeting glances of the immaculate views you get to stop and admire when you hike it instead. Hiking on jeep roads isn't optimal, but the views on this hike are fantastic. The first 1+ mile of the hike is straight up; your legs will be burning and your heart racing. But after that, the hike is pretty smooth with endless views.
Have been there several times. You have to be a B.A. to MTB there. I walked mine up about 1/2 the time. Coming down is even tough due to the grade and horrendous trail condition...but that said...ALWAYS worth the effort, regardless how you get there. If you are skeptical about how to get there...Crystal River Jeep Tours in Marble will be happy to help you out. It is an incredible setting...the mill itself is much larger than the perception you get from pictures.
Always an excellent side trip
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