There’s no sleeping at Sleeping Giant State Park as a misstep on the Blue Trail could be fatal.
The steep rock climb of an ascent is worth it for the views of the town of Hamden below. Meander your way up and down as hawks soar nearby. Follow the trail markers from blue to violet as you loop your way around the park for a total of 4.4 miles and more than 1000 feet in elevation gain.
Get Ready: Sleeping Giant State Park is located in Hamden Connecticut which is near New Haven. This trail is moderate to hard so be sure to pack enough water for you and any four legged hiking buddy you might have. There are picnic tables for and sturdy rocks with views for a mid-hike lunch or snack. However there are plenty of yummy options in town too.
Get Set: Head towards New Haven. If you’re on the coast that means hopping
on I-95. Sleeping Giant State Park is about ten minutes just north of there and across the street from Quinnipiac University. Pull into the lot and park. Here you have an option to start on the violet trail or blue trail first. The blue trail is a tough ascent but even harder descent. The violet trail will warm you up slowly for what’s to come – whatever floats your boat. Both trails begin to the left of the main parking lot and past the bathrooms. It does not start at the Tower Trail.
Go: If you’ve read our review for Breakneck Ridge – this hike’s rock climb is just as, if not more, steep.
Get ready to crawl like a spider up the rock face of the blue trail.
There’s no doubt, it’s tough, but doable as your mind isn’t focusing on your muscles but rather where your next step will be. Once you’re at the top, take a deep breath and soak in the view. You can see Quinnipiac University below and rolling Connecticut hills for miles. Continue on the blue trail as it wraps back and around the giant’s body. You’ll head into the woods up and down. About two miles in, you’ll see tree markers that switch from blue to purple. Continue on the purple trail. This will loop you along the edge of a cliff for quite some time with views to impress. You’ll head back into the woods and along a river. At this point know you’re almost out of the woods and your four mile journey will be coming to an end soon.
Effort: This is a moderate to hard hike. I have some high energy dogs and this was their reaction to the trek. This hike will take an experienced hiker about 2 hours. I would say give yourself 3 or more hours if you’re a beginner.
Takeaway: I will definitely be doing this hike again. I will say that I started on the violet trail first and looped into the blue trail second. Descending the steep rock scramble was scarier to me than going up it, especially with my dogs. When I go back I’ll hit the blue trail first. Don’t be too scared of the steepness of it all, I saw parents with kids who were doing just fine!