Shavano/Tabeguache Trailhead


Road Difficulty

2WD, rough dirt road 2   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD dirt to the TH.

Driving Directions

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.

Winter Access

Usually closed many miles below the TH.
Status Updates 
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: With the exception of a patch of ice on the road approx 1 mile before the TH, the road is dry. I never took the truck out of 2wd.
Posted By: kayleenann8
Info: Some ice and thin patches of snow to TH. TH covered in dusting of snow. Subaru Outback easily made it.
Posted By: bond22
Info: Some patches of thin snow dispersed throughout.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: Dry and summerlike.
Posted By: rod4president
Info: Completely dry to TH. Washout is easily avoidable. 2WD friendly.
Posted By: Kcmartinez22
Info: Bone dry all the way to TH. The washout spot mentioned in other reports takes a little care, but is totally manageable. Just be on the look out when heading up the road in the dark. Any 2 WD could make it up this road, though it would be rather bumpy. Very easy drive.
Posted By: RockyMountainMustang
Info: Cleared it in a Taurus just fine. Did take about an hour to get to the TH from the turn-off. Slow and rocky. The worst bits are a bit steeper of a hill with a wash out. Hit it on the right, and just chug up it slowly. It’s rocky. Otherwise, 2 big pot holes. I think one would have high-centered my car, but fortunately, there’s a wee track to the left to by-pass it. If it’s at all wet, once you are off the first pot hole and onto this by-pass, give it some gas to avoid losing traction on the wet grass. The road improves as it goes on, minus these two wheel-eating potholes. Watch for them on the way down to remember to take the by-pass.
Posted By: kayleenann8
Info: Ditto to previous reports. Road is still dry and clear.
Posted By: lzinsmaster11
Info: Drive to the TH is about 6 miles on rough dirt road. CR250 is pretty rough but you could get there in a 2WD vehicle although I wouldn’t recommend it for your tires. Once you veer left onto the forest road for the last 2.9 miles it’s a lot smoother but still rough at times. Lots of parking available.
Posted By: dwoodward13
Info: I’d agree with the previous poster. 250 is really rough but no clearance issues in a passenger car. The only slightly more concerning part was going up a hill and having a slight stream path running down the middle that required a more careful line in my car.

252 was slightly better. One spot that had a big hole next to a tree that required more careful line choice as to not scrape.

Overall any car can make it, but it will be a rough, slow ride for passenger cars.
Posted By: millerm277
Info: Drove it today in a crappy Kia Rio. At no point did I have any concerns about bottoming out the car or getting stuck.

However, the roads are rough.

Most of FS250 is small rocks sticking up an inch or two, sort of like a terrible cobblestone street. There’s a hill around the midpoint that will take a little weaving.

FS252 is overall better, but has some washboard sections and there’s a pothole at it’s midpoint that was the only thing I stopped for to assess if I was lined up well enough.

Expect to be perfectly fine with just about any standard FWD car, but expect it to take 45min to go that 8 miles of dirt road from where the asphalt stops. Presumably, something with a little better suspension would be able to go a little faster.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Took my stock Subaru Legacy to the TH. A few rocks and potholes to be weary of but with good maneuvering you should be set. It’s a long dirt road, though. Big TH lot, no camping or campfires in the main area but dispersed camping available past the main lot. Vault toilet is a bit nasty, but it’s there.
Posted By: connorhodes
Info: Road is bumpy at the start but not bad. One bad pothole that took a couple attempts but that was after a big rainstorm. Shouldn’t be a problem if it’s dry.
Posted By: AcornMan
Info: The road to the trailhead is bumpy and has a couple sketchy spots that require more care, but otherwise it’s an easy drive. It was a cinch in my Subaru Outback - not much worse than a lot of the roads in Denver (I wish I were joking). I would imagine just about any 2WD vehicle would be fine as long as you take your time on the rough spots. The dispersed camping spots just beyond the trailhead are nice. The vault toilet at the trailhead, however, is not. I’d rather just go in the woods than endure that nasty place.
Posted By: fireguyCO
Info: Road is clear all the way to the TH. Road of course is a bit rocky and there’s one or two big potholes that are avoidable. I saw several 2WD vehicles up there at the main parking area.
Posted By: alpinesnowdevil
Info: The road was clear all the way up to the TH! Got all the way in my Kia Forte with no problems.
Posted By: CheapCigarMan
Info: Road is open all the way to the trailhead. Thanks to a gentleman that shoveled out a 2 - 3 feet snow drift. That was no easy task.
Posted By: alpinesnowdevil
Info: CR250 is snowed in about 2- 2.5 miles before hitting the Y junction connecting to FR 252. This leaves about 5 miles of impassible road to get to the trail-head (unless perhaps you had a high clearance huge tire off-road jeep or snowmobile). At the Y junction where CR250 splits into FR 252, there is absolutely no tracks or broken path to get to the TH. Take caution when driving on CR250, our Jeep Liberty got stuck in the snow and we had to dig it out. Navigation without a GPS to the TH would be difficult.
Posted By: Curt Brass
Info: road is dry and very rough. I did see a Chevy Cruze up there so with care you can drive a low clearance vehicle up to the trailhead.
Posted By: Tornadoman
Info: Made it to the trailhead in a Toyota Corolla. Used the directions from this site... the 1st mile of CR 250 is paved, after that expect a fairly rocky dirt road for the next 3 miles. Slow going in a low clearance 2wd and was careful with picking my spots a few times. After the ’Y’ junction the road was actually smoother the remainder of the way to the trailhead with just a few rocky spots or water bars that needed to be taken slowly.
Posted By: mrickers
Info: Open and dry to the TH.
Posted By: wyyld
Info: Trailhead road is clearing up nicely. There is a large accumulation of ice|snow soon after you take the left path to CR 252 which blocks the road. A very adventurous red Toyota Camry was parked there at the block today. Trailhead has a bit of snow from the last front that moved through and patches here and there on the mountain. I saw the remnants of tracks from some type of 4wd vehicle that weren’t very old. So someone was driving around up there. Lots of foot tracks headed up the trail but I didn’t go far down it.
Posted By: KansanClimber
Info: Snow drift blocking road 2.45 miles from summer TH. Not drivable as the entire road is drifted, with the deep side probably over 4’ of snow. One other section that would pose difficulties about a mile from the TH. Otherwise, road is mostly snow free.
Posted By: jmark
Info: Trail is well-marked from Rt. 285 and accessible for low-clearance vehicles.
Posted By: Sugar Madison
Info: Road is fine to trailhead. Totally dry and passable by any car... got my minivan there w/o any issues.

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