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Colorado Trails

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.

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.