LA's Memorial to MLK

Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tree Grove in LA

Woman at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tree Grove in LA

The 400-acre Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is an urban respite born out of a flood in 1963, when the Baldwin Hills Dam broke, tragically leaving land destroyed and lives lost. It was later transformed into a beautiful park, home to trails among landscaped lawns, picnic areas, and—at the park’s highest point, overlooking LA’s skyline—the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tree Grove.

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Take a short walk up to it from the park’s main entrance. On the way, enjoy wide-open views all the way out to the ocean. Head south, passing a wide, grassy area favored by Frisbee players, and walking up to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, backed by the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance.

Woman standing at the obelisk at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tree Grove

Downtown LA beams below. The memorial features an obelisk dedicated in 2018 in honor of Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington, where the civil rights leader gave his historic speech, “I Have a Dream.” An excerpt from this speech is inscribed on the obelisk, and several other MLK quotes are etched on large stones surrounding its footpath, where you can also find benches. Backtrack a bit to the vendor area, where you can stop for a snack, and return the way you came.

Woman looking at the Park to Playa map at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Tip: For those who want to do a big day hike, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tree Grove is also a highlight on the 13-mile Park to Playa Trail.

From Downtown Los Angeles, take the I-10 West to the 110 South to the 10 West and Exit Washington Blvd. Dog-friendly!

Story and photos by Breonna Carter, @mountainsquake.

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