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Leaf Peeping on the Sleeping Giant

We traveled north this weekend for a birthday party. On the way home, we wanted to do some leaf-peeping. So, we stopped off at a Connecticut State Park to take a walk through the woods and enjoy the beautiful colors of Fall.

Our journey to the top of the mountain in Sleeping Giant State Park was a reminder of how little time and money it takes to have a great family experience. It also reminded us that there are some things you have to see with your own eyes and not through a screen.

Sleeping Giant State Park

Our stop at Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Connecticut was almost too spontaneous. We weren’t dressed for a hike up a mountain, and we almost couldn’t pay the cash-only parking fee to get in. (I had 4 dollars in singles in my wallet, and we scrounged the remaining dollar out of the change in the console.)

But, we were determined to do some “leaf-peeping”. The itch to get out of the car had been growing with every minute we were on the highway. There were moments when the road offered a good view of the fall foliage, but it never lasted long enough to appreciate it, nor long enough for the kids to get their faces out of their devices to look.

There were some slight groans and confusion about what we were doing as we got out of the car. Those were quickly replaced by a sense of adventure. Jackson proudly shared every “piece of nature” he found with us.

Both he and Bella found walking sticks for the 1.6 mile hike to the top. Our adventure was underway!

It was a beautiful walk. The trail was easy to navigate, and wide enough for the good number of people we saw using it. The kids loved seeing all the different dogs that owners were walking along the trail, as well.

We saw several of the markers for the more difficult trails that crossed ours. The kids wanted to explore them all, but it was already getting late and we weren’t equipped to tackle the more challenging trails. We needed to keep moving to reach the top.

We did pause here and there to check out the views, and take a few pictures.

The Tower

Before long, we reached our goal, a stone tower that Jackson said looked like Bowser’s Castle. We entered and proceed by way of a ramp up three stories to the top for the best view.

And what a view it was!

The fall foliage wasn’t at its peak yet for this part of Connecticut. There was still more green than any other color. But it’s amazing to think that we drive through this area every year and this was the first time we ever stopped to see this.

We spent a couple of hours and $5 to have this little adventure. And the kids are asking if we can do it again… this time with the right shoes and whatever else we might need to tackle the more difficult trails. Challenge accepted!

Hey, we’re not going totally off the grid. But, you can bet we’ll be looking for ways to get some nature time to offset all the screen time we have in our lives these days. Our local, state, and national parks are a great way to do that.


What are your favorite outdoor activities during the Fall? We’d love to hear your ideas! We might add them to our Fall Bucket List!



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