Meet Stasia Callaghan, Backpacker's Denver Trail Scout

The writer and hiker shares her favorite local trails—and the one article of clothing she doesn't leave home without.
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stasia callaghan

Follow Stasia's adventures on her I Don't Live in a Van blog and on Instagram @stasiacallaghan.

Age: 26

Hometown: Breckenridge, CO

Day job: I work for a lodging company in Breckenridge and freelance write on the side.

All-time favorite local dayhike: Mt. Evans via the Chicago Lakes Trail. It's a long haul, but the whole hike is gorgeous (lakes, wildflowers, and high-alpine views) and usually not as crowded as other trails in the Mt. Evans area. Plus, if you don't feel like wrecking your knees on the downhill, you can shuttle a car and drive back down to the trailhead from the summit.

Favorite local overnight hike: Willow Lakes in the Gore Range. I'm a sucker for alpine lakes, and this spot has three--along with killer views of Red Peak. Just don't forget the bug spray if you go in early summer!

Best prehike breakfast spot:Two Brothers Cafe in Idaho Springs. I'm a stickler when it comes to eating a good breakfast, and there's no better prehike meal than a hefty breakfast burrito.

Best posthike dinner spot: Arapahoe Cafe in Dillon.

Favorite thing about hiking around Denver:The easy access to the high alpine! Because Colorado is already so high in elevation, you don't have to look far for a hike that sends you above treeline.

Top tip for Denver hikers: Always pack a softshell jacket. It's breathable enough to hike in and will protect you if surprise weather rolls in, which happens all too often in Colorado.