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John Muir Geography Cards

You may also use our clickable map to go to the non-USA sections of these Geography Cards!

1838 -- Dunbar , Scotland

John Muir was born April 21, 1838, in this small seaside village. As a boy, Muir ran through the highlands, climbed the ruins of ancient castle walls, and listened to the waves' "grand sounds" as he explored the rocky coast life.

Today, the shoreline near Dunbar is named the John Muir Country Park and residents are establishing the "John Muir Conservation Centre."

1849 -- Wisconsin , U.S.A.

In 1849, while many joined the California Gold Rush, John Muir's father, Daniel, moved his family from Dunbar, Scotland, to the backwoods of Wisconsin to establish a farm.

Today, the first Wisconsin homesite of John Muir at Fountain Lake Farm is a National Historic Landmark and a county park.

1864 -- Province of Ontario, Canada

After attending the University of Wisconsin, Muir went "botanizing" in the region north of the Great Lakes, finding various jobs in machine shops and factories. He spent part of this time in Meaford , Ontario, on the shores of Georgian Bay.

Today, the Province of Ontario is the second largest province in Canada, with many national parks.

1867 -- 1,000-Mile Walk from Kentucky to Florida

Just after the Civil War, Muir took a 1,000-mile walk to the Gulf of Mexico. He walked from Louisville, Kentucky, through Tennessee southward to the Appalachian Mountains. He went across Georgia from Athens to Augusta to Savannah. He took a boat along offshore islands to northeast Florida, then walked through Gainesville to Cedar Keys.

The story of this exciting trip is written in Muir's book, A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf. Modern day photographs of the natural places Muir visited are recorded in John Earl's book, John Muir's Longest Walk.

1868 - 1978 Yosemite

When Muir first arrived in Yosemite Valley, he fell in love with its beauty and wildness, and lived there for nearly ten years, exploring the surrounding mountains, writing, drawing, and making observations.

Today, Yosemite is one of our most visited national parks, with four million visitors every year!

1879 -- Alaska

In 1879, Muir took his first of seven trips to Alaska. The next year, he discovered what was later named the "Muir Glacier" in Glacier Bay.

Today, Glacier Bay National Park consists of eight million acres of fiords, ice-capped mountains, and glaciers.

1893 -- Europe

John Muir began and ended this trip in Dunbar , Scotland . Muir enjoyed the great glacial fiords of Norway, south of Trondheim. He also visited England. Muir toured Switzerland and saw the Matterhorn and the Gorner Glacier. He crossed the mountains to northern Italy, then visited the Lakes of Killarney in Ireland. He returned to Scotland and from his hometown of Dunbar, sailed back to the United States.

Many of these European places today are national parks, including the Lake District of England, Killarney, and parts of the Alps.

1893 -- New York and Massachusetts

Muir visited many of New York's publishers and writers. He visited the homes and gravesites of Emerson and Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts, and took a walk at Walden Pond, the setting of Henry David Thoreau's book, Walden.

Today, New York still has great influence in the publishing industry, which can affect people's views about nature and conservation. In Concord, Massachusetts, conservationists advocate greater protection for Walden Pond and the surrounding woods.

1903-1904 -- World Tour Card #1

England, France, and Germany

John Muir took this trip with the Sargent family of New York. Muir saw so many museums and art galleries in London, Paris, and Berlin that he declared he had seen "enough for a life-time."

These same museums and art galleries attract visitors from around the world. Art can provide a valuable perspective for the study of the natural world.

1903-1904 -- World Tour Card #2


John Muir became weary of more tours to museums, art galleries, old churches, and palaces. He enjoyed the forests, the Caucasus Mountains, and the Black Sea. He took the train across Siberia, through the wheat fields of the Volga and then vast forests to Vladivostok.

1903-1904 -- World Tour Card #3


John Muir entered China three different times during his world tour: into Manchuria from Vladivostok, and later at Shanghai and Canton. However, Muir became ill, which prevented him from seeing much. He was anxious to depart for the Himalaya Mountains of India.

