2/28/2010 2 miles, 1 ¼ hours (maybe only 45 minutes if you don't spend time slipping on the ice)
Sleeping Giant State Park
Sleeping Giant’s trails are marked two ways. The North-South trails are marked with red shapes, the East-West trails are marked with colored blazes painted on the trees. The traprock trails are a little on the rugged side. But these first two are the easy ones, or it looks that way on the map – the Red Diamond trail is level, the Red Hexagon trail looks like it goes around the steep ascents instead of through them. This should be a quick 2 mile hike.
Except for a steep climb as you hike away from the park's main entrance, the Red Diamond trail is just an easy walk through the woods, paved with crushed rock most of the way. Snow and ice are still around, but it’s a nice day – warm and sunny - and there are a lot of people out in the park. One family has their two little dogs in tow – sweater garbed poms stepping carefully through the snow – I’m pretty sure the kids are having more fun than the dogs.
The trail starts at the Mill River downhill from the main parking lot, and takes you up over a rock ledge and down past the old quarry on the park’s west side. There it meets a gravel paved trail along the river and ends at Tuttle Ave. Back-track south to the Red Hexagon trail that climbs up to about 500’, and then works its way back down to Mt. Carmel Ave across from Quinnipiac University. You can take the Yellow Trail back to the parking lot instead of going all the way down to Mt. Carmel Ave.
Remember that snow and ice I mentioned? That makes the climb treacherous as the Hexagon trail makes it way up to the peak. Next time, bring a hiking staff or ski poles – maybe ice cleats. Though rebalancing on the ice with every step up the rocks does make for a pretty good set of core exercises.
On the way back down, the trail joins with the Tower Trail at two points, making the walk back to the parking lot a whole lot easier.