History buffs will love this easy stroll on the east bench of Salt Lake featuring sculptures and statues highlighting the history of Utah and the Salt Lake Valley. The walk starts at the Visitor’s Center at This Is The Place Heritage Park and visits dozens of monuments and exhibits including This Is The Place Monument The Mormon Battalion Monument and the National Pony Express Monument. This trail is suitable for children and adults of all ages and fitness levels.
This walk begins at the main parking area for This Is The Place Heritage Park on the east bench of Salt Lake City. To reach trailhead from the junction of I-15 and I-80 in Salt Lake City:
- Drive east on I-80 toward Cheyenne for 5.3 miles.
- Take Exit 129 for Foothill Drive/Parley’s Way.
- Drive north on Foothill Drive for 2.9 miles.
- Turn right onto Sunnyside Ave.
- Drive east on Sunnyside Ave for 0.4 miles to the signed junction for This Is The Place Heritage Park on the left.
- Turn left into This Is The Place Heritage Park.
- Drive 0.5 miles to the parking area on the left. (40.75268, -111.81491)
From the parking area, begin walking west toward the Visitor Center. There are several smaller sculptures in and around the main plaza near the Visitor Center. Take your time exploring the exhibits before beginning the walk downhill to the west. Be sure not to miss the Miracle of the Seagulls Monument tucked away just north of the plaza. The massive This Is The Place Monument is located on the south side of the plaza, however you may want to save it for your last stop on the walk back.
Continue on the concrete walkway as it passes by several more sculptures. The path soon forks; turn right and continue to a crosswalk and the site of the next monuments. The Mormon Battalion Monument is the first one you’ll encounter after crossing the street. This fascinating monument features larger than life statues of the Mormon soldiers who marched to San Diego to help the United States in the Mexican War. Plaques near the statues provide insight into the hardships they endured.
Beyond the Mormon Battalion Monument, continue walking down the paved path into the Pony Express Monument. Exhibits tell the story of the Pony Express and what life was like as a rider along the famous route. The trail ends at a small cabin and corral. This is a replica of an original Pony Express relay station. These stations existed to provide support and rested horses to the riders who carried mail on the Pony Express Trail.
When you are done at the Pony Express Monument, begin walking back up the hill toward the Visitor Center and the final monument along the route: This Is The Place Monument. This awe-inspiring monument is full of fine detail so plan on some extra time to take it all in. The monument captures many aspects of Utah’s history including Spanish explorers, Mormon Pioneers, and the Native Americans who first inhabited the area.
- Dogs must be on leash at all times.
- Clean up after pets.
- Pack out all trash.
This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.