National Parks, Quotes

35 Inspiring John Muir Quotes

Half Dome at Yosemite

John Muir was an influential Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States of America. Through Muir’s words and writings he has made a great influence on how people see their relationship with nature and recreation. Many political leaders have found inspiration in his writings and it has helped to inspire protection and preservation of our natural resources and public lands. I am extremely thankful to John Muir and the impact he made on the world.



John Muir is sometimes refereed to as “Father of the National Parks” and it truly fits! Muir co-founded the Sierra Club in 1892, acting as president of the environmental-advocacy organization for more than two decades. In the new century he continued to make history with his 1903 three-night camping trip with Theodore Roosevelt, which helped shape the U.S. president’s own conservationist policies. Roosevelt used his authority to protect wildlife and public lands by creating the United States Forest Service (USFS) and establishing 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments. I love the national parks, so John Muir is near and dear to my heart! He has SUCH an interesting life story, from growing up in Scotland, immigrating to Wisconsin at 11, to epic sailing and hiking adventures throughout the world! I highly recommend you take some time to learn more about this influential nature lover! I absolutely loved this book , and highly recommend it. 





    1. “The mountains are calling and I must go.”
    2. “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” 
    3. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
    4. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
    5. “Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.”
    6. “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.”
    7. “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
    8. “None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.” 
    9. “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.”
    10. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
    11. “The power of imagination makes us infinite.”
    12. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
    13. “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
    14. “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.”
    15. “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”
    16. “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.“
    17. “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.” 
    18. “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.”
    19. “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” 
    20. “Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer.”
    21. “We are not in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”
    22. “One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.”
    23. “The battle for conservation must go on endlessly. It is part of the universal warfare between right and wrong.” 
    24. “The sun shines not on us but in us.”
    25. “Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away.” 
    26. “Most people are on the world, not in it.” 
    27. “Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.”
    28. “I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness”
    29. “I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found.”
    30. “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.”
    31. “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.”
    32. “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”
    33. “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.”
    34. “Most people who travel look only at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook maker, however ignorant.”
    35. “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.”

I hope you enjoyed this collection of quotes! I find all of John Muir’s words so inspiring, it was truly hard to narrow it down to just 35! See below for some more great reading options and you might also enjoy this other collection of quotes I’ve put together –  “10 Quotes on Sustainability and America National Parks.”


Much love & Happy Adventures! 


John Muir Trail

Hiking on THe John Muir Trail in Yosemite National PArk

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