The Orrin Porter Rockwell Trail


Orrin Porter Rockwell's Trail runs between Pioneer Avenue in Sandy and Minuteman Drive at Point of the Mountain. The paved trail follows an abandoned rail corridor through the suburbs south of Salt Lake City and provide an important link for neighborhoods, schools, businesses, shopping and recreation.

There is one short break in the trail between E 12300 S and Park Road. Heading southbound, the trail picks up again at Park Road at Draper City Park (behind the library). Use Pioneer Road (E 12400 S) and S 970 E to link the disjointed

Parking and Trail Access

From north to south, park at the train station lot between E 8800 S and E 8960 S; at the South Towne Exposition Center (9575 South State St. restrictions may apply); at Dewey Bluth Park (Sego Lily Dr @ 115 E); at Sandy City Dog Park (300 East 9980 South St.); or at Draper City Park (12500 South 1300 East).

Background & History

Rockwell was born on June 28, 1813 in Belchertown, Hampshire County, Massachusetts to Orin and Sarah Rockwell, neighbors to the Joseph Smith family.

Rockwell was eight years younger than Joseph Smith. When Smith was publishing the Book of Mormon, Rockwell would work by picking berries at night and hauling wood into town in order to help pay for the publishing.

At 16 years old, Rockwell was baptized into Church of Christ (original name of the church founded by Smith) in Fayette, western New York, on April 6, 1830, the day the church was organized; it is most likely that Rockwell was the youngest member of the first group to be baptized into the church. He married Luana Beebe on February 2, 1832 in Jackson County, Missouri, and was endowed in the Nauvoo Temple on January 5, 1846. He served as a loyal personal bodyguard to both Smith and later Brigham Young. Separating fact from legends, folklore and myths concerning Rockwell is difficult for historians, in large part because Rockwell was only semi-literate and kept no personal diary.

Rockwell had the distinction of being the subject of a direct prophecy by Smith. After spending eight months in jail on charges of attempting to assassinate former Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs, Rockwell traveled to Nauvoo, where he appeared unannounced at a Christmas party at Smith's home. When his identity was confirmed, Smith was moved to say, "I prophesy, in the name of the Lord, that you — Orrin Porter Rockwell — so long as ye shall remain loyal and true to thy faith, need fear no enemy. Cut not thy hair and no bullet or blade can harm thee."[6] The promise echoes that given by an angel to the parents of the Biblical Samson.

He did at one time cut his hair. Upon hearing of a widow who was balding from typhoid fever, he gave up his famous long hair to make the woman a wig. The recipient of the hair was Agnes Coolbrith Smith Pickett, widow of Smith's brother, Don Carlos, and mother of Ina Coolbrith, who grew up to be Poet Laureate of California.

He was also reputed to have killed many men as a gunfighter, as a religious enforcer, and Deputy United States Marshal. It is said that Rockwell once told a crowd listening to United States Vice President Schuyler Colfax in 1869, "I never killed anyone who didn't need killing".

Rockwell had four wives but was never a polygamist.

"But he [Porter Rockwell] was that most terrible instrument that can be handled by fanaticism; a powerful physical nature welded to a mind of very narrow perceptions, intense convictions, and changeless tenacity. In his build he was a gladiator; in his humor a Yankee lumberman; in his memory a Bourbon; in his vengeance an Indian. A strange mixture, only to be found on the American Continent."

"Have gun, will travel."

Download the Orrin Porter Rockwell Application


Award Requirements


A. Travel the Trail Using One or More of the Choices Below
1. Hike 7 Miles
2.Cycle 15 Miles or Mountain Bike 10 miles
B.Visit an Interpretive Center or Historic Marker
* The Orrin Porter Rockwell Trail award was designed so that people of all ages and abilities could achieve the award. As a result, the overnight stay is not a requirement for this medal.