Trimble has received significant awards for photography, non-fiction, and fiction—and the breadth of these awards mirrors the wide embrace of his work: The Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for photography and conservation; The National Cowboy Museum’s Western Heritage “Wrangler” Award; and a Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Colorado College, honoring efforts to increase our understanding of Western landscapes and peoples.


Leave Me Alone Forever

Bargaining for Eden

Lasting Light

Talking with the Clay

The People

The Sagebrush Ocean


Utah Impressions

Salt Lake Impressions

The Geography of Childhood


Leave Me Alone Forever

My Brother's Madness, My Mother's Sorrow

Stephen Trimble turns inward for this memoir--to be published in 2016.

Trimble’s mother, Isabelle, grew up Jewish in small-town Montana. She leaped into adulthood via a one-year disaster of an early marriage that took her to Denver and left her with a son, Mike. Isabelle married again when Mike was five, and Steve was born three years later. 

Psychosis overwhelmed Mike at 14. Trimble’s parents had no choice but to commit Mike to the Colorado State Hospital. Diagnosed with "retardation" and schizophrenia, Mike left their family when Steve was six.  He never lived at home again. 

Now, when it’s emotionally safe, long after his brother, mother, and father have died, Trimble returns to Mike’s life. He reconstructs his brother’s story, traces the currents of community and family that shaped their mother, and searches for the empathy he never felt as a self-involved youth. 

Mike’s life parallels the history of our treatment of the mentally ill over the last half-century. In following these stories wherever they lead, Trimble takes readers along on Mike's heartbreaking trajectory—leading toward the tsunami of grief that overwhelmed Isabelle when Mike died a public and lonely death in 1976. 

Part detective story, part journey of self-discovery, Leave Me Alone Forever will resonate with all readers with a family member or friend living with learning or mental health issues—a link that embraces nearly everyone.

Bargaining for Eden

The Fight for the Last Open Spaces in America

2008 Utah Book Award in Nonfiction 

2004 Utah Arts Council Literature Program Nonfiction Book Award

"Every so often a book is published that brings the larger world into clear focus through a well-polished, high-quality lens directed at one small part of that world. Bargaining for Eden is such a book, and everyone who is interested in the human condition and the natural environment...will be well served by reading it. Stephen Trimble’s skills and perseverance as an investigative reporter honor the craft of writing and ...bring integrity, honesty, intelligence, humility and hope to a story that is about their antonyms. Trimble has offered us a way beyond hatred with a great and shocking story of the past and a template for the future."  Dick Dorworth, Mountain Gazette

"Trimble's book takes a courageous look at the ethics of landownership and the price of paradise."  Jennifer Winger, Nature Conservancy Magazine

"Bargaining For Eden is ...a vibrant montage of unusual suspects expressing quirky aspects of individualism, camaraderie, and Western ethos. Trimble's softspoken integrity puts the reader at ease. ...the author's essential honesty and kindness overshadow even his larger-than-life subjects. Steve Trimble is harder on himself than on anyone else in this book, and that's saying something. It is therefore the one book about the changing West that every American should read."  Kevin McCarthy,

We all love special places—but who should decide their future? In Bargaining for Eden, Trimble tracks down the motives that inspire passion in two iconic places in The New West: a Utah mountain and its historic ski area and a redrock mesa on which Trimble builds a home. This is Trimble’s most innovative foray into literary non-fiction, incorporating ten years of fieldwork and writing.

Bargaining for Eden follows citizens in two communities grappling with change on extraordinary public lands in their backyards. Conflict grows from the tension between grassroots values and greed, politics, ownership, and patriarchy. First comes Mount Ogden, evolving from overused commons to reclaimed national forest to ski area—all community-based. This beloved ski area, Snowbasin, then loses its sense of community as it develops on a grand scale and hosts the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. The lens for this story is billionaire resort owner Earl Holding, whose power and money bring him what he wants, despite the anger and agony of local people trying to preserve their special relationship with the mountain.

In the second story, the author becomes the lens, turning from observer to actor, buying land in southern Utah redrock country, splitting the property, and facing Earl’s values within himself. Trimble deals with the ethics of ownership, the same issues confronting every New Westerner hoping for a piece of paradise—housebuilding, conservation easements, stewardship, sustainability, and the “devil’s bargains” of tourism.

