The Crystal River begins in the Elk Mountains of Gunnison County in Colorado. It flows for 40 miles before it reaches the confluence with the Roaring Fork River in Carbondale. This scenic valley is home to bald eagles, bighorn sheep, abundant elk populations, Lewis’s woodpeckers, geothermal hot springs, rare orchids such as the stream orchid, and one of the few places in the state to view fireflies.
Historically, there was abundant mining in this area, such as coal, lead-zinc, iron, and silver. The Crystal River Mill provides an iconic view of the area’s silver mining industry. Marble continues to be quarried and has provided the foundations for some of the most well-known monuments in the United States, such as Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Washington Monument.
Today, the Crystal River is a favored kayaking and fishing river. Not only does it provide drinking water to 7,000 people, but the valley continues to remain rich in ranching and agriculture.