The Crystal Mill in Marble, Colorado

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It’s a rare day that a hike is made better by finding a man-made object at the end of a long hike. Usually, the payoff of a great hike is seeing a part of nature, form a perspective that you can’t achieve without a mix of tired muscle, dripping sweat at dogged hiking. But, the Crystal Mill is the exception and truly exceptional. When you arrive at the falls and see this old structure clinging to the mountainside you can’t help but admire the creativity, vision and handwork that went into making it. Someone saw the power of the water and set their sights on harnessing it. It’s worth ever bit of the 7+ mile hike to get to it, and sitting next to the river with the spray of the falls inundating you is a uniquely peaceful experience. True, you could get on an ATV or small jeep and drive up to the Crystal Mill – but where’s the sport in that? Just the way that a meal taste better after earning the proteins, fats and carbs with hard work – the meditation like quality of the rushing waters filling your ears with the soundtrack of crashing water at Crystal Mill is enhanced tenfold by the journey of getting to it on foot. If you’re lucky, you can do it on a day where you’re the only person there and for a brief moment in time… feel like the only person on earth.

If you haven’t made this trip yet, do yourself and favor and make the trip, while it’s still standing. Preservation efforts are underway to keep the Mill standing but, you never know when that funding will dry up and you’ll miss your chance to experience one of a kind Mill and the industry of yesteryear in the middle of nowhere.

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