Quick Intro – Who Was John Muir

You probably know that John Muir had some great thoughts on life. If you want to jump straight to some of his best quotes, just skip down to the next section. But if you want a 30 second background on one of the greatest outdoor activists, here’s some stuff you should know about ole John Muir.

Credit: Wikipedia

John Muir was known as the Father of the National Parks. So if you’ve been to one and enjoyed it, this man was the original. Muir was born in Scotland in 1838. He was so influential in his outdoor preservation that there’s a 211 mile trail in the Sierra Nevada named after him.

John Muir got his start in the outdoors when he moved to San Francisco and took his first trip to Yosemite. He instantly fell in love with it and ended up building a little cabin located on Yosemite Creek. His cabin actually had part of the stream routed through the house so he could listen to the sound of the running water. Still sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

Muir went on to come up with the theory that the glaciers had sculpted the mountainous features of Yosemite Valley. At the time this was a controversial idea. The prevailing theory is that the mountains were formed by earthquakes but Muir’s ideas made more sense and now is widely accepted

In 1892, along with a professor from U.C. Berkeley, Muir helped form the Sierra Club that still exists today. The Sierra Club has been a nature advocate on many issues in the past.

John Muir was a big fan of the Native Americans he came across. Initially he thought they were lazy and superstitious, but later he came to appreciate their respect for the land and their low impact lifestyle. Muir was later given the name “Ancoutahan” which means “adopted chief”.

Over the course of his life, John Muir published 6 volumes of writing describing his adventures in the wild. This is where his quotes come from and they’re spread far and wide today due to their great insight on life. Enjoy.


  1. “Who wouldn’t be a mountaineer? Up here, all the world’s prizes like nothing.”— John Muir
  2. “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
  3. “How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” — John Muir
  4. “One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.” — John Muir
  5. “Going to the mountains is going home.” — John Muir
  6. “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” — John Muir
  7. “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
  8. “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
  9. “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


  1. “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.” — John Muir
  2. “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ― John Muir
  3. “Nature is ever at work; building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest, but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.” — John Muir
  4. “Yosemite Park is a place of rest… None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree.” ― John Muir
  5. “There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.” — John Muir
  6. “Beauty beyond thought everywhere, beneath, above, made and being made forever.” ― John Muir
  7. “In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” — John Muir
  8. “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
  9. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” — John Muir
  10. “I never saw a discontented tree.” — John Muir
  11. “The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day.” — John Muir
  12. “Earth has no sorrow that earth cannot heal.” ― John Muir
  13. “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 dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” — John Muir


  1. “The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir
  2. “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
  3. “None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly, so long as they are wild.” — John Muir
  4. “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
  5. “To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.” — John Muir
  6. “We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.” ― John Muir
  7. “One should go to the woods for safety, if for nothing else.” ― John Muir
  8. “Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer.” ― John Muir
  9. “Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill.” ― John Muir
  10. “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
  11. “There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself, whether recognized or not, and however covered by cares and duties” — John Muir


  1. “Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.” — John Muir
  2. “The mountains are calling and I must go.” — John Muir
  3. “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
  4. “Then, after a long fireside rest and a glance at my notebook, I cut a few leafy branches for a bed, and fell into the clear, death-like sleep of the tired mountaineer.” ― John Muir
  5. “But the darkest scriptures of the mountains are illumined with bright passages of love that never fail to make themselves felt when one is alone.” ― John Muir
  6. “In our best times everything turns into religion, all the world seems a church and the mountains altars.” ― John Muir
  7. “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


  1. “The battle for conservation must go on endlessly. It is part of the universal warfare between right and wrong.” ― John Muir
  2. “The sun shines not on us but in us.” ― John Muir
  3. “Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away.” ― John Muir
  4. “The deeper the solitude, the less the sense of loneliness, and the nearer our friends.” ― John Muir
  5. “Here are the roots of all the life of the valleys, and here more simply than elsewhere is the eternal flux of nature manifested.” ― John Muir
  6. “Here I could stay tethered forever with just bread and water, nor would I be lonely; loved friends and neighbors, as love for everything increased, would seem all the nearer, however many the miles and mountains between us.” ― John Muir
  7. “Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” ― John Muir
  8. “Nothing truly wild is unclean.” ― John Muir
  9. “I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness.” ― John Muir
  10. “Most people are on the world, not in it.”— John Muir
  11. “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” — John Muir
  12. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” — John Muir
  13. “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
  14. “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
  15. “Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness, but do not damage it.” ― John Muir
  16. “I am learning to live close to the lives of my friends without ever seeing them. No miles of any measurement can separate your soul from mine.” ― John Muir