June 17, 2016
This place was amazing! There isn’t a lot of information out there on how to get to the mill so here is a detailed description, so you can’t get lost.
Starting from the drive from Carbondale to Marble. We definitely suggest accessing Crystal Mill from Marble. The drive was one of the prettiest drives I have been on CO-133 to Co Rd 3 goes right along the river. It’s a completely flat drive and you see meadows and cute homes and there are a couple historical sites along the way.
Before Marble is the town of Redstone. If you forgot water or snacks stop here. They have a very cute small town market, snacks, candy, drinks, alcohol and ice cream. Across the street are old clay ovens.
The drive on co rd 3 makes you feel like you have gone back in time a little. There is a small airstrip for small planes. We were able to see a group with single seats and two friends with two planes and tents. All I could think of was that that was a whole new level of camping.
After this you will reach the town of Marble. The only two businesses that were open were jeep tours and a bar, which if we hadn’t of gotten lost twice and ended so late we would have stopped.
Get onto main street. This street will get you to Beaver Lake. You can’t miss it. If you are looking for a longer hike (around 13 miles rt) then you can park here to the right and then head out to the left. There will be a point in the future where you 100% need a 4×4.
The next point is this closed restaurant. This is where if you do not have a 4×4 vehicle you need to park and walk. This would probably make the entire hike 10 miles rt. There is not a trail to get to the mill, it’s along a 4×4 only road. We were only 1 of 2 hiking groups. The rest were on jeep tours, four wheelers or dune buggies. They were all very respectful when driving by.
We met a woman along the way trying to find the mill as well. She said that she stopped at the jeep tour place and they weren’t very helpful in giving clear directions. We ended up following her to this fork in the road.
We originally went to the left and it was a horrible road and we came to a river crossing and then we were stopped by snow. Luckily we ran into a local who told us that we should have gone right at this section. He said that there road going further up was washed out, there were trees down and there was a lot of snow still. So again, going in reverse because we could not turn around, we headed back. Back across the river and to this sign. If you read some other reviews about people hiking from Lizard lake it’s after this sign. So take a RIGHT! The road is narrow, but we were in our Chevy Silverado and were fine, with the exception of having to put our side mirrors in. So at last we made it to Lizard Lake.
There were a couple people camping around the lake (there were tons of mosquitoes). It was beautiful and quiet. So park anywhere off to the side and as you are looking at the Lizard Lake sign stay to the right. You can keep going in a 4×4 vehicle at this point too, but we wanted to get a hike in.
After an easy/moderate four miles along the river:
We reached the mill!! I was so happy considering we had gotten lost twice with no cell service and I didn’t think we would find it. It stood there so perfectly, forcing you to take a moment to respect the history…and then take pictures. You can read about the history of this mill here: Crystal Mill
The road keeps going for a longer hike or 4×4 ride.
The outcome was worth the stress of getting lost and riding on a crazy bumpy road. I would have sat there for a lot longer, but we got a late start and needed to head back. I wouldn’t mind coming back here in the winter!