Lasting Light

125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography

2006 Southwest Books of the Year: "Splashy, colorful, thoughtful...this luminous volume is a celebration... an exceptional book."

2007 New Mexico Book Award, Best Arts Book

2007 Benjamin Franklin Award for excellence in independent publishing

2007 Western Heritage Award, Outstanding Photography Book. National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

2007 Finalist, ForeWord Magazine Photography Book of the Year

"...the best book of photographs I've seen in years. Trimble's accomplished style with words doesn't let down his pictures or his vision."  —The Durango Herald

"The vast spaces and close confines of the Grand Canyon...are given their due in Lasting Light. This book, made all the more beautiful by author Stephen Trimble's words, is an homage complet to a much-loved space."  —Bookpage

"This wonderful book is much more than a coffee-table collection of beautiful Grand Canyon scenes in splendid color. Trimble's historical narrative provides important background to contextualize these photographers wihin their changing times while the biographies and portfolios serve as mini-seminars with each artist."  —Journal of the West

"The story behind each photo is as lovely as the photograph. You can’t help but touch the pages, hoping somehow to touch the past."  —

Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography brings readers into the hearts of great photographers as they devote years to seeing, really seeing, the Grand Canyon. Their images fill this book, and their stories bring to life their pictures from the 125 years that photographers have explored the Canyon. 

Stephen Trimble interviewed 21 of the finest contemporary Grand Canyon photographers, and these profiles bring to life the relationship between artist and landscape, between dedicated artists and an American icon they have helped to create. A fascinating narrative history of photography at Grand Canyon places these contemporary photographers in context. Lasting Light celebrates what all of us learn every time we peer through a viewfinder at this enduring treasure we call Grand Canyon.

Contributing photographers:

The Early & Middle Years: Timothy O’Sullivan, Jack Hillers, Robert Brewster Stanton, Ellsworth and Emery Kolb, Eliot Porter, Ansel Adams, Josef Muench, Ernst Haas, Philip Hyde, Bob Clemenz, Dick Dietrich, David Muench

The Contemporaries: Jerry Jacka, Robert McDonald, John Running, Jack Dykinga, James Cowlin, John Blaustein, Gary Ladd, Sue Bennett, Tom Bean, Alfredo Conde & Sherri Curtis, Liz Hymans, Tom Till, Larry Ulrich, Michael Collier, Stephen Trimble, Mark Klett, Michael “Nick” Nichols, Randy Prentice, Tom Brownold, George H.H. Huey, Dugald Bremner, Kate Thompson

Extending the View: David Edwards, Larry Lindahl, Raechel Running, Marc Muench, Christine Keith, Geoff Gourley, Kyle George, Paul Leatherbury, Mike Buccheit, Jay Showers

(Northland Publishing, 2006)

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Excerpt: Tribute to Philip Hyde

The Lasting Light photo exhibit opened at the historic Kolb Studio at Grand Canyon in Summer 2006. The show began touring nationally through the Smithsonian SITES program in 2008

When the California University of Pennsylvania hung the exhibit in Fall 2011, Steve spoke on campus to an auditorium filled with middle-schoolers, a graphic design class, and the university trustees. Cal U filmed this celebration of Lasting Light

Talking with the Clay

The Art of Pueblo Pottery in the 21st Century

2008 New Mexico Book Award, Best Arts Book

1987 Benjamin Franklin Book Award for excellence in independent publishing (original edition)

"Trimble’s quotes give the reader the feeling that he sat atop Mt. Taylor or Tsikumu, sacred lofty Pueblo peaks, and by sleight of hand snatched passing ideas, phrases, images, potters emotions and molded and shaped them into sentences which began to tell how it is that Pueblo potters think, feel, and create."  —Tessie Naranjo and Tito Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo), American Indian Culture and Research Journal

"Shifting back and forth from respect for tradition to the joy of innovation, the tale is held together by the common love of clay."   —The New York Times

