Sleeping Giant State Park - Trail Running

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Sleeping Giant State parks begins with your entrance to the Tower Trail, a 1.6-mile hike, or run that leads you to a stone observation tower at the peak of Mt. Carmel. Things become adventurous the moment you pass the brownish red Tower Trail rules and regulations sign, and you find yourself on with a wide and rocky terrain.

Written by

Stephanie Chang


1.6 miles

The Tower Trail takes roughly 1.6 miles to complete. Sleeping Giant State park also has a variety of trails available to its visitors, for example the Blue Trail and the Quinnipiac Trail. Each trail varies in difficulty.

Destination Distance From Downtown

7.7 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Sleeping Giant State park gets a rating of 3 stars difficulty because of its wide rocky route terrain. Even though the route can be accomplished by beginners, it can be difficult for all types of Hikers and trail runners due to its uneven surface, the sharp fall edges around every corner within its upslope hills, the fact that one has to be attentive and aware of the environment and of visitors of every age and skill.

Time To Complete

1 hours

Sleeping Giant State Park takes a little less than an hour to complete, around 25-30 minutes. This estimate works for both hikers and runners. However, depending on your skill and the obstacles around the route, it can take beginners an hour to accomplish the Tower Trail.


All Seasons

Sleeping Giant State Park is open until sunset year-round. However, it is advised that during the winter seasons visitors approach the trails with caution. The best time to visit Sleeping Giant is in the Summer for its warm climate, and the fall for natures beautiful colors emerging from each tree.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Sleeping Giant State Park is dog friendly, however, each dog must be on a leash at all times. Owners are advised to follow these rules when visiting the park to allow Sleeping Giant State Park to be a safe environment for both pets and people.

Fees Permits


Sleeping Giant State Park is free throughout the weekdays. However, there is a small fee of $4 to $10 dollars during weekends and holidays from Memorial Day Weekend to the end of October.

Topographical Map




            “It is time to awaken the giant, or rather awake the giant in me,” I say as I make my way out of the buzzing sound of cars, buses, and people within the busy city of New Haven, CT. My mind traces the outline of a mountain a little far off into the distance, a mountain that resembles the shape of a giant man lying undisturbed in a deep sleep. Waiting to be awakened. Waiting for me, and you, to inspire up the courage, the mischief, and the adventure to tie up our running shoes and disturb the steep and ridged trails found within, no other than, Sleeping Giant State Park.

What Makes It Great

There are a lot of things that make Sleeping Giant State Park a great and memorable outdoor location for not only locals, but for visitors as well. As you enter the park from Mt. Carmel Avenue, you will automatically be surrounded by a view of trees and a campground that holds a recreation area, picnic tables, and a map station. This will then lead you to the front entrance of the park. And the scenery ahead of you is nothing but a beautiful image of large canopy trees and rocky uphill routes that will surely make your legs sore the next morning. 

            Sleeping Giant State parks begins with your entrance to the Tower Trail, a 1.6-mile hike, or run that leads you to a stone observation tower at the peak of Mt. Carmel. Things become adventurous the moment you pass the brownish red rules and regulations sign that reads, "Tower Trail," almost like a warning sign, but instead of deterring your route, you find yourself wanting to go further within  the wide and rocky terrain. The silence of the city is drowned away by the rustling of trees, the chirping of birds and other small creatures that inhabit the park. But besides these wonderful and distinctive sounds, they are not the most distinctive sounds you will hear as you hike, or run, at Sleeping Giant State park. You will rather be surrounded by the distinctive sounds of mud, stones, and pebbles beneath your feet. It is the very voice of Mother Nature herself pushing you along to continue and finish the obstacles placed in front of you.

            And the obstacles within Sleeping Giant State Park vary and change with each visit and season. The wide rocky route is great for those who love a great trail run, but with an easy and accessible route that clears away the obstacle of trees. But just because the obstacle of trees are not on the main wide rocky roads towards the Tower, it does not mean that the challenge is any less of a thrill. The maneuvering of large boulders, hills, and fallen trees, how you must have an awareness and attentiveness of the sharp edged corners (that are dangerous fall if not careful), and be attentive to your sounding environment of fellow hikers and runners of all ages, adds a great sense of excitement and mental rush to Sleeping Giant State Park.

Who is Going to Love It

 Whether it is your very first hike as a curious child. Or whether you are an elite athlete with advance hiking and trail running skills. At Sleeping Giant State Park, each individual, no matter their different backgrounds and skills, will love and enjoy what it has to offer. Sleeping Giant State Park offers a great community of fellow adventurers and nature seekers like you. Sleeping Giant is for those who are ready to be part of something greater. It is for those who want to accomplish small goals every morning. As a trail runner specifically, Sleeping Giant will make you return multiple times due to its easy access from the city of New Haven.

            The park is great for city dwellers that would want a quick getaway from concrete scenery. Or for those who work long hours and hope for a quick conversation with Mother Nature, but with the convenience of it also being a 20-minute drive. Sleeping Giant is also great for university students who want to find a new adventure among nature.

Sleeping Giant State Park is for those who want to either hike, or run with the trees above them that resemble a sea of emerald green canopies, that protect both from sun rays and wind changes during the each season. For those who run all the way to the top for the glorious view of Outlook Tower, that in many ways is a small reward for your journey up the rocky terrain.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There are multiple ways to access Sleeping Giant State Park, after making a right onto to Mt. Carmel Avenue you will come across Sleeping Giant State Parking lot. Within that area you will see restrooms, a recreation area, a campground, and a map station. If you are a first time visitor to Sleeping Giant State Park it is advisable to obtain a map and familiarize yourself with different route and trail options within the park. Sleeping Giant State park is a great place to take your four legged companions for a hike, however, it is mandatory that you keep your dog on a leash at all times. This secures the safety of both your pet and the fellow visitors around you. In the Summer time the main Tower Trail is popular with camp groups. This can make the trail crowded with visitors during mid-morning. Most mornings and late afternoons at Sleeping Giant is crowed free and the Tower Trail is a silent run or walk up to the top.


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Sleeping Giant State Park

200 Mount Carmel Avenu
New Haven, CT, 06518
41.420695, -72.898729

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