This pointy behemoth towers over Salida and the Arkansas River Valley, topping out at 14,229 feet—it’s a barren, very different world from the lush valley below. Like most climbs in the bulky Sawatch Range, the trek is a long day—9 miles and 4,600 feet of climbing—and that’s if you decide against bagging the neighboring 14er, Tabeguache Peak. The peak is also known for the “Angel of Shavano,” a two-armed stick figure of snow that persists well into summer.
- When the road is dry, passenger cars can make it all the way to the trailhead where you can find restrooms and dispersed camping.
- The snow here melts sooner than many other big mountains in the Sawatch Range, making Shavano a good early-season hike.
- For post-hike libations you can’t go wrong with Elevation Brewing Co., just a few miles away in Poncha Springs. They even have a food truck.
Recommended season(s): Late spring to early fall
—R. Scott Rappold