Hike Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak

9.25 miles 4600 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Jeff Richards

Summit two 14ers in one day. Camping right by the trailhead. Remote location/uncrowded trails. 9.25 mile roundtrip hike. 4600' elevation gain.

Start out on the Shavano and Tabeguache Trailhead off of FR 252 outside of Poncha Springs, at about 9,700 feet, and begin your trek into the forest. In the first half of a mile there are a few trail marker signs that should be read carefully to insure the right path is followed, but these signs are very easy to understand, and getting off track is hard. After this half mile, there is only one trail to follow, and that trail begins to climb. The first 3 or so miles is spent below tree-line, so if you got an early start (which is highly recommended) make sure to have a headlamp, as the trail does cross streams fairly often and can be easy to lose if you're not paying attention.

The trail climbs up out of the forest and traverses along the north side of a deep and beautiful gully. Follow the obvious trail as it stays relatively flat along side of the gully and start to head up to a saddle between Shavano and an unnamed mountain. The climb up to the saddle is your first big test, and should be taken slowly as it is steep and can be quite loose.

Now begins the hardest part of Shavano. There is only around 700 feet of climbing left, but it gets steeper and rockier, and the trail breaks off in many directions, which can become very confusing. Just note that all of these offshoot trails will lead to around the same area. After climbing 650 feet there is something of a false summit where the trail ends and you must simply scramble up rocks to reach the true summit.

Once on the summit, you can head back the same way you came up, or head to Tabeguache. Tabeguache is a flatter summit 1.5 miles to the Northwest. There is no obvious and well marked trail coming off of Shavano, so simply head down the rocky ridge to the Northwest (its the only other way to head beside back down). Make sure to stay as high as possible as this is where the scattered pieces of a broken trail will be. After a mile on the rocky ridge, you will make a steep descent to the very flat saddle. The downside to the saddle is it is short. This ascent, while not very long, can be tricky as the trail isn't very good, and it is very steep. It is easiest to just rock hop straight up to the summit and avoid the confusing trail.

After summiting Tabeguache you, unfortunately, have to go back the way you came. This means descending the rocky slope of Tabeguache. After getting to the saddle again, you must re-traverse the rocky ridge. To make it easy on yourself, simply stay as high as possible on the ridge. Once back to Shavano, its all the same as the way you came up.

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Overall rating: 

Tough hike but worth it

This hike is beautiful and brutal at a few stretches. The beauty: you go through some cool terrain changes, there are great forests, valley overlooks, and you’ll have to scramble some rock fields. The brutal: there is a ridge above tree line that is a virtual wind tunnel. The day a friend and I hiked, it was killer! Cold and mean! All worth it in the end though. View from the top of Shavano is stunning.


The USGS marker at the top of Shavano is just a PVC pipe with stickers chained to a rock unless I never found it. The views from the saddle are impressive and mountain goats were seen running across. We also spotted a Marmut as the storms rolled over the saddle and poured down on Salida. This was my first Collegiate Peak and I would like to return to try another.

Super Fun Hike

This was the first mountain I ever hiked and I had a blast! It is absolutely beautiful even though it was hailing super hard on the way down. The view from the topics definitely worth a look.

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