110 John Muir Quotes on Nature, Mountains and the Beauty of The Great Outdoors

John Muir QuotesCredited with the formation of both Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, John Muir was a Scottish-born American writer and forest conservation advocate. When a work-related accident nearly blinded him, he gave up his career in mechanical inventions and embarked on a trek from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico; a walk that he documented in his ‘A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf’.

Way ahead of his time, he founded The Sierra Club, which was devoted to protecting the environment and which held him as their president until he died in 1914. In fact, it was Muir’s influence and tireless work that allows visitors today to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the National Parks, without the influence and disruption of industrial intervention.

John Muir quotes clearly illustrate his deep love of the natural world and of the universe, and his disdain for the destruction of nature at the hands of humans. If you have lost sight of the simple joy and beauty of nature and what it can offer us, immerse yourself in his words to rediscover a passion for this wonderful world we live in.

John Muir Quotes on the Beauty of Nature

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.

“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.” – John Muir




Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.

“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

Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen.

“Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen.” – John Muir

Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings.

“Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings.” – John Muir




Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.

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

But no punishment, however sure and severe, was of any avail against the attraction of the fields and woods. It had other uses, developing memory, etc., but in keeping us at home it was of no use at all.

“But no punishment, however sure and severe, was of any avail against the attraction of the fields and woods. It had other uses, developing memory, etc., but in keeping us at home it was of no use at all.” – John Muir

When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.

“When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir




Like most other things not apparently useful to man, it has few friends, and the blind question, Why was it made? goes on and on with never a guess that first of all it might have been made for itself.

“Like most other things not apparently useful to man, it has few friends, and the blind question, Why was it made? goes on and on with never a guess that first of all it might have been made for itself.” – 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.

“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

None of Nature's landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.

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

The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day.

“The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day.” – John Muir

There is a love of wild Nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.

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

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.

“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

Here are the roots of all the life of the valleys, and here more simply than elsewhere is the eternal flux of nature manifested.

“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

Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts . . .

“Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts . . .” – 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.

“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

When California was wild, it was the floweriest part of the continent.

“When California was wild, it was the floweriest part of the continent.” – John Muir

Rivers flow not past, but through us; tingling, vibrating, exciting every cell and fiber in our bodies, making them sing and glide.

“Rivers flow not past, but through us; tingling, vibrating, exciting every cell and fiber in our bodies, making them sing and glide.” – 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.

“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

The battle for conservation must go on endlessly. It is part of the universal warfare between right and wrong.

“The battle for conservation must go on endlessly. It is part of the universal warfare between right and wrong.” – John Muir

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.” – 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.

“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 can make a day of any size and regulate the rising and setting of his own sun and the brightness of its shining.

“One can make a day of any size and regulate the rising and setting of his own sun and the brightness of its shining.” – John Muir

Nothing more celestial can I conceive. How gently the winds blow! Scarce can these tranquil air-currents be called winds. They seem the very breath of Nature, whispering peace to every living thing.

“Nothing more celestial can I conceive. How gently the winds blow! Scarce can these tranquil air-currents be called winds. They seem the very breath of Nature, whispering peace to every living thing.” – John Muir

One of the best ways to see tree flowers is to climb one of the tallest trees and to get into close, tingling touch with them, and then look broad.

“One of the best ways to see tree flowers is to climb one of the tallest trees and to get into close, tingling touch with them, and then look broad.” – John Muir

I ran home in the moonlight with firm strides; for the sun-love made me strong.

“I ran home in the moonlight with firm strides; for the sun-love made me strong.” – John Muir

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.

“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.” – John Muir

Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.” – John Muir

No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening – still all is Beauty!

“No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening – still all is Beauty!” – John Muir

Going to the mountains is going home.

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

In our best times everything turns into religion, all the world seems a church and the mountains altars.

“In our best times everything turns into religion, all the world seems a church and the mountains altars.” – John Muir

I am well again, I came to life in the cool winds and crystal waters of the mountains.

“I am well again, I came to life in the cool winds and crystal waters of the mountains.” – John Muir

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.

“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

Every natural object is a conductor of divinity and only by coming into contact with them, may we be filled with the Holy Ghost.

