Hidden away several miles off Highway 133 on County Road 3, Marble is a cool little mountain town. There is plenty of great recreation in the area, from hiking, biking, and camping, to OHV 4×4 roads. Recently, summer tourism in Marble has increased due to the popularity of the nearby Crystal Mill hike.
The Statutory Town recorded 217 residents in 2020. It was incorporated in 1899. Even though Marble is very close to Crested Butte as the crow flies, it’s separated geographically from the rest of Gunnison County. It sits at an elevation of 7,992 feet.
While Schofield Pass will take you to Crested Butte and the rest of Gunnison County, it’s a notoriously dangerous 4×4 road that’s only open during a slim window in late summer. The shortest safe route to CB in the summer is south toward Paonia via Kebler Pass for 2.5 hours. In the winter it’s south on Highway 92 past Crawford and east on Highway 50 to Gunnison, then north. This route takes 3.5 hours.
The Yule Creek Area within Gunnison County was speculated to have large deposits of marble in the land. There was a move to capitalize on this and start mining in the early 1880s. The area was aptly named Marble, and it eventually expanded into a transportation and processing center for the miners.
The marble quarried in town ended up all over the United States for constructing important buildings and other structures. A lot of it ended up in the nation’s capital, where it was turned into the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial, to name a few.
Marble reached its population peak in the early 1900s, with about 1,500 residents. There were a few hotels, two town newspapers, and even a movie theater. The rock being mined eventually became known as Yule Marble, and the industry went through several highs and lows over the coming decades.
From 1942 to 1988, the quarry was abandoned, the tracks were removed, and the town fell to 50 residents. It was then revived and has been through a few different owners, but still remains active today. The population of Marble is also slowly increasing as tourism gains popularity.
Crystal Ghost Town – The famous former Crystal Mill sits high over the Crystal River below. You’ll need high clearance 4×4 to reach this townsite with a few buildings remaining, about 5.5 miles from town. The route continues to Schofield Pass which is a dangerous 4×4 road and an alternative route to Crested Butte and the ghost town of Gothic.
Marble Quarry – The Yule Marble Quarry was founded in the late 1800s. This is where the town gets its name. Its marble is of the best quality, rival of the classical Italian and Greek marble. It’s almost pure calcite marble, with only a minority of mica, feldspar, and quartz.
The historic mill site is still used today to transport its exceptional marble stone throughout the world. The Marble/marble sculpting symposium is held every summer.
- Marble Campground is in the center of town so you don’t have to go far to pitch your tent. It is within walking distance of all the attractions in Marble.
- If you want a smaller, less popular place to set up camp, Bogan Flats is the perfect spot. There are 35 RV sites, toilets, and easy access to hiking trails.
- Redstone Campground is only 12 miles from town and has the babbling Crystal River right next to it. There are tent and RV sites with restrooms, showers, electrical hookups, and even a playground for the kids.
- Read about the camping near Marble, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.
- Beaver Lake State Wildlife Area has a lake for cold water fishing. With a valid Colorado fishing license, you’ll be able to fish for rainbow and brown trout.
- Crystal River flows into the aforementioned reservoir and is a great stream for trout fishing as well.
- Yule Creek trailhead is 5 miles of dirt road that leads to Yule Pass, which sits at an elevation of 11,300 feet. It’s a short drive south of town.
- If you start at Raspberry Creek trailhead right outside of town, it will lead you to a 9.4-mile loop that is rated as hard.
The Inn at Raspberry Ridge – This beautiful, cozy inn is right by the Crystal River and has beautiful views of the mountains. There are a few room options and even a stand-alone cabin that sleeps up to 6 people, perfect for families.
Beaver Lake Lodge – An outdoor lover’s dream, this lodge sits on the lake for quick access to canoeing and fishing. There are 5 historic cabins or you can choose to stay in the lodge, which is a restored schoolhouse.
Chair Mountain Ranch – Situated on multiple acres of riverside land, there is no cell reception on this nature retreat but plenty to do.
Read about the best hotels in Redstone and Marble.
Slow Groovin BBQ – A seasonal spot for smoked meats, homemade sides, and cold beer. Visitors rave about the great service and friendly staff here as well.
Activities near Marble
State Wildlife Areas:
- Aspen (56mi)
- Basalt (38mi)
- Carbondale (27mi)
- El Jebel (34mi)
- Glenwood Springs (40mi)
- Paonia (42mi)
- Redstone (11mi)
- Snowmass Village (54mi)
- Woody Creek (49mi)
View the town’s official website.
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