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Places Important to John Muir

For a short list, see John Muir's World Travels.



The World



  • For updated informatioon about John Muir in Canada, see the extensive list of resources on John Muir in Canada on the John Muir Global Network.


New Zealand




South America

United States of America

  • General


    • Alabama
        • General
          • On November 23, 1897, John Muir visited Mobile, Alabama. He enjoyed the fine forest of Magnolia trees, tupelo, and fine live oak. Upon learning that his botanical friends were unable to prevent destruction of these as road making in straight line ruthlessly cut through glorious magnolias and Tupelos, he wrote in his journal, " This hurts my heart."
    • Writing in July 1896 to his daughter Wanda, Muir wrote "Nebraska is monotonously level like a green grassy sea - no hills or mountains in sight for hundreds of miles. Here, too, are cornfields without end and full of promise this year, after three years of famine from drouth. (From Life and Letters of John Muir. vol. 2, 1924.)

    • On his first visit to New York in 1868, Muir stayed on the ship until he sailed to California. He wrote, "My walks extended but little beyond sight of my little schooner home. I saw the name Central Park on some of the street-cars and thought I would like to visit it. but fearing that I might not be able to find my way back, I dared not make the adventure. I felt completely lost in the vast throngs of people, the noise of the streets, and the immense size of the b buildings. Often I thought I would like to explore the city if, like a lot of wild hills and valleys, it was clear of inhabitants."
    • Late, Muir wrote, "I can make my exhilarated way over an unknown ice-field or sure-footedly up a titanic gorge, but in these terrible canyons of New York, I am a pitiful, unrelated atom that loses itself at once."
    • Years later, with his friend and editor Robert Underwood Johnson, he visited Central Park, where he was interested in the glacial scratchings on outcroppings of granite.
    • In later years, Muir spent time in the Hudson River Valley, visiting friends John Burroughs and Osborn.

    • John Muir Visited Grandfather Mountain 100 Years Ago (defunct offsite link to Grandfather Mountain)

  • South Dakota
    • Black Hills: Writing on July 6, 1896 to his daughters, Muir wrote: "South Dakota, by the way we came, is dry and desert-like until you get into the Black Hills. The latter get their name from the dark color they have in the distance from the pine forests that cover them. The pine of these woods is the ponderosa or yellow pine, the same as the one that grows in the Sierra, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and all the West in general. No other pine in the world has so wide a range or is so hardy at all heights and under all circumstances and conditions of climate and soil. This is near its eastern limit, and here it is interesting to find that many plants of the Atlantic and Pacific slopes meet and grow well together....
      " How wonderful you would think this hollow in the rocky Black Hills is! It is wonderful even to me after seeing so many wild mountains -- curious rocks rising alone or in clusters, gray and jagged and rounded in the midst of a forest of pines and spruces and poplars and birches, with a little lake in the middle and carpet of meadow gay with flowers. It is in the heart of the famous Black Hills where the Indians and Whites quarreled and fought so much. The whites wanted the gold in the rocks, and the Indians wanted the game -- the deer and elk that used to abound here. As a grand deer pasture this was said to have been the best in America, and no wonder the Indians wanted to keep it, for wherever the white man goes the game vanishes.
      "We came here this forenoon from Hot Springs, fifty miles by rail and twelve by wagon. And most of the way was through woods fairly carpeted with beautiful flowers. A lovely red lily, Lilium Pennsylvanicum was common, two kinds of spiraea and a beautiful wild rose in full bloom, anemones, calochortus, larkspur, etc., etc., far beyond time to tell. But I must not fail to mention linnsea. How sweet the air is!" From Life and Letters of John Muir. vol. 2, 1924.)

  • Tennessee


      • Texas
        • On November 27, 1897, Muir took the train across Texas on his way back home from an eastern botanizing expedition. Noting that nearly all of western Texas was a splendid garden of Yucca lilies, grass, compositae, and sage, he thought it must be a fine sight in the springtime flowering period.
        • A blogger for the Texas Master Naturalist program notes, "the ultimate icon of the true naturalist was John Muir. The idea that he never spent much of his considerable talent in the Lone Star state is our loss; he was drawn to places of—forgive me—extraordinary majestic beauty... I cannot think of any one single man who did more in his lifetime to force us to examine our relationship with nature."


        • Muir visited the Salt Lake City area in 1877 with the U.S. Geodetic Survey, and wrote of the Mormon pioneer descendents, mountain storm scenery, Utah lilies, and bathing in the Great Salt Lake in several chapters of Steep Trails.
        • Years later, in 1913, Muir visited the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City where he heard "memorable organ music," especially "Nearer, my God to Thee," which he described as "so devout, so sweet, so whispering low." (John Muir's August 1913 "Island Park" Idaho journal.)

        • Mt. Mansfield in the Green Mountains - highest peak in Vermont - John Muir wrote that he had gone up "to the snowy summit" of this peak in October, 1898.

      • Washington, D.C.

          • General
          • "The Capitol he summed up as "fine grounds, acres of marble . " The Congressional Library he described as "gaudy in fresco, but tomby, sepulchral in blue vivid marble outside and in, overdecorated. "The Washington Monument he found "the finest of all the stone things hereabouts." But not until he reached the Zoo did he wax enthusiastic : "We saw lots of deer, buffaloes, bears, birds . . . . But the queerest and funniest were the kangaroos and a lot of coons . . . sunning themselves in the forks of . . . a big dead tree." (Wolfe, pg. 279).

          • Muir is Still Here, by Daryl Christensen and Kathleen McGwin - summary of book featuring Muir's boyhood ties to Marquette County, Wisconsin.

        • Fountain Lake Farm, Boyhood Home, near Montello (Buffalo Township, Marquette County):
          • The video below is from Wisconsin Public Television In Wisconsin - May 21, 2009 - Ice Age Trail - John Muir - 3 minute video clip showcasing Muir's boyhood home at Fountain Lake Farm, near Buffalo Township, Wisconsin, with Muir quotes and outstanding videography.

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