"This extraordinary piece of work by Stephen Trimble should be required reading for any collector. With well-told stories, rich detail and a lifetime spent researching, Trimble sheds light on the people—both legendary and contemporary—and the places behind this remarkable art form. The prose sings and the photos shine. A magnificent book indeed!"  —Carter Walker, Western Art & Architecture

"Talking With the Clay is the best survey of Pueblo pottery made during the past fifty years and...clearly one of the finest studies of any contemporary Southwest Indian craft tradition."  —Masterkey

When you hold a Pueblo pot in your hands, you feel a tactile connection through the clay to the potter and to centuries of tradition. You will find no better guide to this feeling than Talking with the Clay. Stephen Trimble’s photographs capture the spirit of Pueblo pottery in its stunning variety, from the glittering micaceous jars of Taos Pueblo to the famous black ware of San Ildefonso Pueblo, from the bold black-on-white designs of Acoma Pueblo to the rich red-and-gold polychromes of the Hopi villages. His portraits of potters communicate the elegance and warmth of these artists, for this is the potters’ book. 

Through dozens of conversations, Trimble records stories and dreams that span seven generations and more than a century, revealing how potterymaking helps to bridge the gap between worlds, between humans and clay, springing from old ways but embracing change. In this newly revised, expanded, and redesigned 2007 edition, Trimble brings his classic into the 21st Century with interviews and photographs from a new generation of potters working to preserve the miraculous balance between tradition and innovation.

Trimble's book remains the book that Indian art gallery owners recommend when they send a new enthusiast home with a piece of Pueblo pottery.

(SAR Press, 20th anniversary expanded and revised edition, 2007)

Purchase at IndieBound, Powell's, Amazon

Excerpt: The People (at SAR Press)

Excerpt: One With the Clay (at SAR Press)

The People

Indians of the American Southwest

Best Southwestern Books of 1993, Arizona Daily Star

1993 Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award finalist

"...the best general introduction to the native peoples of the Southwest that has ever been published. Nor is it good only by comparison: it is a superb book. It combines the traditional concerns of ethnography, ethnohistory, and prehistory with a newer one of letting native voices speak for themselves."   —Alfonso Ortiz (San Juan Pueblo)

"Stephen Trimble’s The People is a valuable addition to the library of anyone interested in the Indian cultures of the Southwest. It may well become one of those classics that stay in print forever."  —Tony Hillerman

"Trimble’s introduction to these cultures is exceptional; he redefines American ethnography..."   —Library Journal

"Many of his photographs...are destined to become classics in the history of the Indians of our time."  —Utah Historical Quarterly

"…each family moving to the Southwest from elsewhere should be sent a clean copy… The People isn’t quite a page-turner, but it’s close—a remarkable accomplishment in a work of detailed non-fiction."  —Colorado Plateau Advocate

"...a monumental endeavor to flesh out the modern economic, spiritual, political and artistic milieus in which Indians of the Southwest find themselves ... presents a living portrait of a deeply oppressed people....This book does an immense service to all those interested in modern reservation life and the future of indigenous cultures, and in the prospects of the American way of life in general."  —The Bloomsbury Review

Fifty Indian nations lie within the modern American Southwest—communities sustained through four centuries of European and American contact by their cultural traditions and ties to the land. In The People, Stephen Trimble provides an introduction to these Native peoples that is unrivaled in its scope and readability. Graced with an absorbing, well-researched text, a wealth of maps and historic photographs, and the author’s penetrating contemporary photographic portraits and landscapes, The People is the indispensable book for anyone interested in the Indians of the Southwest.

Trimble first worked in Southwest Indian country in 1984, photographing and interviewing for a slide show at The Heard Museum in Phoenix about contemporary Southwest Indian people. That show, Our Voices, Our Land, became a book, and that interview-based approach led to the first edition of Talking with the Clay: the Art of Pueblo Pottery (1987) and culminated with The People

Trimble spent ten years visiting reservation communities, making friends and speaking with dozens of Native people. In The People, he provides enough historical background to make his rich coverage of Indian country today even more compelling. The well-known tribes are here: Apache, Navajo, Pueblo, and Tohono O'odham. Even more satisfying are the stories of less prominent Indian peoples like the Hualapai, the Paiute Tribe of Utah, the Quechan, and the Yavapai.

