Hiking Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak | Excellent Twin 14ers

Mount Shavano is the southernmost Sawatch Range 14er. Along with its twin to the west, Tabeguache Peak, it anchors this massive mountain range. Mt Shavano is also home to one of the state’s most famous snow climbs, a snow field known as the Angel of Shavano due to its lady-like figure. Those hiking Mount Shavano in the late spring or early summer will see this special snow formation. Start planning your trip to these two excellent 14ers with my free route guide below.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Hiking Mount Shavano: Fast Facts

Hiking Mount Shavano - East Slopes Route

Start hiking Mount Shavano at the Shavano/Tabeguache trailhead. Begin from the parking area and take a short trail leading to the Colorado Trail. Take a right at this juncture, passing by cattle fencing and a large Aspen grove.

Continue for about a quarter-mile along the Colorado Trail until you come to a second trail junction. Take a left on to the main Mt Shavano trail.

Take the trail up the gully, along the creek, for about a mile. Eventually, you will reach a sharp right turn and begin climbing back up the ridge on the right up the gully. There may be a few patches of snow in the spring as you near the tree line. 

Continue above the tree line along the ridge’s side, heading towards the upper half of the Angel of Shavano snowfield. You may need to cross Angel’s neck if snow remains. Aim for the saddle, at which point you’ll take a right and double back towards Mt Shavano.

Now the crux of the climb lies before you: Mt Shavano’s southern face. Take the weaving, Class 2 path from the summit, across the slopes, and up and around to the summit. There are several options to make it to the top. Enjoy your time up there, and make sure you check the weather before committing to go on to Tabeguache Peak.

Head beyond the summit, following the ridge that connects with Tabeguache. Take care to make sure you’re looking at the right summit. Downclimbing from Mt Shavano is the only challenging part of this climb, so take your time. 

Continue down several hundred feet to the saddle below before climbing back up. Tabeguache has a gentle slope up the ridge – talus hops for the last few hundred feet to reach the summit. 

Once you make it to the top, enjoy it! Take pictures, enjoy a snack, but be sure to head down with enough time to make it to the tree line by noon to avoid lightning risk. I hope you found my Mt Shavano and Tabeguache Peak Route Guide helpful and informative. Good luck hiking Mount Shavano, safe travels on the trail.

If you plan on hiking Mount Shavano, you will need a map for your trip. I recommend downloading a digital copy on your phone and printing out a backup to bring with you in case anything happens to your electronics or your batteries die.

Mt Shavano Standard Route Guide

Don’t start hiking Mount Shavano without checking the forecast several times and from several dependable sources. This is just as important as reviewing my Mt Shavano and Tabeguache Peak Route Guide. Here are a few websites to get started with:

Mountain Forecast for Mt Shavano

NOAA Forecast for Mt Shavano

The Mount Shavano Trailhead can be reached by most 2WD passenger vehicles. In the spring months, 4WD is helpful for some of the more difficult sections.

DIRECTIONS TO THE MOUNT SHAVANO TRAILHEAD:

On U.S. 285, one mile north of the U.S. 50 and U.S. 285 junction near Poncha Springs, turn west on County Road (CR) 140. This turn is about 21 miles south of Buena Vista, and across the highway from the entrance to the Salida airport. On CR 140, drive 1.7 miles and turn right on CR 250. Drive 0.8 to reach dirt road and reset your trip odometer.
 
Drive 3.2 miles to a “Y” junction. Stay left on FR 252 and continue to another small junction, near a cattle guard, at ~6.2 miles. Cross the cattle guard and drive a bit farther to reach the Shavano+Tabeguache trailhead.

When I hike 14ers like Mount Shavano, I always wear hiking boots rather than shoes or sneakers. They provide better traction and ankle support for tough scrambles like you’ll find while hiking Mount Shavano. Here are my top hiking boot recommendations.

You should always bring the ten essentials with you on your trip (see the infographic below). To carry them all, bring a backpack with 20-30 liters capacity. These are several good backpack options that won’t break the bank. 

While trekking poles are not a necessity on this mountain, I use them myself as they offer many benefits and make hiking easier. If you want a pair, I share my personal favorites here

Don’t forget to bring 2 liters of water, and a good bit of snacks and food for the trail. Learn more about packing for a 14er here.

Camping near Mount Shavano:

There are also many dispersed camping opportunities along the road leading to the trailhead ideal for those hiking Mount Shavano. There are more spots if you continue along the road beyond the trailhead. Note that camping is not allowed at the trailhead. Learn more about dispersed camping near 14ers here.

Lodging near Mount Shavano:

There are many cabins available via Airbnb and other services in Salida and the surrounding area, ideal for those hiking Mount Shavano.

Help keep Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak pristine by following these Leave No Trace practices while hiking Mount Shavano. This includes:

  • Plan ahead, review the route and pick a weekday or day in September to hike.
  • Stay on the trail, and keep dogs leashed on and off-trail to reduce trampling of alpine grass.
  • Leave your Bluetooth speaker at home and let nature’s sound reign.
  • Urinate off-trail, and pack out your waste – a cathole won’t work at high altitude.
  • Give wildlife a wide berth – 100 meters if possible. If they approach, back up to keep space.
  • Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.

Safe travels, and good luck hiking Mount Shavano! Learn more about LNT on 14ers here.

Coming Soon!

Hiking Mount Shavano is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.

  1. Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
  2. Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
  3. Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
  4. Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
  5. Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
  6. Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Hiking Mount Shavano is an inherently high-risk, dangerous activity. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my guide accept all risks associated with climbing 14ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks. It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.

Alex Derr, Creator of The Next Summit

Alex is an Eagle Scout and mountaineer living in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. You can subscribe to his Next Summit Newsletter here.

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