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 4 miles to a "Y" junction. CR 250 goes right and Forest Road (FR) 252 starts on the left. Stay left on FR 252 and continue 2.9 miles to another small junction near a cattle guard. Cross the cattle guard and drive 0.2 miles to the Shavano+Tabeguache trailhead. The old Blank Cabin trailhead is now closed and gated. The trail starts behind the restroom, travels through the forest, and intersects the Colorado Trail near the old Blank Cabin trailhead.
Photo #1 and Photo #2 show much of the route. From the new Shavano/Tabeguache trailhead, start up the trail (behind the restrooms) and hike approximately 0.1 mile to reach a trail junction. Turn right onto the Colorado Trail and hike along a fence above the old Blank Cabin trailhead - Photo #3. Near the corner of the fence, cross a cattle guard and continue 1/4 mile (Photo #4) to another trail junction - Photo #5. The Colorado Trail continues straight and the Mt. Shavano trail begins to the left. Turn left and continue into the forest on a great trail - Photo #6.
Hike over 3/4 mile up into the forest (Photo #7) to a point where the terrain levels near 10,600'. In this area, pay close attention to the trail because it can be hard to follow. In one area, ascend a small hill and pass a large rock (Photo #8). In early summer, water may be running over the trail here. Continue across a large flat area near 10,700'. Briefly hike parallel to a small stream near 10,800' and cross the stream in another flat area - Photo #10. Near 11,200', and near a talus field, turn right and continue east - Photo #11. Circle around to the north side of the ridge before turning left back to the southwest near 11,800' - Photo #12. Here you are getting close to tree line. At 12,200', the trail (Photo #13) is back on the south side of the ridge where you will eventually hit tree line. Leave the trees and continue west across Shavano's Southeast Slope - Photo #14, Photo #15, Photo #16, Photo #17, Photo #18, Photo #19 and Photo #20. In the distance, you can see where the trail hits a large saddle directly south of the summit. Photo #21 is a look back at the traverse across the slope.
Follow the trail up to 13,400' on the saddle where you can see the summit to the north - Photo #22 and Photo #23. Cross the large saddle and climb up final 700 feet to the summit - Photo #24 and Photo #25. The rock is mostly stable and you may find several trail segments on this final pitch. Just below the summit, there are several areas on the left edge where you can look down into McCoy creek. Taken just below the summit, Photo #26 looks down on the upper pitch below the summit, and Photo #27 looks southwest. Photo #28 shows the terrain just below the summit, and Photo #29 plus Photo #30 were taken on top.
When the road is dry, most passenger cars can drive all the way to the trailhead.
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