Hiking Project Logo

A classic Sawatch hike summiting two Colorado 14ers.

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key





Out and Back

14,190' 4,325 m


9,763' 2,976 m


5,114' 1,559 m


5,113' 1,559 m



Avg Grade (10°)


Max Grade (45°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Descend the same trail that you climbed—the out-and-back route shown here. This requires climbing back up to Shavano from Tabeguache Peak. Some people try to descend an alternate route off of Tabeguache, but it's common to get cliffed out in this zone, risking injury or death. This is a common cause for Search and Rescue calls in the region, so just make sure to descend the standard route back to the trailhead.


This moderate 14er route combines two of the state's duller 14ers. Due to their proximity to Buena Vista and Salida, Shavano and Tabeguache are more frequently climbed than many of their neighboring peaks.

Need to Know

While only an intermediate hike, this route is still 10.5 miles long round trip with over 5,000 ft of elevation gain. Much of your time hiking will be at high elevations with lots of sun exposure. Be prepared for a long day of 6-9 hrs, depending on fitness and motivation.


A mile or so north of Poncha Springs on US 285, turn west onto County Road 140 (roughly right across from the turn to the Salida airport). Drive 1.7 miles, turning right onto CO 250. Drive 4 miles to a fork in the road. From here, stay left, heading on CO 252 (forest road 252 per some signs). Drive 3 miles, passing a cattle guard just before coming to the trailhead. There is ample parking in this lot and a bathroom right at the start of the trail. Turning left upon reaching the TH and driving about 100 yards will bring you to a large clearing with even more camping options.

From the trailhead, find the path behind the bathroom. Hike about 150 yards through a clearing. Come to a junction with the Colorado Trail, turning right. Pass some cattle guards, and in about 0.25 miles, turn left onto the Mt. Shavano trail.

Follow an excellent trail through the forest. To start, grades are minimal, and any large steps are cut in by trail crews and generally supported with logs. For about a mile, the trail remains easy to follow. At about 10,600 ft, pass a large rock on your right. A stream trickles through this area, which is saturated until early summer. From here, the trail becomes rocky and rooty. Cross a stream on your left at about 10,800 ft.

Continue on a mediocre trail, switching back here and there before the trees begin to thin around 11,600. Before this point, there are a few clearings providing an excellent view of downtown Salida. At 11,800, put on your sunscreen and continue up an increasingly rocky and steep path. Hike up some steep switchbacks for about 1.5-2 miles before reaching the saddle at 13,400 ft. Mt. Shavano is to your right.

From here, it's an easy class 2 scramble on rocky, grassy ledges to the summit. The terrain is solid, and no helmet is necessary. Continue up on the ridge, heading north for about 700 vertical feet. The trail here is often vague, but the summit is obvious. The trail should get clearer just below the summit. It jogs just to the left of the high point. Leave it briefly to summit.

From the top of Mt. Shavano, it's under a mile to Tabeguache Peak. Leave the summit, hiking down clear, rocky trail toward yet another clear summit. Lose about 600 vertical, reaching a saddle at 13,500 ft. Angle left up 500 ft of rocky, unclear, class 2 trail to reach the top of Tabeguache Peak. From here, the only realistic escape is the path from whence you came, so make sure the weather is decent before heading to this peak.

From the Tabeguache summit, turn around and do it all backward. There's a lot of gain on this hike, so expect the return up Shavano to be a bit brutal.

The land manager requests dogs be leashed. You'll see many dogs and few leashes.

Flora & Fauna

The forest below Mt. Shavano is dense with conifers and Aspens. Wildflowers abound up high, and marmots and pika are everywhere.

History & Background

While afflicted with a dull standard route, Mt. Shavano is perhaps more famous for the aptly named "Angel of Shavano," a popular spring snow climbing route on its east face. The angel has a unique appearance, and, during years of high snowfall, often persists well into July.


Shared By:

Tyler Prince with improvements by Meow Cat Heavy Industries

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 15 votes


  3.3 from 15 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Recommended Route Rankings


in Colorado


9 Views Last Month
4,865 Since Mar 18, 2015
Difficult Difficult



Emerging from treeline to a horizon of clouds.
Oct 2, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Headed back from Tabaguache and Shavano
Apr 14, 2018 near Alpine , CO
A curious critter chills along the summit ridge of Mt. Shavano.
Mar 18, 2015 near Salida, CO
Windswept Pine on the descent from Shavano
Nov 24, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Tabeguache Peak as seen from near Shavano's summit.
Mar 18, 2015 near Salida, CO
The saddle at 13,400 ft, as visible from above treeline on the Mt. Shavano Trail
Mar 18, 2015 near Salida, CO



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jul 29, 2023
Claire Milligan
12.2mi — 7h 00m
Jul 22, 2023
did it with my dog 15.5mi
Jun 18, 2023
Brian Baker
Very rocky trail! Couple snowfields up to the saddle below Shavano. Snow on summit and on path to Tabeguache. Spikes and poles recommended. 10.4mi — 10h 21m
Jul 18, 2022
Andy Guthe
Amazing. Perfect weather. W Lilian. 11.2mi — 7h 30m
Jul 17, 2022
Drew Kelley
11mi — 6h 55m
Jun 27, 2021
Robert Whalen
5300' of gain, and some fresh snow near the summit of Shavano 11mi
Sep 25, 2020
Anthony Abercrombie
Aug 30, 2020
Erik Mohr

Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started