History of this Famous Mountain
From the New Haven Harbor the outstanding landmark on the skyline to the north is the silhouette of the Sleeping Giant lying on his back, feet to the East, head to the West and his prominent rocky chin thrust upward to the sky.
One wonders if he opened a questioning eye when Theophilus Eaton in 1638, for eleven bolts of cloth and a coat, purchased 130 square miles (including the Giant) from chief Montowese of the Mattabeseck Tribe.
One Indian legend tells how a spell of eternal sleep was cast on the spirit Hobbamock because he had diverted the waters of the Connecticut River. Another recounts how an ancient chief ate so many oysters he was overcome with drowsiness, from which he never recovered. Interwoven with the legends was evidence that the Giant of old was honored by the Indians as the abode of the spirits of their race.
Whichever story you subscribe to, the slumbering old man has a very definite living personality, which those who scramble over him or picnic in the shadow of his protective bulk, soon come to love.
Here you will find distant views from rocky crags, remote quiet woods, pleasant pine groves, and mountain streams with tumbling waterfalls ... many sports both restful and challenging. Explore the Sleeping Giant to discover for yourself what a wondreful old fellow he really is.
Overview of trails
This is one of the most picturesque locations in southern Connecticut. Connecticut is not known for it's mountain peaks, however, this particular location is known for it's views, and over 30 miles of trails summitting in two popular destinations.
The first destination is the Head of the Giant. This summit point is at an elevation of 670'. You can easily reach this peak within a mile to mile and a half. There are several methods of reaching this summit trail (known as the blue trail) however this is the only labeled path to the top. The blue trail is ranked as the most difficult trail. The trails leading up to this blue trail vary in difficulty.
The second most popular destination is the tower. This can be reached by continuing on the Blue trail for the most difficult route, or it can be reached using the Tower Trail which is the easiest route on the mountain. This trail is 1.6 miles and is wide enough for a jogging stroller in both directions.
When compared to the peaks of the west, this is considered an easy hiking location, however, one of the most enjoyable in the area. On a clear day, you can see the Long Island Sound.
Trail Map can be found at http://www.sgpa.org/trailmap.pdf
Trail Guide can be found at http://www.sgpa.org/trailgd.pdf
It is located largely in the town of Hamden, on Mt. Carmel Avenue which runs between Hartford Turnpike in North Haven and Whitney Avenue (Route 10) in Hamden. From I-91 take exit 10 which is Route 40 which will drop you off on Whitney Avenue. The park is just a few miles north on Rt. 10.
Map can be found at http://www.sgpa.org/sgloc.pdf
There are no fees to speak of, and dogs are allowed on leases. Cutting or marking trees, picking or gathering shrubs or flowers would , of course, detract from the old mountain's natural beauty and is therefore prohibited. No fires are allowed anywhere in the Park except in the picnic and camping areas.
Tables, fireplaces, water, restrooms and a shelter for rainy day comfort are available for picknicking.
When To Climb
Fall is the most beautiful. The view of the fall colors is incredible. Any season is great though. The winter will provide you with wonderful snow filled vistas.
There is no camping on the mountain or even near it. This is just a day destination.