Emery County Historical Society Presents History of Rock Canyon Trail

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By Julie Johansen

Wade Allinson was the guest speaker at the Emery County Historical Society meeting on Thursday.

Allinson reported on the history of The Rock Canyon Trail. This trailhead is found between Castle Dale and Clawson, just a few miles off Highway 10. He told of the uniqueness of the trail being that it is just a short climb from the desert to the mountain or a short descent from the mountain to the desert. His presentation included narration and a slide show.

Allinson traced the history of the trail from journals and reports of various early explorers, mountain men and Native American encounters.The earliest information coming from Jedediah Smith in 1826 up to 2013 when this trail was used by the infamous “Mountain Man” Troy James Knapp as reported to law enforcement.

Allinson believes the trail was widely used as it is almost a straight line across from Manti to Rock Canyon and because it is a short climb to a flat top at Wagon Road Ridge. Many of the early explorers used it because it offered shorter access to the Old Spanish Trail and almost a straight line to the reference point of Cedar Mountain. Early settlers of Sanpete used this trial to bring cattle and sheep to graze on the San Rafael Desert and as far away as Robber’s Roost. 

Allinson concluded his report by giving reference to some books he had used for research.

“Some of the evidence is very concrete and some is left to your own conclusion,” he said.

The trail is ATV accessible today.

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