Hike by Lizard Lake to Crystal Mill

Crystal Mill Trailhead

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.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Food/ snacks
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking clothes
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 10 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

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!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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