Aspen History & Museums: Crystal Mill, Colorado

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Crystal Mill

The Crystal Mill teeters on a rock buttress above a picturesque waterfall on the Crystal River near Marble, Colo. Built in 1893, the mill has been the centerpiece of many beautiful photographs.

  • Reportedly one of the most photographed sites in Colorado
  • Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985
  • Seven miles southeast of Marble


The Crystal Mill, historically known as the Sheep Mountain Mill, contained a water-driven air compressor that powered drills that helped miners cut holes in the rock to place dynamite at the Sheep Mountain and Bear Mountain mines, according to the Marble Historical Society. The site has also been called the Dead Horse Mill, but that name is not correct, the historical society says.

The operation shut down in 1917, and the site has been preserved with the help of the Gunnison and Aspen historical societies. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Most people visit the site, which is framed by high mountains and aspen trees, in summer and early fall. 


Crystal Mill is seven miles southeast of Marble near the Crystal ghost town. It is accessed by a road that requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle, a sturdy pair of boots, a mountain bike or a horse.


Most people visit in summer or early fall, though it can be reached using skis during the winter.


There is no fee to see Crystal Mill, Colorado.

More info

Jeep tours are available to Crystal Mill, CO, out of Marble.