Connects: Highway 133 (West Elk Loop Scenic Byway), Bogan Flats Campground, Marble Cemetery, Marble Airstrip (7,800 ft), Marble (7,990 ft), Marble Quarry Road (CR 3C), Marble Mill Site Park, Marble Disc Golf Course, Beaver Lake State Wildlife Area, Daniels Hill, Crystal City Road (FSR #314), Lead King Basin Road (FSR #315)
Marble, CO – 8.1 Miles – Road Bike, Mountain Bike – Paved/Dirt
Gunnison County Road 3, also simply called the Road to Marble, is an intermediate/moderate 8.1 mile paved/dirt road you can bike to Marble, CO. The road is paved 6.6 miles from Highway 133 to Beaver Lake. The dirt road continues 1.5 miles from Beaver Lake to the Lead King Loop – Crystal City Road (FSR #314)/Lead King Basin Road (FSR #315) intersection.
Early prospectors in the Crystal River Valley were so intent on finding gold and silver that they neglected the area’s most precious resource – marble. First noted in 1873, the rich deposits about five miles south of here lay virtually untapped for twenty years. Then coal magnate John Osgood entered a block of the stone in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and judges ranked it among the world’s finest. The state of Colorado immediately ordered stone for its new state capitol building in Denver, and in 1899 the town of Marble – population ninety-nine – was incorporated. That same year Osgood formed the Yule Creek White Marble Company, raising hopes that a boom would follow. But the Fuel King had little interest in the enterprise – so little that when he built opulent Cleveholm Manor, he spurned his own stone for marble imported at great expense from Carrera, Italy.
John Osgood’s corporate downfall left the field open for a new marble magnate. Enter Channing Frank Meek, who founded the Colorado Yule Marble Company in 1905. Unlike Osgood, Meek took his marble seriously, opening a second quarry with the world’s largest marble processing mill. He also build a much-needed railroad, and the crucial shipping link ignited the market for Marble’s marble. In 1913, Manhattan builders ordered 1.2 million cubic feet for an early skyscraper, the Equitable Building. Colorado Yule landed an even more prestigious contract in 1914, supplying stone for the Lincoln Memorial. In 1931 the quarry yielded a one-hundred-ton slab – the largest block of marble ever cut – for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The quarry closed in 1941 and lay dormant until 1990 when the quarry reopened, marking Marble’s stone once again a sought-after commodity.”
By permission of the Board of County Commissioners the .7 of a mile of County Road #3 past the Beaver Lake Parking Lot, can be used by you to access public land. Show respect for local residents. Slow down and reduce noise or lost this right!”