Rocky Trail Press celebrates the natural world and our connection to it. We believe that being immersed in a world of fresh air, gurgling streams, lichen covered rocks, towering trees and wild creatures is a necessity for human flourishing. In the presence of wilderness we regain our humanity and remember the things that are truly important in life. We therefore produce products and publish books that reconnect us with the environment and with ourselves.
Rocky Trail Press is the publishing arm of Morning Light Photography, one of several divisions under the Morning Light Photography umbrella started by photographer and author Erik Stensland. Other branches of Morning Light Photography include: Images of Rocky Mountain National Park and Images of the Desert. Over the years Erik realized that there were opportunities to use his photography in a variety of printed products. An outside publishing company published his first book but Erik soon realized that he wanted greater artistic freedom and more quality control than was possible when publishing this way. So Erik started his own publishing company which now goes by the name of "Rocky Trail Press".
Erik already had relationships with top-notch graphic designers, editors and others in various publishing related fields. He built a team of qualified individuals and created his first independently published book in 2014. This was the hardcover coffee-table book, Wild Light which he released in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park. This book was nominated for a Colorado Book Award. It also won a gold medal for the best environmental book of the year and a silver award in the coffee table book category with the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Since then Erik has continued to create many beautiful new products such as beautiful wall calendars and greeting card packages. He has also written and published a book for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park called: Memories of Rocky Mountain National Park and a photography guide to the national park entitled: The Landscape Photographer's Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park.
In late 2017 he released Whispers in the Wilderness a hardcover, inspirational book that uses examples from the natural world to reflect on our complex inner lives. It won the gold award with the Independent Book Publishers Association for the best inspirational book of the year. It was also a 2017 Nautilus Silver Award Winner, the winner of two gold National Indies Excellence Awards in both the inspirational and gift book categories and a finalist in the 20th Annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards.
In the winter of 2019 Rocky Trail Press was officially established. In May of 2019 Rocky Trail Press released Erik Stensland’s Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park: The Essential Guide, a 512 page hiking guide to Rocky Mountain National Park that sold out of its first print run of 3,000 in just a few weeks. It has received wide-spread praise for both the quality and detail of the content as well as for the creative approach it took to organizing the book. RTP also released a smaller version called Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park: The Pocket Guide.
Currently a sequel to Whispers in the Wilderness is in process. Additional books are in the pipeline.