Printer-friendly version Share:  Share this page on FacebookShare this page on TwitterShare this page by emailShare this page with other services

Apps and Virtual Reality

Anthologies Film and Video
Audio Historical and Literary Analyses
Biographies Internet Resources
Book Chapters Featuring John Muir The John Muir Library Series from Sierra Club Books
Bookmarks Live Presentations and Enactments
Books by John Muir Music
Children's Books Periodicals and Notable Recent Articles from Periodicals
For Educators and Youth Group Leaders Photography and Gift Books
Fiction Research Tools

First there was the World Wide Web, which this website was one of the first (even before the Internet went commercial). Then we went through Web 2.0, which allowed for user-generated content, greater interactivity, a sense of community, and ease of use, and which included the rise of massive social networks, including the John Muir Fans Group on Facebook. Meanwhile, mobile devices led to greater use of "apps" rather than mere websites, and devices like 3-D headsets promised a new future of "Virtual Reality." Then the COVID-19 Pandemic spawned a new interactive video (especially "Zoom") communications and virtual presentations, allowing people to see and converse with each other, or provide "Power Point" presentations over great distances without leaving home. Now, pundits predict The Metaverse, a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets, perhaps even "body suits." While John Muir is featured thoroughly in WWW, Web 2.0, apps, Virtual Reality, and on Zoom, only time will tell whether Muir's inspirational calls to "climb the mountains" will find a place in The Metaverse as well, or whether his call is just the opposite!


  • Explore John Muir's Yosemite - An Interactive Multimedia Installation by Nell Shaw Cohen  - Featuring Excerpts from the Writings of John Muir (1838-1914). Originally offered in two versions, including an iPad app, then available as an interactive website, and now unavailable.
  • John Muir Geotourism App - Explore the Historic John Muir Highway on your way to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California by browsing a specially curated collection of John Muir's manuscripts and letters, images, and other ethnohistorical and naturalistic information on different cultures, iconic places, vegetation, and wildlife. Students working under Professor Nicola Lercari, University of California, Merced created this app, which you may find on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
  • John Muir National Historic Site module on the official "National Park Service app" available on Apple App Store and on Google Play. Download for offline use, including maps, what to see, visitor centers, amenities, park news, etc.
  • Cell Phone AudioTour of John Muir National Histsoric Site. Take a self-guided cell phone tour of the park grounds, using the cell phone tour network provided by "OnCell". Numbered wooden posts located on walking paths around the site (but not inside the Muir home) contain the phone number to dial as well as sequential stop numbers. You can also access the audio here:
  • Cloning John Muir's Giant Sequoia - The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has successfully cloned John Muir's beloved giant sequoia, a 130 year old 75-foot-tall tree Muir planted in the early 1880s on the site of his home in Martinez, California, now part of the John Muir National Historic Site. Unfortunately, the tree is dying from two regional fungal diseases.
  • Digitizing Two Homes of John Muir - A project to document in three-dimensional digital format Scottish conservationist John Muir's homes - his birthplace in Dunbar Scotland, and his home in Martinez, California.
  • Marquette County John Muir Nature and History Route - a smart phone-friendly app guiding visitors to Muir-related sites featuring the places where Muir grew up.
  • Explore Explore John Muir's Life with Google Earth
  • Historical Marker Database - Use this site to find - and contribute to - historical markers relating to John Muir. (As of March, 2022, there are some 50 entries around the U.S.)

Virtual Reality

Although most 360 degree video can be viewed on a computer or a smart phone or tablet, moving around with your mouse or your finger on a mobile device, such videos can also be shown on VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) and as such they can be a Virtual Reality experience. the following list includes both wholly digital creations and 3D or 360 degree photographic/video creations.

