Giant Master FAQs

We frequently receive questions about the Giant Master challenge, and have assembled this list of FAQs to help our prospective participants. If your question is not answered below, please reach out to the Giant Master Coordinator.

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General Questions

I completed several trails while the Giant Master Program was on hold. Do I have to redo those hikes?

No you don’t have to hike them again, so long as you were a member while you were hiking. Please register as soon as possible. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with all the information and links needed for the program. Be sure to use the provided excel log when tracking your hikes and submitting your log.

Do I have to log each hike precisely as to date or is an approximation sufficient?

Each hike must be logged by date (month, day, and year). This will provide an accurate record of when you hiked any given trail or portion of it.

Do I need to include time of day or duration of hike?

No, providing time of day or duration of hike is not necessary. Only the date is required.

Do I need to hike trails in a prescribed order?

No, you can hike the trails in whatever order you prefer as long as you eventually complete all sections of all blazed trails in the park and fill in each section of the hiking log.

Do I need to complete a single trail at one time (e.g., finish the Green Trail at one time)

No, you can hike an entire blazed trail end-to-end or just a portion of it. If your hike covers only portions of a trail, we suggest that you keep a separate record of your hikes End-to-End. This is optional but will help you keep track of incomplete sections.

An example:
(01/01/23 ) Main Parking Lot >> Tower (N) >> White (E) >> Green (E) >> Triangle (N) >> Tower(S) >> White(S) >> Parking
In this example, the completed sections would be: White( I )  and Green (III), and you would record these in your Log.
All of the other sections would need to be completed at a later date. You may want to highlight them on your map and plan to complete these sections on your next hike/s.

Alternatively download the mobile-friendly trail map from Avenza – free app on your mobile. You can record your hikes and “fill in” the map as you go. More details available at:

Can I complete a portion of any given trail one day and then complete another portion of that trail a different day?

Yes, any given trail can be completed in sections as long as you eventually complete the entire trail. However if you complete trail sections on multiple days, record only the last day in your submission log .

Do I need to have a witness or some other mechanism of proving that I did a particular hike?

No, the log that you submit is based strictly on the honor system. You are proving to yourself that you can take on this challenge. We will verify your log only for completeness and let you know if you have missed any sections.

That being said, one should always consider both the potential dangers of solo backcountry hiking as well as the pleasures inherent in sharing your on-trail experiences with a companion. There is safety in numbers.

Do people ever falsify log entries?

Undoubtedly yes. But the certificate and the patch are meant as tributes to a personal accomplishment. It is not a competition. So falsifying a log entry fools no one but yourself.

Do I need to start and finish all hikes from a particular location (e.g., the main parking lot)?

No, you can start from any trailhead across the park or even start a particular trail within the park where it intersects with another trail.

Can I be dropped off at a trailhead by car, be picked up by car at a second trailhead, and be driven to a third trailhead? Or, do I have to hike to each starting location?

There is no obligation to start any hike from a particular trailhead and nothing wrong with being dropped off and picked up by car. In fact, some people arrange their hikes that way to avoid having to backtrack over already-completed trails in order to reach other trails. However, hiking across the Giant’s trail system should be fun and every time one travels over a trail, new sights will be revealed.

Do I have to complete a given trail either in a certain period of time or within an allotted number of minutes/hours?

Time constraints only apply to the Advanced Giant Master programs.

Once you embark on the Basic Giant Master program, you may take as much time as you need. Take your time, enjoy the vistas, observe the flora and fauna, and experience all that Giant offers. You may wish to set a target date for completion and create a plan to keep the momentum going, but this is not required.

There is a lengthy spur of the Blue Trail that appears to extend outside the boundaries of the park and appears to end up near Wallingford. Does this trail need to be hiked for the Giant Master program?

Yes, the spur of the Blue Trail that goes out from Chestnut lane to the Hartford Turnpike near Wallingford is within the boundaries of the park. It is Section VII of the Blue trail and must be completed as a part of the program requirements.

Do I have to be a member of the SGPA when I start this program, when I finish, or all throughout?

You must be a member of the SGPA while completing the required hikes and at the time of application for a Giant Master certificate.

If I complete a portion of the hiking trails as an SGPA member, but allow my membership to lapse, can I pick up where I left off if I rejoin or do I have to start from scratch?

Yes, you can pick up where you left off. However, trails hiked while you are not a member of the SGPA will not count toward your certificate.

Upon successful completion of the Giant Master program, do I receive some sort of acknowledgment?

Yes, after we verify your log, you will receive a “Congratulations” email with your Giant Master number and a digital certificate of completion. You will also receive the patch via mail a few days later. The patch can be stuck or sewn onto your cap or backpack, or looks great on “Giant Master” cap, available on our Trading post.

