After hiking the Simpson-Reed Discovery Trail, we stopped at nearby trailhead for another redwood hike in northern Jedediah Smith State Park: the Leiffer-Ellsworth Loop Trails.
The Leiffer-Ellsworth Loop Trails are a combination of two loop trails right next to each other: the 0.7 mile Leiffer Loop Trail and the 0.2 mile Ellsworth Loop Trail.
Our hike started in old-growth lowlands and slowly climbed a couple hundred feet up the hillside to views of the redwood forest and parts of the 19th-century Crescent City Plank Road.
More than a century ago, supplies were hauled inland from Crescent City on the Crescent City Plank Road, a wagon road made of redwood planks.
The trail then descended into a canyon. As we walked the quiet trail, tall coast redwoods provided a shady cover over maple trees, hemlock trees, tanoak trees, California hazel trees, and lots of beautiful ferns. We visited during the summer, so there weren’t a lot of flowers, but during the spring, clintonia, western burning bush, thimbleberry, red huckleberry, and western trillium color the trail.
We really liked this peaceful walk. It’s slightly off the beaten path, away from the crowds, and benches carved out of old fallen Redwoods line the trail. They’re perfect for taking a break to relax and take in the majestic forest views.
Leiffer-Ellsworth Loop Trail Access
To access the two loop trails, we had to walk/hike a two connector trail that connects the loops to Walker Road. There are two different connector trails: a southern trail through a young redwood grove and a northern trail that begins further down Walker Road off a side road. These trails do increase the total hiking distance, but it’s pretty flat and not really a big deal.
Know Before You Go
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is located 9.0 miles east of Crescent City on Highway 199 in Redwood National and State Parks in Del Norte County.
- The trailhead for the Leiffer Loop Trail or the longer Leiffer-Ellsworth Loop Trail is right next to the trailhead for the Simpson-Reed Trail off Walker Road, just 0.5 miles from the Highway 199 junction in the Walker Road Day Use Area.
- The 10,000 acre park and campground are open year-round. Day use areas are open from sunrise to sunset.
- Download the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Brochure.
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods Campground has 87 family campsites, with some able to accommodate trailers or motor homes up to 36 feet. It also four ADA accessible cabins for rent. The cabins have electricity, heaters, an outdoor barbecue, and two twin over double bunk beds. There is no kitchen, bathroom, mattresses, or bedding.
- Summer temperatures are 45-85 degrees and winter temperatures range from 30-60 degrees. From November through May, rainfall can reach up to 100 inches.
- Dogs must be on a leash no more than six feet long and must be confined to a tent or vehicle at night. Except for service animals, pets are not allowed on trails.
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods state parks joined with Redwood National Park to form Redwood National and State Parks in 1994. Today, the four parks’ combined 133,000 acres contain 45 percent of California’s old growth redwood forest. They have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and form a portion of the protected California Coast Ranges Biosphere Reserve.
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah-Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods are the only parks in the California State Parks system that accept the Federal Access Pass discount.