  • A virtual immersive "John Muir Museum" - Concept Video - (off-site link to YouTube). Brandon Reno created a 3D video preview for a future "John Muir Museum" giving viewers a look into the future of a virtual museum designed to capture the spirit of Muir and the sense of place he evoked in his writings. Step in a visual proposal for an actual physical museum at the University of the Pacific. Note: Since this video was created the University of the Pacific has established a real-world Muir museum called "The Muir Experience" at it main library on its Stockton, California campus. "The Muir Experience" includes not only traditional museum displays, but cutting-edge touch-screen computer video experiences.
  • "A Yosemite Welcome" - Vritual Reality 3D film of John Muir in Yosemite. (2017) A 3-minute preview - (off-site link to YouTube).A 10 minute 360 degree 3D video starring Lee Stetson -available from within Oculus Store, also within the Amaze app for Oculus. After the opening title and establishing shots of Yosemite, the scene switches to Lee Stetson portraying John Muir, filmed in the nearby Stanislaus National Forest to avoid problems with NPS regulations. After introducing himself as John Muir, Stetson tells the exciting story about his first encounter with a Yosemite bear. The actual film premiered at the Mammoth Film Festival in February, 2018. "A Yosemite Welcome" won first place in the "Best VR" category at the 12th annual San Francisco Frozen Film Festival held July 18–22.
    • University Announcement - Pacific's John Muir virtual reality film to premiere at film festival - Feb 8, 2018
    • Press Release - Pacific's John Muir virtuali reality film to premiere at film festival (, 2018 - link no longer available)
  • In "Before the Dam: A Visit to Muir's Hetch Hetchy" viewers can step back in time and walk through Hetch Hetchy circa 1900 and see the valley John Muir as he saw it before it was dammed for San Francisco's water supply. This VR experiene allows you to traverse the valley floor (an impossible feat today). Along the way, you can read Muir's journals from his trips to Hetch Hetchy beginning in 1871 and see why Muir fought so hard to preserve this spectacular area. Premieres at the 18th annual Nevada City Film Festival Sept. 7, 2018. This year, the Festival is working with the University of Pacific, Stockton, to show a series of John Muir-inspired VR short films that were created by students and faculty. These projects were produced to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Muir's first trek into Yosemite Valley. Leading the project is filmmaker and NCFF alumnus Kevin Pontuti. Pontuti is the lead of the University of the Pacific's MEDIA X program, which includes film, VR and transmedia studies.
  • On the Trail of John Muir - (2016 YouTube preview) a Virtual Reality Game by Blazing Tree. This game was intended to be an educational VR experience for the Htc Vive and Occulus Rift. While the samplle YouTube preview indicates the game was "Coming Fall 2016" as of 2023 the game was never released and the Blazing Tree studio website no longer exists.
  • "Through the Ages: President Obama Celebrates America's National Parks" - from National Geographic, Felix and Paul Studios, and Oculus Studios. In this 3D 360 Virtual Reality video, Obama calls John Muir "one of our country's greatest champions of wilderness preservation." He explains how John Muir, together with Roosevelt, was"inspired to give life to one of America's best ideas - our national parks." A historic first, this VR experience provides an up-close-and-personal look at President Obama's trip to Yosemite with his family over Father's Day weekend oin 2016. Follow along as he traverses the park, interacting with students during an event tied to his "Every Kid in the Park" initiative and speaking with Don Neubacher, the [now former] Yosemite National Park Superintendent. Float along in a canoe, framed by Yosemite's forests and cliffs, as the President tells abouts John Muir's enduring legacy, and visit John Muir's cabin site. You can view this 360 degree video on Facebook. eitther with a computer or mobile device, or a VR headset. This experience is also available free on the Oculus Store for Gear VR or Oculus Rift. (August 25, 2016).
  • Pacific Trail on Oculus Rift - by Hexa 360 - YouTube preview - a narrated 3D experience for Virtual Reality using the words of John Muir.
    • News article on Pacific Trail by (May 12, 2015) - (Link no longer exists)
  • Redwoods: Walk Among the Giants - 360 Video by Discovery
  • Tour of Muir Woods Muir Woods National Monument [360 Video on YouTube] - by MindVR. You can also view in 3D on MindVR.
  • "Experience Yosemite" is a 3D immersive virtual reality experience offered in-person at the Yosemite Cinema in Oakhurst, California (which opened in July 2022). The cinema incorporates not only 3-D headsets, but special chairs to bring the experience to life. It is currently touted as the only "Positron Powered Virtual Reality theater" in the United States. According to the owner, "They can sit with John Muir as he talks with Teddy Roosevelt around the campfire watching the sparks go up, as they smell pine trees, because there's scents in these things." As the news article explains, the 17-minute experience even includes scents to really make you feel like you’re there. The Experience Yosemite program is narrated by Breaking Bad alum, Bryan Cranston. Previews show that the VR "Experience Yosemite" program includes viewing Muir with President Theodore Roosevelt during a 1903 photography session at a Giant Sequoia in the Mariposa Grove. Learn more:


  • Yosemite Through John Muir's Drawings by Mike Wurtz (August 6, 2020) (YouTube) - Watch the recorded video of this LIVE Zoom presentation on August 6, 2020. Meet Mike Wurtz from the University of the Pacific and his new book John Muir's Grand Yosemite: Musings and Sketches which features locations where Muir made his drawings, pairing them with quotes and information. University of the Pacific is the Home of the John Muir Papers. This program was a"virtual presentation" from one of our regular summer presenters at the Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center.

  • The Wilderness Mysticism of John Muir with Author and Educator Stephen Hatch - (July 10, 2021) - This presentation was broadcast live on Zoom and recorded on May 20, 2021. Not everyone realizes that John Muir was a great mystic who experienced union with the Divine through contact with the great wild areas of the West. In fact, his preservation efforts were motivated by a realization that - because all creatures are rooted in a personal Divine Presence whose love permeates all things equally – they too are sentient. For Muir, this sentience imbued even mountains, rocks, glaciers, rivers and 'spirit skies.' In this Powerpoint presentation, Stephen Hatch examines the various elements of Muir's spirituality of Nature and of the people who influenced him, including Emerson and Thoreau. Hatch's own stunning landscape photographs illustrate many of the major points.

Home | Alphabetical Index | What's New & About this Site

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2024 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.