NOTE: These are the observations of a 17x Giant Master who is slow and steady but not necessarily in top shape. You’ll need to make your own determinations on difficulty. This is but a snapshot by one person.
10% grade for the first ¾, then somewhat rolling. Total: 1.6 miles
Both sections have challenging bits, but it’s not so much rocky as a couple of down hill sections that are steep and you need to watch your footing.
Traveling West (main entrance) to East (Chestnut Lane)
Please see the Giant Master Map for reference to trail sections.
Mostly easy with rises and dips, but not rocky. The biggest challenge of Yellow is between the Red Triangle and the Yellow/Green Connector in section IV. It’s quite steep and gravelly.. My personal recommendation would be to go West to East because heading East to West you need to go DOWN the steep slope.
Section II is a gentle rise until you get to the talus slop – that is steep with tricky footing. I would recommend heading UP it.
Section III is rocky towards the Chest. The ‘advantage’ here is that the owner of the cabin that used to be on the Chest had stairs built. While some have eroded, it makes the climb comfortable.
The section after where White crosses Orange is a very steep and gravelly slope. After the first time, I always looped down Orange and onto the Red Triangle to go UP that small section. It did mean retracing steps, but it was worth it.
White from the Red Triangle IS rocky, there’s a climb (not a slope) just past the Red Triangle, then relatively easy until the down slope towards the Red Circle.
From the Red Circle there is a CLIMB. It looks daunting from the base of the “cliff”, but there are places to grab on and step up. The view from the top is lovely. Coming down the Right Knee is a bit steep and gravelly. Once you cross the Orange and on to Hezekiah’s Knob the trail is up and down and fairly rocky.
Once you climb Hezekiah’s Knob it’s mostly downhill, but not particularly steep. You will come to a spot where you will walk across open rock and footing is tricky. Folks have created a little by-pass, but the REAL trail is over the contact surface. (Surface resembles a crumpled paper bag, where molten lava reached the surface and cooled – IF I’m remembering my geology.) Once you cross the Y/G x-over (IV) you are “home free.”
Orange II covers loose gravel slopes and a rocky stream bed.
Orange III – once you cross the Tower Path, it’s a steep but lovey climb. Some loose rocky spots at the beginning of the climb, but a wonderful view as you skirt the ridge. There is a gravelly downslope just after it crosses White.
I’m trying to picture Orange IV and I’m not remembering clearly. There is a section that is relatively flat but with tricky footing because of a rocky jumble. There are ups and downs, but nothing too challenging that I recall.
Section V, if I’m remembering correctly, is flat, with maybe a couple of short rises.
Section VI has a couple of rocky downslopes and then passes through an often very swampy area before sloping rather gently to Chestnut Lane.
Begins on the Chest and there are some ups and downs until you reach the Red Triangle. After that there is some tricky footing through a rock “field” – after that is pretty easy going, though apt to be swampy in the eastern sections.
Section I – the section between the river and Whitney Avenue (Route 10) is mostly flat with one up and down.
Section II – as you leave the Red Diamond, the Blue is up a very steep rise with much loose dirt. This is ‘the dumpling’. The top of the Dumpling is flat and then you have a steep and very tricky drop. Going the other way does not decrease the difficulty. Going up the steep rocky ‘cliff’ is tough, but doing down towards the Diamond is very tricky, as the slope is deep and the dirt loose. It is possibly the most difficult part of the trail.
Section II continues then up the back of the Head, steep and daunting seeming, it’s really not as bad as it looks. Just be careful. Coming down the back of the Head is steep and tricky, once down onto the slope, it’s relatively easy going.
Sections III, IV, V, and most of VI are rocky, tricky, steep – sections very doable, but done with caution. Once you come off Hezekiah’s Knob, the path is relatively challenge free.
Section VII has some ups and downs, but not really tricky. At the end the trail goes down to Hartford Turnpike and if your plans are to do a turn-around, the trail back up the slope is a steep climb, but not rocky or tricky.
Section I is rocky and tricky.
Section II, III, IV are clear and gently rolling for the most part, although there is a bit of a climb out of the quarry.
Section V has a couple of tricky ‘scrambles’ and a fairly steep down-slope before leveling off to gently rolling through section VI.
Yellow/Green Connector IV – headed South to North – moderate climb, some loose rocks to the crest – on the down-slope to Green it is a woodland path with a slight downgrade.
Yellow/Green Connector VI – rolling
Blue/White Connector – I can’t think of anything too challenging.
Blue/Violet Connector – rocky slope – gradual rise.
Diamond, Hexagon, Triangle, Circle, Square
The Reds traverse the Giant up and over – all trails have steep sections – some are rocky and have uneven footing.