Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, CT has more than 25 miles of trails to explore. You can pick whether you want to go for an easy stroll or a strenuous hike. For people that want to take it easy, there is a gravel trail that leads you up to the tower on Mt. Carmel. And for strenuous, there is a trail that leads you to some rock scrambling. On a warm Saturday, I went hiking with my brother to do the most strenuous path: the blue trail. For a better idea of the trails, length and difficulty make sure you check out this map. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also has a map on their website but I prefer the color map above. When we were leaving, a couple stopped us to ask us for recommendations and I handed the map to them. Also, a man that got lost (there are violet, blue, red, orange, yellow and even more trails) stopped us to ask us for directions. I showed him the map and he felt a lot more confident about where he needed to go. You can always print out the map or save it on your phone as a file.
History of Sleeping Giant State Park
The Quinnipiac Native Americans called this area home and the name of the park is seeded in the tribe’s mythology. According to the New Haven Register and many other outlets, Hobbomock, a spiritual giant, prized and respected the land. But once people began to disrespect the land, he grew angry and stomped his feet, which led to a change in the direction of the Connecticut River. Another spirit, in an effort to quell the giant and to stop him from destroying the land, was able put him to sleep but could not kill him. So from a distance, you can see the rock formations take the shape of a giant sleeping.
Violet Trail to the Blue Trail
We started on the violet trail and quickly switched over to the blue trail. The trails are clearly marked and as soon as you hit the blue trail, you start going up. From the first viewpoint you will see the “chin” of the giant.
Once you get down from that ledge, it’s straight back up and that’s where the fun starts. See the photos below to get an idea of the inclination of the more than 700 ft. tall “chin.”
View of the gravel trail from the “chin.”
Whatever goes up, has to come down, but only after snacks.
Continue following the blue markers and eventually the blue trail will cross the gravel trail to get to the tower.
(The photo above was from a hike I did some years ago, which explains the bright hues.)
Once we were done, we decided to come back down on the blue trail, connected to the gravel trail, then the red trail and finished on the violet trail. This may seem really confusing, but I swear it makes more sense if you look at the map. While walking on the red trail is when a man came up to us and told us he had made a wrong turn and wasn’t sure where he was going. Yes, everything is clearly marked but without a map you might make a turn and realize you are no longer on the trail you were originally on. Print the map, save the map! Have it with you just in case.
If you take the violet trail, you will end up at the bottom of the “chin” and realize how high up it is to rock scramble on the blue trail. Afterwards, you’ll pass a quarry, a body of water where people will most likely be fishing, and then the parking lot.
If your car is registered in Connecticut, parking in Sleeping Giant State Park is free. Like always, bring plenty of water, snacks and appropriate footwear. It took us about 3 and a half hours to do this hike with some breaks, taking photos and enjoying the view. For suggestions on gear for beginner hikers, click here!