Donated to the Preservation Trust by Fred and Marilyn Ellises’ heirs at the end of 2017, this 344-acre preserve harbors a cornucopia of treasured island landscapes, including open hay meadows, a large tract of mixed forest with a few old-growth tree specimens, a pond and wetlands, rocky balds, and more than a mile of undeveloped shoreline along Parks and Hix Bays on southwestern Shaw Island.
The public Sylvan Loop Trail can be accessed from the west side of Hoffman Cove Road, approximately 1/8 mile north of the Hix Bay Road intersection. Look for the “Ellis Preserve” sign and small parking area.
The two-mile loop trail is a pedestrian-only path through a peaceful natural area. Please respect and adhere to the following guidelines as you enjoy the preserve:
- Remain on the designated trail at all times
- Day use only; camping and fires are not allowed
- Dogs must be leashed at all times
- Leave nothing/Take nothing
The Sylvan Loop Trail—constructed thanks to generous contributions to SJPT’s Stewardship Fund—allows hikers to experience a variety of forested areas and to view Parks Bay and Tharald Pond from established overlooks. It is a primitive, single-width path with minimal elevation change. A few sections are seasonally wet, others somewhat rocky, and there are several board-walk type water crossings.
Please note: The trail is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Also, after significant storm events, the trail may be closed for a period of time due to flooding and maintenance.
While the Sylvan Loop Trail is now open, the Tharald Homestead area of the Ellis Preserve is accessible by appointment only. To schedule a guided tour of the historic homestead, please contact us. Group size is limited to a maximum of 8, with masking and social distancing protocols required.
Access limitations: Dawn to dusk hours only, Thursday through Monday; no overnight parking or camping. See preserve signage for additional information. No shoreline access is permitted, to protect fragile intertidal habitat. Use of the dock on Parks Bay is reserved for Preservation Trust staff and San Juan County EMS personnel only.
Directions: From the Shaw Ferry Landing, follow Blind Bay Rd. as it curves to the right around Blind Bay. Keep going straight until you come to the intersection of Blind Bay Rd. and Hoffman Cove Rd. (2.3 miles from the ferry landing). Turn left and proceed approximately 0.8 miles on Hoffman Cove Rd. Look for the preserve gate and driveway on the right. (Address for map search: 842 Hoffman Cove Rd.)