1903-1904 -- World Tour Card #4


Arriving in Calcutta, Muir traveled first to Darjeeling, where he enjoyed magnificent sunrise views from Tiger Hill of the Himalayas, the tallest mountains in the world. Muir also traveled to Shimla, in northern India, to see the Indian cedar forests and more grand views of the Himalayas.

Today, people from all over the world take treks through the Himalayas.

1903-1904 -- World Tour Card #5


Taking a steamship from Bombay, India, Muir went to Cairo, Egypt, and saw the Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza. After a steamer trip up the Nile River to Assiout and Assuan, he returned to Cairo.

Today, visitors from all over the world go sightseeing in Egypt. The Nile River is the subject of on-going controversy over its use.

1903-1904 -- World Tour Card #6


John Muir visited zoological and botanical gardens and parks in Fremantle, Melbourne, and Sydney. He traveled inland to see the eucalyptus forests of the Great Dividing Range and took the train from Sydney to Mt. Victoria in the Blue Mountains to see the Jenolan Caves. He went to Queensland to see the Hoop Pine and saw the Great Barrier Reef from his ship.

The Narbethong Special Purposes Reserve preserves some of the beech trees, eucalyptus, and tree ferns that Muir saw on his trip.

1903-1904 -- World Tour Card #7

New Zealand

Arriving in Aukland on the north island, John Muir visited the Rotorua region of forests, hot springs, and geysers. Traveling southward, he was impressed by the volcanic peaks of Mounts Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu. On the South Island, Muir visited Christchurch's botanical gardens and Mt. Cook with Mueller Glacier at its foot.

Today, Mt. Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, is one of several New Zealand National Parks, attracting visitors from around the world.

1903-1904 -- World Tour Card #8

Japan and Hawaii

After brief stops in Timor, Indonesia; the Philippines; and Canton, China, John Muir boarded the steamship Siberia of the Pacific Steamship Line to return home. He enjoyed the gardens of Shinto shrines near Nagasaki, and from Yokohama he could see the world-famous volcano Mt. Fujiyama.

Muir stopped in Hawaii on his return trip, as millions do today, enjoying the lush tropical vegetation and views of scenic beauty such as Diamond Head near Honolulu.

1906 -- Arizona

While staying in northern Arizona with his daughter to benefit her health, John Muir explored the petrified forest region and discovered the "Blue Forest" of petrified wood. He later wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt asking him to protect it.

Today, Petrified Forest National Park preserves forests which were alive in the Triassic Period, about 225 million years ago. It allows visitors to see the beautiful petrified wood, while prohibiting its destruction or collection.

1911 -- South America

Muir explored the Amazon River basin in Brazil, including the city of Manaus and the Rio Negro. In southern Brazil, he sailed on the Iguassi River into the heart of the Araucaria forests. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, many government officials, scientists, and reporters wanted to interview him, and he was surprised that he was famous there. From Santiago, Chile, Muir traveled 500 miles to Victoria, then inland to the Andes Mountains, where he found forests of the monkey-puzzle tree. In Montevideo, Uruguay, he was asked to speak to a small group about American forests, and as usual, a large crowd turned out to hear him speak about forest conservation.

1912 -- Africa

John Muir traveled by ship from South America to Cape Town, South Africa. He visited Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and wanted to find baobab trees, which can live to 1,000 years. Although no one at his hotel knew where to find baobabs, a little barefooted Zimbabwe boy took Muir to a large grove of baobabs near the head of Victoria Falls. Muir took a steamer along the eastern coast to Mombasa, Kenya, where he made a trip inland to the source of the Nile River. He traveled to Lake Victoria where he saw the lake and nearby Ripon Falls. Muir returned to America across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

1914 -- Los Angeles, California

After coming down with pneumonia in the California desert near Barstow while visiting his daughter, John Muir was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles. He had near his bedside the manuscript of his book, Travels in Alaska. John Muir died on Christmas Eve, 1914.

Today, Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the world, with many national parks and wilderness areas nearby. These areas were protected due to John Muir's efforts and those of his followers in the Sierra Club. The newest national parks near Los Angeles are Death Valley and Joshua Tree, established as part of the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. This Act also established the Mojave National Preserve and numerous wilderness areas in the California desert.

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