According to legend, Sleeping Giant Mountain, which features the distinct anthropomorphic features of a “head” “chest” and “feet” along its ridges visible from across Connecticut, was formed when the spirit Hobbomock, diverted the Connecticut River from the Quinnipiac people.
As the Native American creation story goes, eight miles north of New Haven, an evil spirit sleeps, frozen in basalt rock. According to legend, Sleeping Giant Mountain, which features the distinct anthropomorphic features of a “head” “chest” and “feet” along its ridges visible from across Connecticut, was formed when the spirit Hobbomock, diverted the Connecticut River from the Quinnipiac people. As punishment, a good spirit sentenced him to an eternal slumber beneath the traprock.
What Makes It Great
The Blue Trail, which includes a few steep climbs, one of which involves somewhat of a scramble along the mountain’s face, is by far the most rewarding. Bring water and head west from the parking lot toward the Blue trailhead and the sleeping giant’s “head”. The path leads you along a few switchbacks past remnants of what once was a booming quarry industry in the late 19th century. When you emerge from the thicket, the mountain's ragged face will leave you breathless as you climb up the basalt formations. Don’t worry though, the course flattens at the top for spectacular views of Quinnipiac’s campus among floating hawks and other wildlife. You’ll cross the gravel Tower Trail a total of two times until you cut up to the castle-like stone tower.
For a less grueling alternative route to the Blue trail ascent up the face, begin your trek with the Purple trail which winds along the verdant Mill River. About 25 minutes in, it connects with the Blue Trail at the aforementioned scramble. It’s a less-challenging start and affords the same views.
Who is Going to Love It
Today, Sleeping Giant State Park, which is operated by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, offers up to 40 miles of trails through a dense, deciduous forest of Chestnut Oak, Eastern Red Cedar and Hickory. Though the most popular trail for families is the gravel “Tower Trail” which leads—as its name suggests—to a stone tower at one of the mountain’s highest points, there are a few more interesting ways to reach the summit for more skilled hikers.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the tower, take the White Trail for a nice cool down stroll back to the car. A quick tip for those explorers who find themselves off course: the Red Trail (indicated with a red triangle) points North/ South. Heading south will spit you out toward Mount Carmel Avenue, the main road that leads to the parking lot located across the street from Quinnipiac University. After your hike, head to the Glenwood Drive-In about five minutes south for a well-deserved burgers and fries experience.