(SAR Press, 1993)

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The Sagebrush Ocean

A Natural History of the Great Basin

1991 Sierra Club Ansel Adams Award for Photography and Conservation

1990 High Desert Museum's Earle A. Chiles Award

foreword by Barry Lopez

illustrations by Jennifer Owings Dewey

"The Sagebrush Ocean will be a revelation to those who have habitually steeled themselves to drive across the desert at seventy miles an hour, generally at night. They have been missing something fabulous. . . It ought to be in the pack of every desert camper and every off-road recreationist, just to teach them respect for what they use so freely. It ought to be on the seat of every car that starts across from Salt Lake to Reno, or vice versa, to give even seventy-mile-an-hour travelers some notion of what that apparently monotonous sagebrush ocean contains of the diversity and mystery of life."  —Wallace Stegner

" beauty of a book, a triumph of regional literature of the kind we need, to relate more closely to this land of ours."  —Harold Gilliam, The San Francisco Chronicle

"Stephen Trimble combines the scientific reason and clarity of a Voltaire with the poetic sensitivity of Rousseau."  —

"... few other regions of our continent have been treated in the format that Trimble has pioneered. For the Great Basin, it's all there under one cover, lavishly and lovingly served up in text and picture." — Arthur Kruckeberg, Douglasia

"The strength of The Sagebrush Ocean is its overall grasp and its remarkable clarity. ...if his photographs, both poetic and scientifically apt, don't arouse reverence for the Great Basin, one wonders what could." —Thomas Lyon, Sierra Magazine

"The Sagebrush Ocean, a handsome, lucidly written, and amply illustrated book, does the place justice with authority and style, outlining its human and natural history with equal facility and sometimes with prose that gives nothing away to John McPhee or anyone else." — Wilderness Magazine

"Trimble has come close to capturing the majestic diversity of the Basin in an exquisite language of written and photographic imagery, and I am terribly afraid he will attract the casual visitor to places that I find it impossible to be casual about."  David Madsen, Utah Historical Quarterly

The Sagebrush Ocean summarizes a vast amount of information in a text of synthesis and celebration. Trimble mixes eloquent accounts of personal experiences with clear explication of natural history, and his photographs capture some of the most spectacular but least-known scenery in the western states.

The Great Basin Desert—an ocean of sagebrush—sweeps from the Sierra to the Rockies, from the Snake River Plain to the Mojave Desert. "Biogeography" best sums up Trimble's focus on this land: what lives where, and why. He introduces concepts of desert ecology and discusses living communities of animals and plants that band Great Basin mountains—from the exhilarating emptiness of dry lake-beds to alpine regions at the summits of the 13,000-foot Basin ranges.

Trimble's territory is the Nevada desert, Utah's West Desert, southeastern Idaho, southeastern Oregon, and California east of the Sierra. This is the best general introduction to the ecology and spirit of the Great Basin.

(University of Nevada Press, 10th anniversary edition, 1999)

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Utah Impressions

architecture, people, and travel photographs by Stephen Trimble

landscape photographs by Steve Mulligan

From the powdery peaks of Mount Ogden to the dramatic formations of Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park, from the historic architecture of Salt Lake City to the native peoples of Utah, photographers Mulligan and Trimble beautifully capture the diverse landscapes and cityscapes of Utah in all seasons in 91 color photographs.

A small jewel of a book - the perfect souvenir of Utah.

Salt Lake Impressions

photographs by Scott T. Smith and Stephen Trimble

foreword by Holly Mullen

"A book that promises to deliver a city’s “impressions” must somehow capture the history, beauty, work, play, and pride of its people. Pulling this off would be the measure of its success. Trimble and Smith have done it. They have captured Salt Lake: its solemnity, its humor, its bright neighborhoods, its brilliant winters, and the clean lines of the mountains that surround it."  —Holly Mullen, from the foreword

"A superbly compiled and presented collection...a visual celebration of Salt Lake City, the capital city of Utah, and the Great Salt Lake basin and surrounding Wasatch Mountains. A remarkable album of photographs, many of which rise to the level of visual art. Browsing through the pages of Salt Lake Impressions is the next best thing to actually being there."  —Midwest Book Review

This book shows a Salt Lake City and its surrounding landscape of mountains and desert that represents both the destination seen by tourists and the community lived in by residents. As photographers, Scott and Steve have an eye for the unique and iconic. As Utah residents, they know about neighborhoods and secret glens of open space and tucked-away installations of public art. It’s a winning combination.

