Leiffer and Ellsworth Loops explore a collection of serene redwood groves that are slightly off the beaten track in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. In terms of distance, the trailhead to access the two loops really isn’t too far out of the way; it’s located less than a half-mile past the popular Simpson Reed Grove and Peterson Memorial Trails adjacent to Highway 199. However, that extra half-mile makes a big difference in trimming down the number of visitors and dampening highway traffic noise. Combine less people and no noise with beautiful coast redwoods, and this becomes a great choice for a redwood hike.
Both the larger Lieffer Loop and the smaller Ellsworth Loop are best completed in a single 2-mile hike. The trails are reached by one of two access trails, both connecting to Walker Road. The nearest access trail is found at a small pullout a half-mile down Walker Road on the left hand side.
Take the access trail to connect with Lieffer Loop. Heading clockwise along Leiffer Loop, Ellsworth Loop splits off soon thereafter, forming its own half-mile loop along Leiffer's southern edge. The Ellsworth Loop area is spectacular and receives few visitors. Huge redwoods, an open fern-filled understory, and solitude greet you here. This section of trail climbs a couple hundred feet and affords a slightly elevated perspective on the forest. Rest on one of the commemorative benches and gaze at the canopy towering overhead.
Ellsworth Loop reconnects with the Lieffer Loop at the same junction. Continue clockwise down the Leiffer loop over another small climb, past large redwoods and an understory of maples and tanoaks. Continue back to the access trail of origin, keeping the junction with the other access trail on your left.
The loop trails can also be reached via the other access trail. To reach that trail take Walker Road past the first access trail pullout and take the first left down a narrow road. Park at the pullout, which marks the beginning of the alternate access trail.