What is the connection between the Lincoln Memorial and a small town embedded in the Colorado Rocky Mountains? Marble. Parts of the historic monument were sculpted out of said stone from the Colorado Yule Marble Company located in Marble, Colorado, an outpost at 7,950 feet (2424 meters), 40 miles south of Glenwood Springs.
The 25 acre site of the former processing mill is now a National Historic Landmark and makes for an interesting side trip from the more well trodden areas in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Colorado Yule Marble Company was founded in 1905 and its Yule marble was considered to be of the highest quality in its class. Although access to the actual quarry is prohibited, visitors are welcome to walk around and explore the ruins (at their own risk), and check out the large blocks of marble.
While this excursion would not be a priority for the first time visitor to the area, my husband, Ashton, and I found it to be a pleasant day trip. We have visited this part of Colorado many times and have enjoyed much that it has to offer including hiking, biking, river rafting, general exploring, the spectacular views, skiing, shopping, and dining. So, while visiting family in Carbondale last year, we heard about Marble and decided to go for a scenic drive.
We headed South on highway 133, West of Mt. Sopris (12,965 feet / 3,953 meters) and the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness area, part of the Elk Mountain Range. Photography opportunities abound and it took us a while to reach the junction with state road 3, up to our destination, in the heart of the mountains. The roads parallel the Crystal River all the way to Marble, and Beaver Lake. This excursion was more about the journey than the destination.
View of Mt. Sopris from Highway 133 with the Crystal River in the foreground.
These rocks were polished by past glaciers which covered many of Colorado’s mountain ranges.
Photography fun with glacier river rocks!
Looking East from Highway 133, at the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness area.
Time to catch our breath in Marble!
If you forget to pack a picnic, there’s always some “Slow Grovin BBQ”.
Town of Marble population: 131 as of the 2010 Census.
The paved road ends at Beaver Lake. Beyond, it’s four wheel drive and the ‘ghost town’ of Crystal.
We didn’t take any sort of tour but merely walked around on our own. A small leaflet was available at the ‘entrance’ by the loading area. So, we were left to guess which was the avalanche wall, the different ‘fire walls’, the mill, the ice rink, etc….So, following are some random images from the site.
Under this sign there was a bin with small pieces of marble that one could take for a souvenir.
Marble blocks like these were scattered throughout the area.
My husband, gamely posing to give some perspective!
Along state road 3, on our return to Carbondale:
Our unusual side trip to Marble proved to be an enjoyable learning experience. Who would have thought that parts of the Lincoln Memorial came from a remote, seemingly inaccessible region of the Colorado Rockies?
If you enjoyed my photography, please check out my website at: Bela Geo Images