Crystal City

4.6/5 (40 reviews)
Marble, Colorado (Gunnison County)
Last Updated: 11/24/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

The Crystal City Trail is a popular connector road which takes you to some of Colorado's most spectacular alpine heights, wilderness views, and of course, Crystal City . Incorporated in 1880, Crystal City was a thriving mining community at the time with hundreds of residents and amenities of the day. Now, most are long gone, and Crystal was, in fact, a ghost town for several decades. Today, several families maintain their properties in Crystal City as summer residences. One structure remains as the most prominent icon for the city's past--the Crystal Mill.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.6/5 (40 reviews)
Todd
Official Crew
104550
Status: Seasonal Closure
Visited: 11/24/2022

Closed for the season! See you next year!
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/29/2022

This marks my first review on TRAILS OFFROAD and my first real "off road" excursion in my 2002 Ford Excursion. WOW, Crystal Mill has always been on my bucket-list to not only see in-person but photograph as well and the trail, scenery, and site will not disappoint! The trail was no problem for this rookie and my full-size ride. She climbed and cleared anything the trail had. I arrived at the trailhead late at about ~3:30pm on a Thursday during the fall colors hoping most had already headed back but worried everyone might just be heading back and was a little nervous about passing other folks. I encountered about 8-10 vehicles and a handful of side-by-sides/atv's. A few narrow passing's on the steep ledge/edge areas had me a bit nervous but nothing the wife could help spot/guide me with and folding in the mirrors couldn't handle. I was worried about pinstriping and the mirrors to some abuse but overall it was okay. After a wash I did notice a few light marks but nothing major and will probably buff out just fine. I know I should expect this and if I plan to hit more off road trails like this I shouldn't take a vehicle I care about but I don't have the means at the moment to own or dedicate one ride solely for trail abuse as this is our road trip vehicle too. This was a great learning experience and who knows I may consider a smaller dedicated off-road ride someday and the Ex can just trailer it around. The only disappointment was apparently the price to go down to the river at the mill jumps from $10 to $50 if they see a camera! Even as an avid hobbyist photographer I couldn't bring myself to fork over that kind of cash. Perhaps if the colors were at there peak and I arrived early to spend a large chunk of the day there I would, so maybe next time. Pretty sure if I had left the stock running boards on I would still be able to clear the trail just fine, but I took them off just encase. Probably should of aired down but being a fairly short trail and keeping slower speeds to take in the scenery it wasn't too bad; my baby (2 years old) had a great time in the car seat getting tossed around a bit:-) Got some great photos and hope to re-visit to try and get the perfect shot someday. Enjoy the photos!
Trail Review: Crystal City - Chris Foster
Trail Review: Crystal City - Chris Foster
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Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/26/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Absolutely loved this trail, mostly because I have lived in CO my whole life and this was my first time visiting the Crystal Mill after seeing countless photos of it. Unfortunately the fall colors were nowhere near their peak yet but the views were still just as good as I thought they'd be. The trail itself was fun and easy on 15psi (I finished Crystal City and then went over Schofield Pass - see separate review for that).
Status: Open
Visited: 09/25/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran this trail from East to West on 9/25/22 in a Colorado ZR2 and a stock Silverado. The portion from the eastern end of this trail (where it meets Schofield pass and Lead King Basin) to the town of Crystal is quite rocky, difficult, and not to be underestimated. This part should be considered a "4" difficulty rating. Everything west of the town of Crystal was pretty easy and deserving of it's rating of a 3. The western portion of the trail is still very rocky and had plenty of standing water in the trail, but any high clearance 4x4 will make it. No, you should not take your Subaru/ Honda CRV/ Hyundai Santa Fe on this road. It can be done with careful line choice but you risk overheating your transmission, slicing a tire, and not having the clearance to make it over some of the rocky sections without adding some new ventilation ports to your oil pan. This trail is crowded with both vehicles and hikers, and stranding an under-equipped vehicle blocking the trail would not be a very considerate thing to do.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/24/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

The Crystal Mill run is one of our favorite Colorado trails. We've been going on the loop to Marble, the Crystal Mill, Crystal City and over Lead King Basin since 1968. We try to do it in the fall when the trees are turning colors. This time the trees were just starting to turn. We stopped for some good BBQ in Marble. We paid the $10 each to go down to the Crystal Mill site for a closer look. Talked to a man that said he was the property owner and he uses the money to make repairs. Since it was a Saturday there were lots of hikers and vehicles. After seeing Crystal City we went on the Lead King Basing loop, which was more difficult then it use to be. See separate review for Lead King Basin.
Trail Review: Crystal City - Roger P.
Trail Review: Crystal City - Roger P.
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