“Every natural object is a conductor of divinity and only by coming into contact with them, may we be filled with the Holy Ghost.” – 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.

“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

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.

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

“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

One should go to the woods for safety, if for nothing else.

“One should go to the woods for safety, if for nothing else.” – John Muir

Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.

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

When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.” – John Muir

The body seems to feel beauty when exposed to it as it feels the campfire or sunshine, entering not by the eyes alone, but equally through all one's flesh like radiant heat, making a passionate ecstatic pleasure glow not explainable.

“The body seems to feel beauty when exposed to it as it feels the campfire or sunshine, entering not by the eyes alone, but equally through all one’s flesh like radiant heat, making a passionate ecstatic pleasure glow not explainable.” – John Muir

We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.

“We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.” – John Muir

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer.

“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer.” – John Muir

I bade adieu to mechanical inventions, determined to devote the rest of my life to the study of the inventions of God.

“I bade adieu to mechanical inventions, determined to devote the rest of my life to the study of the inventions of God.” – John Muir

In all my wild mountaineering, I have enjoyed only one avalanche ride; and the start was so sudden, and the end came so soon, I thought but little of the danger that goes with this sort of travel, though one thinks fast at such times.

“In all my wild mountaineering, I have enjoyed only one avalanche ride; and the start was so sudden, and the end came so soon, I thought but little of the danger that goes with this sort of travel, though one thinks fast at such times.” – 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.

“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.” – John Muir

Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away.

“Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away.” – John Muir

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.

“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

I ran home in the moonlight with long, firm strides; for the sun-love made me strong.

“I ran home in the moonlight with long, firm strides; for the sun-love made me strong.” – 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.

“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

The mountains are calling and I must go.

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

I never saw a discontented tree.

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

Nothing dollarable is safe.

“Nothing dollarable is safe.” – John Muir

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

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

The power of imagination makes us infinite.

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

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

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

One must labor for beauty as for bread.

“One must labor for beauty as for bread.” – John Muir

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising.

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising.” – John Muir

Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.

“Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.” – John Muir

Most people are on the world, not in it.

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

Who wouldn't be a mountaineer! Up here all the world's prizes seem nothing

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

Earth has no sorrow that earth can not heal.

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

Raindrops blossom brilliantly in the rainbow, and change to flowers in the sod, but snow comes in full flower direct from the dark, frozen sky.

“Raindrops blossom brilliantly in the rainbow, and change to flowers in the sod, but snow comes in full flower direct from the dark, frozen sky.” – John Muir

Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress,

“Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress,” – John Muir

Beauty beyond thought everywhere, beneath, above, made and being made forever.

“Beauty beyond thought everywhere, beneath, above, made and being made forever.” – John Muir

Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.

“Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.” – John Muir

Wilderness is a necessity, there must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls,

“Wilderness is a necessity, there must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls,” – John Muir

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.

“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

Yet through all this stress the forest is maintained in marvelous beauty.

“Yet through all this stress the forest is maintained in marvelous beauty.” – John Muir

It is easier to feel than to realize, or in any way explain, Yosemite grandeur. The magnitudes of the rocks and trees and streams are so delicately harmonized, they are mostly hidden.

“It is easier to feel than to realize, or in any way explain, Yosemite grandeur. The magnitudes of the rocks and trees and streams are so delicately harmonized, they are mostly hidden.” – John Muir

You may be a little cold some nights on mountain tops above the timber-line, but you will see the stars, and by and by you can sleep enough in your town bed. or at least in your grave. Keep awake while you may in mountain mansions so rare.

“You may be a little cold some nights on mountain tops above the timber-line, but you will see the stars, and by and by you can sleep enough in your town bed. or at least in your grave. Keep awake while you may in mountain mansions so rare.” – John Muir

How terribly downright must be the utterances of storms and earthquakes to those accustomed to the soft hypocrisies of society.

“How terribly downright must be the utterances of storms and earthquakes to those accustomed to the soft hypocrisies of society.” – John Muir

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

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

Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.

“Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.” – John Muir

the lake a perfect mirror reflecting the sky and mountains with their stars and trees and wonderful sculpture, all their grandeur refined and doubled,—a marvelously impressive picture, that seemed to belong more to heaven than earth.

“the lake a perfect mirror reflecting the sky and mountains with their stars and trees and wonderful sculpture, all their grandeur refined and doubled,—a marvelously impressive picture, that seemed to belong more to heaven than earth.” – John Muir

One day's exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.

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

Look up and down and round about you.!

“Look up and down and round about you.!” – John Muir

We thought nothing of running right ahead ten or a dozen miles before turning back; for we knew nothing about taking time by the sun, and none of us had a watch in those days.

“We thought nothing of running right ahead ten or a dozen miles before turning back; for we knew nothing about taking time by the sun, and none of us had a watch in those days.” – John Muir

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.

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

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.

“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

Rocks and waters, etc., are words of God, and so are men. We all flow from one fountain Soul. All are expressions of one Love.

“Rocks and waters, etc., are words of God, and so are men. We all flow from one fountain Soul. All are expressions of one Love.” – John Muir

Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue; indeed the body seems one palate, and tingles equally throughout.

“Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue; indeed the body seems one palate, and tingles equally throughout.” – John Muir

Nothing truly wild is unclean.

“Nothing truly wild is unclean.” – John Muir

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

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

The sun shines not on us but in us.

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

“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 care to live only to entice people to look at Nature's loveliness. Heaven knows that John the Baptist was not more eager to get all his fellow sinners into the Jordan than I to baptize all of mine in the beauty of God's mountains.

“I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness. Heaven knows that John the Baptist was not more eager to get all his fellow sinners into the Jordan than I to baptize all of mine in the beauty of God’s mountains.” – John Muir

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.

“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

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.

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

Yet how hard most people work for mere dust and ashes and care, taking no thought of growing in knowledge and grace, never having time to get in sight of their own ignorance.

“Yet how hard most people work for mere dust and ashes and care, taking no thought of growing in knowledge and grace, never having time to get in sight of their own ignorance.” – John Muir

There is nothing more eloquent in Nature than a mountain stream.

“There is nothing more eloquent in Nature than a mountain stream.” – 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.

“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

Fortunately wrong cannot last. Soon or late it must fall back home to Hades, while some compensating good must surely follow.

“Fortunately wrong cannot last. Soon or late it must fall back home to Hades, while some compensating good must surely follow.” – John Muir

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.

“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

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.

“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

There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.

“There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.” – John Muir

So far from complete at times is sympathy between parents and children, and so much like wild beasts are baby boys, little fighting, biting, climbing pagans.

“So far from complete at times is sympathy between parents and children, and so much like wild beasts are baby boys, little fighting, biting, climbing pagans.” – John Muir

Wherever we go in the mountains, or indeed in any of God's wild fields, we find more than we seek.

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

How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!

“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” – John Muir

The snow is melting into music.

“The snow is melting into music.” – John Muir

What a psalm the storm was singing, and how fresh the smell of the washed earth and leaves, and how sweet the still small voices of the storm!

“What a psalm the storm was singing, and how fresh the smell of the washed earth and leaves, and how sweet the still small voices of the storm!” – John Muir

It seems supernatural, but only because it is not understood.

“It seems supernatural, but only because it is not understood.” – 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.

“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

Wherever there were glaciers, the world was in a constant state of creation.

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

How narrow we selfish conceited creatures are in our sympathies! How blind to the rights of all the rest of creation!

“How narrow we selfish conceited creatures are in our sympathies! How blind to the rights of all the rest of creation!” – 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 fool

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

And into the woods I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.

“And into the woods I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” – John Muir

The deeper the solitude the less the sense of loneliness, and the nearer our friends.

“The deeper the solitude the less the sense of loneliness, and the nearer our friends.” – John Muir

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.

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

The care-laden commercial lives we lead close our eyes to the operations of God as a workman, though openly carried on that all who will look may see.

“The care-laden commercial lives we lead close our eyes to the operations of God as a workman, though openly carried on that all who will look may see.” – John Muir

I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature's loveliness.

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

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend