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.
Click a Frequently Asked Question
to View the Answer…
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.
How does the SGPA membership requirement work? What if my membership lapses?
Simply put, 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 your membership lapses, hikes completed during the lapsed period will not count, but you can renew your membership and pick up where you left off.
How do I correctly log the dates, times, and durations of my hikes?
You must use the Giant Master Log that was sent to you when you registered for the program. Within the log, record the date that you hiked each segment, using MM/DD/YYYY format. You do not need to record the time of day or duration of each hike, just the date. Be sure to include the year, as SGPA needs this information to verify your membership during the challenge, and you may (deliberately or not) take more than one year to complete the challenge.
Can I complete the Giant Master Challenge multiple times?
No. Once you have completed the regular Giant Master Challenge, you receive a Giant Master number, patch, and certificate, and are considered a Giant Master for life. If you are looking for another challenge, start logging your hikes as part of the Advanced Giant Master program.
Do I need a witness to vouch for my hikes? Do people ever falsify log entries?
The Giant Master Program 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, membership status, and let you know if you have missed any sections.
It is possible that some people falsify entries, but the completion of the program is an indication of personal accomplishment. It is not a competition, and falsifying a submission fools no one but yourself.
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.
Do I need to hike trails in a prescribed order or complete a single trail at one time?
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.
You also can hike an entire blazed trail end-to-end or do just a portion of it. If you do choose to do just a portion of a trail, we recommend aligning your hikes with the trail segments identified in the log. For example, if you started at Chestnut lane and hike the Green Trail to the Blue Trail, it is probably worth taking the Green Trail just a bit farther, to its intersection with the Red Square Trail. That way you can check off the entirety of Section VI of the Green Trail, rather than having to go back another time.
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: https://sgpa.org/trails-maps
Can I start my hikes from different locations?
Yes, you can start any given hike from any trailhead across the park. You can also be shuttled between trailheads as a way of avoiding backtracking over already-completed trails. As long as you stay on the trails, you are free to choose your own route.
There is a lengthy spur of the Blue Trail that heads far east towards 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 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.
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/shoes is strongly recommended. 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.
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 can they become a Giant Master?
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.
For example, if you start your ‘spring hikes’ in the spring of 2023 and don’t complete all the trails, you can continue 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.