160 John Muir Quotes on His Interest & Love for Nature

Get your heart pumping with the excitement of going out into the great outdoors and exploring nature with these John Muir quotes.

John Muir was a writer, advocate, and naturalist who expressed his love for nature. He became an inspiration to many influential people through his writings.

Until now, his legacy remains and continues to impart valuable lessons on the importance of nature conservation. Be inspired to explore the adventure nature holds and protect it just like him by reading through this collection of his greatest lines.

Let’s get started.

And don’t forget to check out these Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes.

Best John Muir Quotes

1. “There is not a fragment in all Nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.”

2. “The power of imagination makes us infinite.”

3. “In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

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

5. “Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen.”

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

7. “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.”

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

9. “Earth has no sorrow that earth can not heal.”

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

Famous John Muir Quotes

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

12. “Nothing truly wild is unclean.”

13. “The mountains are calling and I must go.”

14. “Wilderness is a necessity. There must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls.”

15. “Going to the mountains is going home.”

16. “This time it is real. All must die, and where could mountaineer find a more glorious death!”

17. “How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!”

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

19. “Look! Nature is overflowing with the grandeur of God!”

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

Also read: Storm Quotes

Inspirational John Muir Quotes

21. “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.”

22. “Everything in Nature called destruction must be creation. A change from beauty to beauty.”

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

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

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

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

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

28. “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.”

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

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

Also read: Fog Quotes

Insightful John Muir Quotes That’ll Move You

31. “When one tugs at a single thing in Nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

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

33. “One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin.”

34. “I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

42. “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 Quotes About His Admiration for the World’s Beauty

43. “Waking up early on a weekend to hit the trail is a sacrifice made well worth it when you reach a mountain top in time to catch the sunrise.”

44. “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.”

45. “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.”

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

47. “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.”

48. “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.”

49. “Like everyone else, I was always fond of flowers, attracted by their external beauty and purity. Now my eyes were opened to their inner beauty, all alike revealing glorious traces of the thoughts of God, and leading on and on into the infinite cosmos.”

50. “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.”

51. “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.”

52. “Long, blue, spiky edged shadows crept out across the snowfields, while a rosy glow, at first scarce discernible, gradually deepened and suffused every mountain top, flushing the glaciers and the harsh crags above them. This was the alpenglow, to me the most impressive of all the terrestrial manifestations of God.”

53. “So extraordinary is Nature with her choicest treasures, spending plant beauty as she spends sunshine, pouring it forth into land and sea, garden and desert. And so the beauty of lilies falls on angels and men, bears and squirrels, wolves and sheep, birds and bees.”

John Muir Quotes on His Love for the Mountains

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

55. “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.”

56. “The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil.”

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

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

59. “Of all the mountain ranges I have climbed, I like the Sierra Nevada the best.”

Thought-Provoking John Muir Quotes 

60. “One must labor for beauty as for bread.”

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

62. “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.”

63. “Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress.”

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

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

66. “I don’t like either the word hike or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains, not ‘hike!’”

67. “When one is alone at night in the depths of these woods, the stillness is at once awful and sublime. Every leaf seems to speak.”

68. “The natural and common is more truly marvelous and mysterious than the so-called supernatural. Indeed most of the miracles we hear of are infinitely less wonderful than the commonest of natural phenomena when fairly seen.”

69. “I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found.”

70. “If one pine were placed in a town square, what admiration it would excite! Yet who is conscious of the pine-tree multitudes in the free woods, though open to everybody?”

71. “Man must be made conscious of his origin as a child of Nature.”

72. “It has been said that trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment rooted in the ground.”

73. “Brought into right relationship with the wilderness he would see that he was not a separate entity endowed with a divine right to subdue his fellow creatures and destroy the common heritage, but rather an integral part of a harmonious whole.”

74. “If my soul could get away from this so-called prison, be granted all the list of attributes generally bestowed on spirits, my first ramble on spirit wings would not be among the volcanoes of the moon.”

Short but Worthwhile John Muir Quotes to Make You Think

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

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

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

78. “Nature in her green, tranquil woods heals and soothes all afflictions.”

79. “The snow is melting into music.”

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

81. “Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”

82. “Look up and down and round about you!”

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

John Muir Quotes That’ll Give You a Wider Perspective

84. “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.”

85. “Most people are on the world, not in it. Have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them, undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate.”

86. “One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made; that this is still the morning of creation; that mountains long conceived are now being born, channels traced for coming rivers, basins hollowed for lakes.”

87. “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!”

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

89. “Compared with the intense purity and cordiality and beauty of Nature, the most delicate refinements and cultures of civilization are gross barbarisms.”

90. “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.”

91. “Man seems to be the only animal whose food soils him, making necessary much washing and shield-like bibs and napkins. Moles living in the earth and eating slimy worms are yet as clean as seals or fishes, whose lives are one perpetual wash.”

92. “A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.”

93. “Fresh beauty opens one’s eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated.”

John Muir Quotes About His Realizations and Discoveries

94. “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.”

95. “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.”

96. “But I had been so lectured by my father above all things to avoid praise that I was afraid to read those kind newspaper notices, and never clipped out or preserved any of them, just glanced at them and turned away my eyes from beholding vanity.”

97. “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.”

98. “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.”

99. “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 the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”

100. “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.”