In addition, your name will be added to the list of Giant Masters on the SGPA website and published in our periodical “Giant News”.

When submitting your log, please be sure to enter the name you want displayed on your certificate, as well as the correct email address and mailing address.

Is the Giant Master program open to all SGPA members?

It is open to all SGPA members who are in good enough physical condition to participate in the rigorous physical activity required to hike all of the trails in the park.

Does one have to be a fitness fanatic in order to be able to complete the Giant Master program?

Certainly not. Most people in reasonably good physical condition should be able to hike all of the trails within the park; however, individuals with only limited hiking experience should not tackle the more difficult trails until they have gained some experience on less-rigorous terrain. Hikers should use common sense in recognizing their physical limitations and gain experience in slow and discrete steps…slowly working toward conditioning themselves for the more difficult trails. Moreover, hikers should be mindful of their physical condition and not stress themselves beyond their limitations. Certainly, no one should embark on a Giant Master program if not in good physical condition. If anyone has questions or doubts about his or her physical capacity to participate safely  in such a program, a physician should be consulted prior to beginning.

Is any special equipment needed to complete the Giant Master program?

Seasonally appropriate clothing, including layers that can be removed in colder seasons, is important. A good pair of hiking boots is imperative for safe hiking. While sneakers may suffice for easier trails, they are a poor substitute for hiking boots. A light daypack or backpack will enable you to carry water and snacks, as needed. Water is essential for safe hiking, especially during the warmer months.

If I have hiked the Giant’s trails but have never been a member of the SGPA, am I still eligible for a certificate upon joining the SGPA?

No, you must be a member of the SGPA while hiking the trails.

Is there a best way to cover all of the trails with the least amount of backtracking?

There is no one-best-way to cover all of the trails without any backtracking. You can have someone drop you off and/or pick you up by car at particular trailheads. Many people have said that they get immense enjoyment from sitting at the kitchen table in the evening with the Sleeping Giant trail map to figure out the best way to cover all of the trails with the least amount of backtracking. What you don’t want to happen is to complete all of your hikes, only to discover that you forgot to do one of the crossover trails out in the middle of the park. It may take longer to get back to that point than to hike the actual trail.

Can my pet join while hiking, and will they be issued an additional certificate?

You can take your dog or any other pet along while hiking. However, we will not register pets for the program, nor will we issue them a certificate.

Enjoy the hike with your dog or pet following all the safety guide lines of CT DEEP. Always keep your pet on leash while in the park to ensure the safety of your pet as well as that of other hikers and wildlife.

Advanced Programs Questions

Do I need to complete the basic Giant Master program before embarking on one of the advanced challenges?

Yes. Completing the basic Giant Master program is a prerequisite for participating in any of the advanced challenges. Additionally, please note that hikes counted towards the basic program may NOT be counted towards the advanced programs.

How are the seasons defined for the Four-Season Giant Master?

Seasons may be defined by solstices and equinoxes, or by meteorological seasons (e.g. spring is March, April and May). We just ask that you be consistent when recording hikes in your log, especially if you plan to take more than one year to complete the challenge.

If I pursue a Four-Season Giant Master, do I have to complete the seasons consecutively?

No, you can complete them in whatever order you like.

If I pursue a Four-Season Giant Master, do I have to complete the program in a single year?

The 4-season program is designed to give you as much time as you need. Not only can the program be completed over the course of multiple years, the hikes logged for each season can span multiple years, too.

An example: if start your “spring hikes” in the spring of 2023, but don’t complete all of the trails, you can pick up where you left off in the spring of 2024. As along as all of your spring hikes are logged in the spring season, then you are adhering to the requirements for this challenge.

For the 12-month Giant Master challenge, do the 12 months need to be consecutive? Do they need to be in the same year?

The 12-month challenge requires that all 32 miles of trail be hiked for twelve consecutive months. Those months need to be consecutive, but depending on when you start the challenge, the challenge may span two calendar years. For example, you might start 12-month challenge in June of 2020, and finish it in May of 2021.

Any break in month-to-month continuity means you have the start the entire challenge over again. This is why the 12-month challenge is sometimes considered to be the most difficult of the Giant Master challenges.

I’m thinking about doing the One-Day Giant Master Marathoner. Do you have a suggestion for the best way to cover all of the trails in one day?

The stock answer is that there is no one-best-way to cover all of the trails in one day. Many people decide to hike the more difficult trails first, saving the easier trails for last, when they are tired. According to some of the Giant Master Marathoner records, it can take anywhere from 8 to 16 hours to complete a one-day marathon.

Because of the rigor of this challenge, participants should be in good physical condition, and should undertake this challenge when there are plenty of daylight hours (remember, the park opens at 8am and closes at sunset). Most Marathon attempts occur in the late spring or early fall when there are more hours of daylight, and when the temperatures do not get too hot.