Crystal River Railroad

Coal Basin Branch

The pages that follow provide some maps and views of the right of way of the Coal Basin Branch of the Crystal River Railroad. This branch was about 12 miles in length and stretched from Redstone, CO to the coal mines up at Coal Basin. The following images were shot over the coarse of two days starting on June 21, 2010. Prior to this trip I had prepared overlays of the entire line using maps photographed at the National Archives in College Park, MD. Points of interest were then loaded into my handheld Garmin GPS receiver to provide some guidance while out hiking.

I found this line to be challenging to explore due to the motorized travel restrictions in the are.  Vehicle travel is only allowed up to about milepost 4.7. At his point the Coal Basin road forks off into NF-1A and NF-1F. Both of these are blocked by heavy locked forest service gates. Signs at the gates state that motorized travel is not allowed but foot, horse or bike traffic is permitted. NF-1A can be hiked up to about milepost 7 and is then blocked by private property with no real route around it. NF-1F can be hiked to NF-1C and then NF-1D which eventually takes you up to the grade at about milepost 10.5. This is the route used in later years by mining vehicles. I started my hike up NF-1A since this is pretty much along the grade until I hit the private property. I then had to abandon that and hike the mining road up towards Coal Basin. It was quite a hike but some beautiful country.

Milepost 0

Milepost 1
Milepost 2
Milepost 3
Milepost 4

Reference Material

The Crystal River Pictorial by Dell McCoy
Marble A Town Built on Dreams by Oscar McCollum Jr
Crystal River Railroad Valuation Maps found at The National Archives - College Park, MD