For those who love the great outdoors, Connecticut offers a wide variety of natural wonders: from its beautiful beaches along Long Island Sound to its rolling green hills that line the landscape of the northwest corner.
And there is no shortage of state parks, forests and open spaces to hike. Perhaps one of the best-known areas in the state for hiking is Sleeping Giant State Park.
Tucked into a corner of Hamden, and directly across the street from Quinnipiac University, the park offers hikers of all ages and abilities some 30 miles of trails, of varying difficulty and terrain, to trek.
Of course, everyone who has hiked along the Mount Carmel mountain — which was given its nickname "Sleeping Giant" because it does, indeed, look like a sleeping man from afar — knows that the real payoff of hiking to the top of the mountain comes from the beautiful 360-degree vista of the valley below when standing atop the stone lookout tower.
The park is open year round, from 8 a.m. to dusk. And is maintained and managed by the state and the Sleeping Giant Park Association.
For a list of upcoming organized hikes at Sleeping Giant, visit the association's calendar here. And for a good pre-trek primer of general hiking tips, check out this of basic do's and don'ts.