Memory Grove is a park in the heart of Salt Lake City and includes part of City Creek Canyon. It is a beautiful green space in the city that includes memorials for those who lost their lives in the military. It also includes the creek and the Freedom Trail, a woody area where dogs are allowed off-leash.
Memory Grove’s main entrance is on Canyon Road, one block south of the Utah State Capitol Building. The City Creek Canyon area is a lower elevation, so come this way if you need it to be accessible. There is limited parking, so you may need to come from one of the alternate entrances. Since I was there on a weekday afternoon, there was plenty of parking.
Right near the entrance there are nice benches to sit on and a large greenspace.
This is beautiful in all seasons!
There is a tiered fountain that was donated by a former University of Utah professor in the name of his wife, Ethel Zucker.
The first memorial that was built in this park is The Pagoda which is a circular structure made from the same Vermont marble that was used in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. This was built in the 1920s to remember those who served in World War 1. In 1932 the circular urn was added with the names of fallen Utahns from WWI.
Korean War Memorial
Next is the Wall of Honor that bears the names of lost soldiers who served in the Korean War.
Medal of Honor Memorial
There is another plaque that has recipients of the Medal of Honor. This second photo is turning around to look back at the park.
The Meditation Chapel was constructed in 1948. The Beason family’s only son was Missing in Action in World War II. His body was never recovered. His parents wanted to create a memorial not just to their son, but to all who suffered such heart-breaking loss. The names of soldiers lost in action are included.
The next three photos aren’t mine, but are from a KSL News story about the Meditation Chapel. This first one is from the original dedication in July 1948.
In 1999 the Utah Heritage Foundation did a revitalization project on the Mediation Chapel and installed these beautiful glass windows.
145th Field Artillery Monument
This next photo is another view backwards behind into the park. The next memorial commemorates the 145th Field Artillery which was Utah soldiers who fought in World War I.
There is a bridge that spans the creek that was constructed by the Kiwanis Club in 1927.
These are the views in each direction.
Salt Lake Tornado
On August 11, 1999 a rare tornado that tore through Memory Grove, uprooting over 400 mature trees from the area. Here are four photos of the tornado taken from the site Tornado Talk. These first two are of the actual tornado.
These next two photos show the damage from the tornado on the Memory Grove / Capitol Hill area. The clean up effort after the tornado actually made the park a much nicer place, with better lighting and 400 new trees planted.
Freedom Trail Off-Leash Area
Just past the bridge on the right side is the wooded area. Bikes aren’t allowed on this trail, but they are allowed on the road. Dogs are allowed off-leash here.
There are a few sets of stairs that head up to the right to the neighborhoods in the Avenues. If you want to stay on the main path, stay near the creek. Here are some photos of this beautiful natural area.
This off-leash area is called the Freedom Trail and there is a little section with benches and quotes about freedom.
Memory Grove Wildlife
While I was walking I saw some black-capped chickadees and a few squirrels.
I don’t know if this tree was a casualty of the tornado, but it’s a really cool stump.
There are multiple bridges to cross City Creek, so this trail is very adjustable in length.
On the opposite side of City Creek is Canyon Road. This is a semi-private road, so traffic is minimal. There are still great views of City Creek.
On the north side of Canyon Road is the Memorial House, which is a reception center.
When you are nearly back to the entrance of the park there are large stairs that lead up to Capitol Hill. At the top of the stairs, the path winds back and forth.
As you get higher you can look down on Memory Grove and see views of Salt Lake.
Utah State Capitol
This is the view at the top of the stairs. If you wanted to extend your walk you could walk around the Utah State Capitol. It’s especially beautiful in April when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
Memory Grove is a beautiful park, natural area, and set of memorials. It’s great for all ages and pets! It’s a beautiful place for family photos. We took some here in the fall of 2013.
If you are going in the winter, check out this post:
Stats: Distance – 0-2 miles
Approximate hiking time – 15-90 minutes
Elevation gain – 0-174 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – paved and well maintained trail of dirt
Bathrooms – No
Seasons to hike – Year Round
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes
Other trails nearby are Ensign Peak, or the wheelchair-friendly Vista Mound, Living Room Lookout, Miller Park and Bonneville Glen Loop, Utah State Capitol, Little Confluence Nature Trail, Thaynes Canyon / Desolation Loop, and Salt Lake Overlook in Millcreek Canyon.
If you love patriotism, there are large flags hung in different canyons in Utah over the year. In July you can find large flags in Grove Creek Canyon and one in Little Willow Canyon. Over September 11, there is a Healing Field in Sandy and a large one in Provo. There is also a huge flag hung in Coldwater Canyon in North Ogden from November 2-11.