Longtime local journalist Holly Mullen provides a witty and pointed introduction to this affectionate photographic tribute to a great American city.

(Farcountry Press, 2007)

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The Geography of Childhood

Why Children Need Wild Places

by Stephen Trimble and Gary Paul Nabhan

introduction by Robert Coles

School Library Journal "Top Ten Non-Fiction Books of 1994"

"…provocative and compelling." —Francesca Lyman, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"I believe The Geography of Childhood could become as important a book as Leopold's A Sand County Almanac or Carson's Silent Spring."  —Charles Yaple, director, Coalition for Education in the Outdoors

"...a collection of ideas, anecdotes, and meditations on our relationship with the land, this book raises fundamental questions about the ways in which we teach our children to become responsible citizens."  —Christopher Merrill, El Palacio

"This unusual, eclectic work is highly rewarding. The core concern is environmental education as a way of life that hinges on the moral trajectory of world culture. In the finest tradition of the environmentalist literary genre, Nabhan and Trimble tell us that while facts are fine, we must feel what goes on and that, conversely, when all meditation is done we must take a hard look at the whole child-nature situation. Then, increasing and synthesizing our knowledge, we can do something. Their book is a loving contribution to that urgent task."  —Sanford Gaster, Children's Environments

In this unique collaboration, two naturalists ask what may happen now that more children than ever are denied exposure to wildness. The authors remember pivotal events in their childhoods that led to lifelong relationships with the land. From cities and suburbs to isolated Nevada sheep ranches to Native American communities in the Southwest and Mexico, they tell stories of children learning about wild places and creatures.

Combining their flair as essayists with research from fields as diverse as environmental psychology, gender studies, and ethnobotany, Trimble and Nabhan give parents looking for inspiration a guide for their next adventure, whether it's family camping in the wilderness or at the beach or an hour in their backyard garden.

(Beacon Press, 1994)

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Excerpt: The Scripture of Maps, The Names of Trees (in the Colorado College Bulletin)

Interview for NPR's Living on Earth (Note that quotes from Gary Nabhan and Steve Trimble are reversed!)

Gary Nabhan website


A Nevada Album

photographs by Stephen Trimble

essays by Ann Ronald

1995 Wilbur Shepperson Book Award, Nevada Humanities Committee

"Earthtones is a wonderful introduction to the mystical, vastly misunderstood, and hidden Silver State. Trimble has uncovered a Nevada at once ghostly, innocent, and sublime."  —Small Press

"A perfect complement between text and photograph."  —Nevada Historical Quarterly

"Ann Ronald, a scholar of nature writing, and Stephen Trimble, a distinguished photographer of the landscapes and native peoples of the West, have combined forces to show us another Nevada. The Silver State they know is full of color and life, rich with history both natural and human, abundant with lessons for the earth-centered traveler eager for wisdom and rejuvenation." — ISLE

"Together they paint a picture of the other Nevada that is unforgettable in its clarity. Seldom does the collaboration between writer and photographer produce results of such beauty and hope."  —Southwest Book Views

Too many visitors to the Silver State never see Ann Ronald's and Stephen Trimble's Nevada: teal sky and a sea of fragrant sage, mountain mahogany and a crimson mass of claret cup cactus, a dust-blown sunset of vermilion, orange, and gold.

More colorful than a neon display on Las Vegas Boulevard, Nevada is one vast desert of tint and shadow and aesthetic dimension. In Earthtones, Ronald and Trimble provide a guide to understanding this challenging landscape. Their love for the land shines through in six vivid personal essays and sixty-seven boldly emotional color photographs.

In independent but interwoven visions, Ronald and Trimble cherish the same Nevada, an astonishing place to anyone familiar with the mistaken stereotypes that plague the state. Trimble's pictures capture the spirit of this spare, yet beautiful, country.