Hike by Lizard Lake to Crystal Mill

Details

Distance

10 miles

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Mike Fennell

Explore Crystal Mill and the 19th century town of Crystal. You'll take in unbelievably pristine views of Lizard Lake and rolling mountains.

Although the iconic Crystal Mill is the main attraction on this hike, the river that leads you there through the magnificent mountains of the White River National Forest is nothing short of extraordinary.

Getting There

The hike is located in the small town of Marble, about 40 minutes east of Carbondale on Highway 133. Drive through the town and past beautiful Beaver Lake and find a place to park before the road turns into a smaller 4x4 road. It's possible to drive to Crystal Mill with a high clearance 4x4, but hiking there is definitely recommended.

The Trail

The road itself is a loop and is just a few miles extra should you choose to hike the full trail. Take the right fork in the road about a mile uphill from where you parked. You'll come across Lizard Lake less than half a mile from the fork, and from there continue for four more miles to reach the town of Crystal. Take some time to meander around and explore this 19th century town.

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Known for

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Nearby

Reviews

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Worth driving the road and camping near Crystal!

First of all, this adventure has some great pictures - well done! My wife and I drove the road in a stock 2000 Jeep Cherokee, and I am glad we didn't hike. Because we drove, we were able to camp near Crystal for 2 days and thoroughly enjoy the entire area rather than snapping a picture of Crystal Mill and heading home. We came for the Mill, but we left with more memorable sights of the town and surrounding hikes. If you want to stay in Crystal, Crystal Mountain Ranch rents some cabins and camping spots. Contact them at 970-340-8022.

Short easy hike or quick drive

The crystal mill is a classic photography location. This road is fine for a high clearence 4x4 car however past the mine it gets pretty gnarly. Awesome place to check out in the fall colors

Fun To Hike!

We loved this hike and were so happy we chose not to drive- you notice so much more this way. Get started by 8 am at the latest to avoid most of the crowds. We had the mill to ourselves!

Love this area!

I grew up vacationing at Beaver Lake each summer - we've hiked, driven and ridden horses up to Crystal. I was even lucky enough to rent one of the cabins in Crystal for a few nights and we backpacked in from Marble. Gorgeous area with so much to do! (I think you can drive to Lizard Lake fairly easily - I saw some Subarus parked there - we usually park at the top of the first hill where there's a pullout near a driveway)

One of Colorado's most photographed spots

Or so the saying goes, I'm not so sure due to the condition of the road. I've made the trip numerous times in a stock 4runner but I'll probably be hiking from Marble next time, the road just beats you up.

782 total saves

5.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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