101. “I used to envy the father of our race, dwelling as he did in contact with the new-made fields and plants of Eden; but I do so no more because I have discovered that I also live in ‘creation’s dawn.’ The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day.”

102. “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.”

103. “How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountain top, it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make, leaves and moss-like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone, we all dwell in a house of one room. The world with the firmament for its roof and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track.”

104. “Our good ship also seemed like a thing of life, its great iron heart beating on through calm and storm, a truly noble spectacle. But think of the hearts of these whales, beating warm against the sea, day and night, through dark and light, on and on for centuries; how the red blood must rush and gurgle in and out, bucketfuls, barrelfuls at a beat!”

105. “The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.”

106. “On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death. 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.”

107. “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 Quotes to Give You an Idea of What He Deemed as a Beautiful Day

108. “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.”

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

110. “In this silent, serene wilderness the weary can gain a heart bath in perfect peace.”

111. “To dine with a glacier on a sunny day is a glorious thing and makes a common feast of meat and wine ridiculous. The glacier eats hills and sunbeams.”

112. “To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness.”

113. “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 Quotes That’ll Get You to Explore the Wilderness

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

115. “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees.”

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

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

118. “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 be always seems the best.”

119. “Doubly happy, however, is the man whom lofty mountain tops are within reach, for the lights that shine there illumine all that lies below.”

120. “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.”

121. “Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose we came from the woods originally. But in some of nature’s forests, the adventurous traveler seems a feeble, unwelcome creature; wild beasts and the weather trying to kill him, the rank, tangled vegetation, armed with spears, and stinging needles, barring his way and making life a hard struggle.”

122. “The more I see of deer, the more I admire them as mountaineers. They make their way into the heart of the roughest solitudes with smooth reserve of strength, through dense belts of brush and forest encumbered with fallen trees and boulder piles, across canons, roaring streams, and snowfields, ever showing forth beauty and courage.”

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

124. “Even the sick should try these so-called dangerous passes because, for every unfortunate they kill, they cure a thousand.”

125. “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.”

Informative John Muir Quotes on Why We Should Conserve Nature

126. “The practical importance of the preservation of our forests is augmented by their relations to climate, soil, and streams.”

127. “This is Nature’s own reservation, and every lover of wildness will rejoice with me that by kindly frost it is so well defended.”

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

129. “Every other civilized nation in the world has been compelled to care for its forests, and so must we if waste and destruction are not to go on to the bitter end, leaving America as barren as Palestine or Spain.”

130. “The making of the far-famed New York Central Park was opposed by even good men, with misguided pluck, perseverance, and ingenuity, but straight right won its way, and now that park is appreciated. So we confidently believe it will be with our great national parks and forest reservations.”

131. “If people, in general, could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.”

132. “Our crude civilization engenders a multitude of wants, and lawgivers are ever at their wits’ end devising. The hall and the theater and the church have been invented, and compulsory education. Why not add compulsory recreation? Our forefathers forged chains of duty and habit, which bind us notwithstanding our boasted freedom, and we ourselves in desperation add link to link, groaning and making medicinal laws for relief. Yet few think of pure rest or of the healing power of Nature.”

133. “Pollution, defilement, squalor are words that never would have been created had man lived conformably to Nature. Birds, insects, bears die as cleanly and are disposed of as beautifully as flies. The woods are full of dead and dying trees, yet needed for their beauty to complete the beauty of the living. How beautiful is all death!”

134. “How little note is taken of the deeds of Nature! What paper publishes her reports? Who publishes the sheet music of the winds, or the written music of water written in river lines? Who reports and works and ways of the clouds, those wondrous creations coming into being every day like freshly upheaved mountains? And what record is kept of Nature’s colors? The clothes she wears? Of her birds, her beasts, her livestock?”

135. “These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty dollar.”

John Muir Quotes on His Beliefs and Faith in God

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

137. “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.”

138. “In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world, the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.”

139. “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.”

140. “God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds, and forms, and all kinds of civilizations, and peoples, and beasts, saturating all and fountainizing all.”

Funny John Muir Quotes That Express His Wit

141. “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.”

142. “I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God, than in church thinking about the mountains.”

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

144. “Nothing dollarable is safe.”

More John Muir Quotes You’ll Want to Read

145. “The world, we are told, was made especially for man. A presumption not supported by all the facts. A numerous class of men is 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.”

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

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

148. “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.”

149. “Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed, chased, and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones.”

150. “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.”

151. “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.”

152. “You may be a little cold some nights on mountain tops above the timberline, 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.”

153. “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.”

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

155. “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.”

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

157. “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.”

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

159. “From the dust of the earth, from the common elementary fund, the Creator has made homo sapiens. From the same material, he has made every other creature, however noxious and insignificant to us. They are earth-born companions and our fellow mortals.”

160. “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.”

What Do You Love Most About Nature?

Nature is one of the most significant and most unique features the world has. However, many people forget the beauty it holds and neglect it. 

John Muir looked at it differently and saw the beauty behind it. He spent his lifetime advocating for preserving this wonder and successfully brought significant influence in the modern era.

His idea of nature is here to remind us that there is more to it that can be seen with the naked eye. We just have to have the drive to explore and discover the beauty in it. So go out, walk far and wide, and look around to see all that the world has to offer.

Do you love the outdoors too? Which quote is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.