The Shavla River (from Altai "Shaalan" – “sapling”), originates in the glaciers of North-Chuya ridge, at an altitude of over 2,000 meters and empties into the Argut River. Its total length is 58 km. Famous Shavlinsky lake are in basin of the Shavla. Cascade of lakes in the upper adjusts level of flow, Shavla is less prone to flooding rain. Flow slightly increases in the second half of the day due to more intensive melting and decreases at dawn. The water in the river is white muddy. The river flows under the rocks, then comes to the surface in its top 1.5 kilometers, gradually losing altitude. In 1 km it flows into the middle Shavlinskoe Lake at an altitude 2000 meters. The River flows out of northern part of the Lake and sharply losing altitude about 150 meters and crosses the powerful moraine ridge, holding the lake from the north.

From its source the Shavla passes 2 canyons sections. The first 1.5 km long with an average gradient of 80 m / km and after 4 km of relatively calm water - the second, 2 kilometers length with an average gradient of 50 m / km. After the confluence of the Shabaga river, its right tributary, water consumption increases twice. The Shavla is often called the river without reaches: rapids, shivers and plums follow one after the other, separated from each other by conventional chute sections, making for enforced mooring. The most common type of obstacles are rapids, shivers with a large flow rate, the abundance of stones, plums and barrels. The average consumption of water is 16 m³ / s.

The river flows along the picturesque valley, covered with dense forest with diverse flora and fauna. It is rich of fish. After emptying of Eshtykel River, the Shavla becomes fit for white water rafters following to the Argut and further to the Katun River . Level of route difficulty can reach 5 category.