Sleeping Giant State Park

The Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, CT is a gorgeous state park that offers miles of hiking trails and spectacular views. This park features a scenic vista lookout tower, picnic areas, youth group camping, and stream fishing.

This park is a short bus ride from downtown New Haven and it’s directly across the street from Quinnipiac College so it can be quite busy at times. But once you hike a few trails away from the crowds things will quiet down. Read this!


Two miles of mountaintop resembling a large man lying in repose, the Sleeping Giant gives this park its name and distinguishes it from south central Connecticut’s skyline. Located eight miles north of New Haven, the park offers miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and a stone observation tower.

As early as the 1800s, cottages began appearing on the ridges of the Giant. Judge Willis Cook built a cottage on the portion of the ridge that bears the giant’s head, and it became a popular destination for local residents. By 1911, however, the damage from vandalism had become so severe that Cook decided to lease the ridge to a quarrying company.

Locals protested the noise and destruction of the quarrying, and in 1924, they formed the Sleeping Giant Park Association. This group successfully raised enough money to purchase the land and end quarrying. They also stopped proposals for oil pipelines and telephone lines. Donations are still welcome to this organization, which continues to preserve the Park for the enjoyment of all New Englanders.

Hiking Trails

The park is crisscrossed with many different trails. The most popular trail is the Tower Trail which winds up in a series of switchbacks to the stone tower and provides wonderful panoramic views. The park also has a number of other great hiking trails that offer views of the surrounding area and can be very rewarding.

Hiking at Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden CT is a wonderful experience. The hike to the top can be quite a challenge for some people but the scenery is worth the effort. You will be able to see the skyline of New Haven and Long Island Sound on a clear day.

The trail to the top is steep but well-maintained and you will be rewarded with great views. It is a great place to take a picnic as there are lots of nice green areas above the parking lot. The park also has some cliffs that rock climbers love. More places to also visit by clicking here.


The park offers picnicking, hiking and nature trails, and the popular lookout tower. The park is also a designated Trout Park and stream fishing is allowed in the abutting Mill River.

Hiking is the best way to explore the two miles of mountaintop resembling a sleeping giant that gives this state park its name. The park has over 20 scenic hiking trails, many of which are easy. The 3.2-mile tower trail is a favorite and offers sweeping views from the top of Mount Carmel.

There are also numerous rock climbing opportunities at Sleeping Giant and the park is home to a number of other fun activities like orienteering, snowshoeing, and horseback riding. The park is also home to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum on the campus of Quinnipiac University which tells the story of the Irish Famine of 1845-1852 that killed about 1 million people.

Camping is not permitted at the state park but there are nearby private campgrounds that offer RV sites with hookups. Another option is to stay in a Vrbo vacation rental near Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden CT that has plenty of space for your family and friends and pets.

Getting There

There is a lot to do at Sleeping Giant State Park and it’s easily accessible for most. It’s just a short bus ride from downtown New Haven and it’s right across from Quinnipiac University which means it’s a popular spot with students on field trips.

The two-mile mountaintop resembling the large man lying in repose that gives this park its name is a favorite attraction for hikers, rock climbers, picnickers, and horseback riders. Trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also available. Fishing is permitted in the abutting Mill River.

The park’s stone observation tower on the summit of Mount Carmel was built between 1936 and 1939. It is one of the highest points in Connecticut and is a good vantage point from which to see the city skyline of New Haven on a clear day. The tower is a National Historic Landmark. There are several different trails to the summit and the second floor has a number of observation windows. Check out this webpage.


Driving directions from The Powerwashing Kings to Sleeping Giant State Park

Driving directions from Sleeping Giant State Park to East Rock Park