Connecticut is known for its beautiful hiking trails and state parks. I am an avid hiker and feel such a strong sense of self when immersed in nature and exploring the great outdoors. Give me some wildlife over a mall any day! Although I have experienced some really beautiful hikes in CT, something about Sleeping Giant State Park in CT always keeps me coming back for more! Designated in 1924 as a state park, Sleeping Giant State Park, located in Hamden, CT is definitely my favorite short hike in Connecticut. As an experienced hiker, I generally enjoy a challenging and adventurous hike to the peak (the blue trail), and an easier, more peaceful trek (the gravel path) back to the car.
When I hike Sleeping Giant, I always start on the blue trail, which is deemed the most difficult trail on the mountain. The blue trail is full of steep climbs with breathtaking cliff views of Quinnipiac University, New Haven and Long Island Sound. If you seek challenge, adventure, and the feeling that you earned the views around you, take the blue trail. The blue trail leads to the tower and will give you a sense of accomplishment as you gaze at the Long Island Sound and welcome the gentle, cool breeze. Bring a snack, plenty of water and love your day!
But the blue trail is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for a nice stroll along a gradual incline, take the gravel path to the castle. This hike is just as enjoyable and you will still feel as though you are earning your way to the castle, just without sweating as much in the process. The gravel path is great if you have pets or children tagging along. I have seen some families pushing strollers, but make sure you have someone to switch on and off with because it is about a mile and a half long. The gravel path is always packed with families with children, pets or couples just wanting to get out and enjoy nature.
Beyond the blue trail and the gravel path, there are plenty of other trails which are just as much fun and keep your hikes interesting. Grab a trail map from the attendant before you park for a seamless trip and always remember to pack enough water and snacks- you can never be too prepared, especially if hiking with children or your favorite furry friend.
Near the parking area there are also picnic spots, so leave a blanket, some charcoal and grilling foods in your car to appease your appetite after such a great hike! Or better yet, bring along friends who don’t love hiking as much so they can have the food ready when you get back.
Have you hiked Sleeping Giant before? What keeps you coming back? Comment below 🙂