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Sleeping Giant Park. | Submitted.

The Giant offers ideal fall frolic

I love fall. I love the colors, I love the smells, and I love that I can wear my favorite boots again. I love that I can be outside without freezing or sweating, and fall is the ideal time to hike the trails at Sleeping Giant State Park.

Our family has taken advantage of the tower path, a mile and a half climb that boast a nice wide trail, a lovely view, and a good incline for kids and adults alike, a few times this season. We leash up our black lab, pack some water and snacks, and head for the hills, sometimes with friends, sometimes just the five of us.

Sleeping Giant, as all locals know, is named for its shape, because the hills resemble a giant lying down, asleep. Right around where the giant’s left hip would be is a stone tower that offers an amazing panoramic view of New Haven County and Long Island Sound, and is a great place for kids to pretend they are knights and princesses. Since it takes us over an hour to get to the top, due to the vast amount of time spent exploring and rock collecting, my kids are usually starving at the tower, and ready for a bite to eat.

After our little break, and our little snack, we begin the much quicker trip down the hill. We still stop to explore spider webs, “Look at this big one!” or to balance across fallen trees, “Just one more time! Pleeeease?” My four-year-old collects every interesting rock she sees, and places them, gently at first, and eventually cramming them, into my overflowing pockets. When we arrive home she will lovingly wash them, and carry them around for days in a plastic zippered bag, finally forgetting about them so I can return them to the wild.

We stop to chat with other dog owners, allowing our pets to say hello by sniffing each other, which never stops being funny to our children. The main trail is family-friendly, and is easily the most populated trail in the park. For a more isolated or difficult trail, see the trail maps and entrances at the Sleeping Giant Parks Association website (SGPA.org).

There are tired legs, and always some tears from my preschooler who would forever be carried or pushed in stroller if we allowed it, but it is always fun, and it feels great to be outside, enjoying the fall weather with my family and our friends.

Sleeping Giant State Park, 200 Mount Carmel Ave., Hamden, (203) 789-7498 \toll free (866) 287-2757.

Parking fees are in effect weekends and holidays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day and from Sept. 8 through Oct. 31.



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