50+ John Muir Quotes to Inspire Your Life


John Muir quotes about nature will really make you think. John Muir was a farmer, inventor, sheepherder, naturalist, explorer, and writer. He is more popularly known as The Father of our National Park System. He created Yosemite National Park and was involved in creating other national parks, like Mount Rainier, Sequoia, the Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon.

Muir was born in 1838 in Scotland, but he and his family moved to the United Stations–specifically Wisconsin–in 1949. His father liked the discipline and for the kids to work from dawn to dusk. While working in the countryside, John Muir grew into his love for nature and the wilderness. He spent time carving wood to create mechanisms, like a clock, and eventually, he took his inventions to the Madison State Fair.

In 1867, he began a long journey around the country and some surrounding areas: he walked from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico, then sailed to Cuba and Panama and then up to the West Coast, landing in San Francisco. However, California quickly became Muir’s home, specifically, Yosemite. In Yosemite, he herded sheep, found glaciers in the Sierra, conducted a theory about the glaciers in Yosemite Valley, and wrote a series of articles titled Studies in the Sierra. He was getting noticed for his work: not only did writer Ralph Waldo Emerson and botanist Asa Gray visit him at Yosemite, but Muir’s most famous book, Our National Parks, got the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt too.

In a series of articles, Muir drew attention to the destruction of mountain meadows and forests from sheep and cattle and worked to fix it. Thus, the creation of Yosemite National Park. This infamous and well-loved national park is visited by locals and tourists every day, who admire the beauty of the ancient sequoia trees, cliffs, waterfalls, deep meadows, grand valleys, and so much more. He was also involved with other national parks that are known, loved, and visited today, including the Grand Canyon.

In 1880, Muir married Louie Wanda Strenzel, and they had two daughters, Wanda and Helen. Throughout his life, he traveled anywhere and everywhere: Australia, South America, Africa, Europe, China, Japan. He wrote about his travels with 10 major books and over 300 articles, inspiring readers to go out and find a love for nature and see all the beauty that the world offers. Unfortunately, Muir died in 1914 from double pneumonia.

By being a naturalist and conservationist, Muir had a love for nature that was unmatched. With his drive to preserve the wilderness, he is an inspiration to environmentalist activists. Here are some amazing John Muir quotes to inspire every person who loves to travel, be one with nature, and see the wildness of the world.

John Muir Quotes on wilderness and how going to the mountains is going home

“Most people are on the world, not in it. ” – John Muir

“Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.” – John Muir

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” – John Muir

“There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.” – John Muir

“Who wouldn’t be a mountaineer! Up here, all the world’s prizes seem nothing.” – John Muir

“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.” – John Muir

“One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.” – John Muir

“Most people who travel look only at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook maker, however ignorant.” – John Muir

“I never saw a discontented tree.” – John Muir

“None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.” – John Muir

“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” – John Muir

“Going to the mountains is going home.” – John Muir

“The world is big, and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” – John Muir

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers but as fountains of life.” – John Muir

“In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

“The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.” – John Muir

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” – John Muir

John Muir quotes about good tidings, nature’s peace, and sunshine

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” – John Muir

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the Autumn leaves.” – John Muir

“Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.” – John Muir

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir

“More and more, in a place like this, we feel ourselves part of wild Nature, kin to everything.” – John Muir

“Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.” – John Muir

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” – John Muir

“I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness.” – John Muir

“All the world was before me and every day was a holiday, so it did not seem important to which one of the world’s wildernesses I first should wander.” – John Muir

“Between every pine tree, there is a door leading to a new way of life.” – John Muir

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” – John Muir

“The sun shines not on us but in us.” – John Muir

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

“One is constantly reminded of the infinite lavishness and fertility of Nature — inexhaustible abundance amid what seems enormous waste.” – John Muir

“The power of imagination makes us infinite.” – John Muir

“The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains – mountain dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s workshops.” – John Muir

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – John Muir

“Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights.” – John Muir

“Wherever there were glaciers, the world was in a constant state of creation.”  – John Muir

“Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.” – John Muir

“Earth has no sorrow that earth cannot heal.” – John Muir

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn, and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” – John Muir

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower; extract its sweetness but do not damage it.” – John Muir

“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings.” – John Muir

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

“Nature in her green, tranquil woods heals and soothes all afflictions.” – John Muir

“The finest of the glacier meadow gardens lie…imbedded in the upper pine forests like lakes of light.” – John Muir

“The soft light of morning falls upon ripening forests of oak and elm, walnut and hickory, and all Nature is thoughtful and calm.” – John Muir

“There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation’s braggart lords.” – John Muir

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir

“I always befriended animals and have said many a good word for them. Even to the least-loved mosquitoes, I gave many a meal, and told them to go in peace.” – John Muir

“We are now in the mountains, and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.” – John Muir

“Come to the woods, for here is rest.” – John Muir

“But it is in the darkest nights when storms are blowing, and the agitated waves are phosphorescent, that the most impressive displays are made.” – John Muir

John Muir quotes about God, the universe, and the creation of nature

“At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.” – John Muir

“This star, our own good earth, made many a successful journey around the heavens ere man was made, and whole kingdoms of creatures enjoyed existence and returned to dust ere man appeared to claim them.” – John Muir

“Wherever we go in the mountains, or indeed in any of God’s wild fields, we find more than we seek.” – John Muir

“In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.“ – John Muir

“The world, we are told, was made especially for man – a presumption not supported by all the facts. A numerous class of men are painfully astonished whenever they find anything, living or dead, in all God’s universe, which they cannot eat or render in some way what they call useful to themselves.”  – John Muir

“I have never yet happened upon a trace of evidence that seemed to show that any one animal was ever made for another as much as it was made for itself. Not that Nature manifests any such thing as selfish isolation. In the making of every animal, the presence of every other animal has been recognized.” – John Muir

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” – John Muir

“A few minutes ago, every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship.” – John Muir

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

“The scenery of the ocean, however sublime in vast expanse, seems far less beautiful to us dry-shod animals than that of the land seen only in comparatively small patches; but when we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” – John Muir

“The world, we are told, was made especially for man — a presumption not supported by all the facts.” – John Muir

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.” – John Muir

“All the wild world is beautiful, and it matters but little where we go, to highlands or lowlands, woods or plains, on the sea or land or down among the crystals of waves or high in a balloon in the sky; through all the climates, hot or cold, storms and calms, everywhere and always we are in God’s eternal beauty and love. So universally true is this, the spot where we chance to always seem the best.” – John Muir

“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.” – John Muir

Do you have any favorite John Muir quotes?

For Further Reading

Here are some books by or about Muir, on National Parks, the beauty of nature, the wilderness, and a passion for traveling:

Our National Parks

The Yosemite

Little Naturalists: The Adventures of John Muir

A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir

John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

More Quotes: