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Exploring the Crystal River Valley, Colorado


Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country and the Crystal River Valley offers a perfect snapshot of that beauty. Scenery, however, isn't the only reason this valley stands out. It is also home to a lot of history and fun recreation opportunities. Take a trip down State Route 133 and see all the Crystal River Valley has to offer.
Where is the Crystal River Valley?

The Crystal River Valley runs from Carbondale to Marble in central Colorado, surrounding the Crystal River. State Route 133 largely follows the valley but deviates at the turnoff for Gunnison County Road 3, which will take you to Marble and through the rest of the valley.
West Elk Loop Scenic Byway

The West Elk Loop Scenic Byway is a route in central Colorado that takes you through some of the best scenery around. The Crystal River Valley serves as the start of the idyllic route as the trail runs through the valley until the turnoff to Marble. If you plan to venture onto this scenic byway, we have some recommendations on where to stop from Carbondale to Marble and beyond.
West Elk Loop Scenic Byway

The West Elk Loop Scenic Byway is a route in central Colorado that takes you through some of the best scenery around. The Crystal River Valley serves as the start of the idyllic route as the trail runs through the valley until the turnoff to Marble. If you plan to venture onto this scenic byway, we have some recommendations on where to stop from Carbondale to Marble and beyond.
Carbondale, Colorado

Carbondale is the first stop in the Crystal River Valley. It is set where the Crystal River breaks off of the Roaring Fork River. There are many great things to do in Carbondale including restaurants, golf courses, museums, theaters and the Powers Art Center.
Crystal River Hatchery

On the outskirts of Carbondale sits the Crystal River fish hatchery. This cold-water hatchery offers both self-guided and guided tours along with a viewing room and a food dispenser to feed the fish. Housed at this hatchery are both rainbow and Snake River cutthroat tour brood fish.
Crystal River Hatchery

On the outskirts of Carbondale sits the Crystal River fish hatchery. This cold-water hatchery offers both self-guided and guided tours along with a viewing room and a food dispenser to feed the fish. Housed at this hatchery are both rainbow and Snake River cutthroat tour brood fish.
Penny Hot Springs

About 13 miles outside of Carbondale is the home to the Penny Hot Springs. These hot springs receive hot mineral water naturally and are free to the public. Along with the hot springs, you'll enjoy some gorgeous scenery including views of Mt. Sopris and other mountain landscapes. There is parking just off highway 133 and the springs serve as a gateway to some great hiking trails.
Redstone, Colorado

Redstone is the perfect place to visit if you want to enjoy some Colorado history. The town, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is about four miles past the Penny Hot Springs. Redstone is an old coal-mining town that also served as a home to the Ute Native American tribe. There are plenty of antique and crafts shops, art galleries and other historical sites to visit in Redstone. One of interest is the Redstone Coke Oven Historic District. There are also some great hiking trails that berth out of Redstone.
Redstone, Colorado

Redstone is the perfect place to visit if you want to enjoy some Colorado history. The town, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is about four miles past the Penny Hot Springs. Redstone is an old coal-mining town that also served as a home to the Ute Native American tribe. There are plenty of antique and crafts shops, art galleries and other historical sites to visit in Redstone. One of interest is the Redstone Coke Oven Historic District. There are also some great hiking trails that berth out of Redstone.
Marble, Colorado

Marble is the next mile marker in the Crystal River Valley, sitting about 11.5 miles past Redstone. Marble is a quiet town with a busy history thanks to the Yule Marble Quarry. Marble is a popular place to start off-roading trails as well as several hiking trails. The Marble Quarry trail does take you by some historic sites regarding the marble quarry.
Crystal Mill

The Crystal Mill sits about 5.5 miles east of Marble and is a hauntingly beautiful site. It is one of the most photographed spots in Colorado and resides on the National Register of Historic Places. There are numerous ways to reach this historic mill including hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding. If you plan to drive to the mill, you'll want a vehicle with four-wheel drive to traverse Gunnison County Road 3. This iconic mill is set just before the ghost town of Crystal.
Crystal Mill

The Crystal Mill sits about 5.5 miles east of Marble and is a hauntingly beautiful site. It is one of the most photographed spots in Colorado and resides on the National Register of Historic Places. There are numerous ways to reach this historic mill including hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding. If you plan to drive to the mill, you'll want a vehicle with four-wheel drive to traverse Gunnison County Road 3. This iconic mill is set just before the ghost town of Crystal.
Fishing along the Crystal River

There are plenty of opportunities to go fishing along the Crystal River as there are numerous public fishing access points along Highway 133 as well as in Carbondale, Redstone and Marble. You'll have to access the points by foot. Visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Office's website to learn more.