Retracing John Muir's Travels

This World Wide Web page written by Dan Styer;
http://www.oberlin.edu/physics/dstyer/Muir/;
last updated 21 June 2015.

Technical note: To access the links marked (PDF) you must first download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader or Open Standard software.


The naturalist John Muir, sometimes called "the father of the national parks," is best known for his travels in California and Alaska, and for his extensive and quotable writings. But I have concentrated on his journeys before 29 March 1868 when, just one month shy of his 30th birthday, he first set foot in California.

Overall map of Muir's early travels.


The most prominent of these journeys came in 1867 when, at age 29 years, he walked from Louisville, Kentucky, to Cedar Key, Florida. He tells the story of that journey in his book A Thousand-Mile Walk To the Gulf (published posthumously in 1916).

"John Muir's Crossing of the Cumberland" is both a map and an essay (PDF) concerning the part of that walk on 10, 11, and 12 September 1867. (Published in the Winter 2010/2011 issue of the John Muir Newsletter.)

"John Muir's Walk Across the Appalachians" is both a map and an essay (PDF) concerning the part of that walk from 14 through 22 September 1867.

John Muir, Captain Simmons, and the "sun-drenched palm garden" of Florida.

The route of the Florida Railroad followed by Muir from Fernandina to Cedar Key.

Plants mentioned in A Thousand-Mile Walk To the Gulf.

Other people who are interested in retracing the "Thousand-Mile Walk" route.



Uncovering quotations by John Muir.

John Muir's Snow Avalanche Ride: When and Where?



I have also investigated some of the California geography that attracted Muir. Concerning Twenty Hill Hollow near Snelling, California:

Map of sites, based upon the work of Robert Bauer.


Concerning My First Summer in the Sierra (published 1911, about a trip made in 1869):

Resources for retracing John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra.

Location (PDF) of the Tuolumne Camp described in My First Summer in the Sierra.

Map of sites visited in My First Summer in the Sierra.


Concerning The Mountains of California (1894):

Map of Sierra mountain passes and lakes mentioned in The Mountains of California.

"The Forests", chapter 8 of The Mountains of California.


Concerning Our National Parks (1901):

"The Forests of the Yosemite Park", chapter 4 of Our National Parks.


Concerning The Yosemite (1912):

"The Trees of the Valley", "The Forest Trees in General", and "The Big Trees", chapters 5, 6, and 7 of The Yosemite.



Muir travelled to Alaska seven times:

Map concerning Muir's trip of 1879, as described in Travels in Alaska "Part 1: The Trip of 1879".

Map concerning Muir's trip of 1880, as described in Travels in Alaska "Part 2: The Trip of 1880".

Map concerning Muir's trip of 1881, as described in The Cruise of the Corwin.

In Muir's trip of 14 June -- September 1890, he visited Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay. It is described in Travels in Alaska "Part 3: The Trip of 1890".

In Muir's trip of 2 August -- 21 August 1896 he was accompanied by Henry Fairfield Osborn.

In Muir's trip of 7 August -- September 1897 he was accompanied by C.S. Sargent and William Canby.

In the summer of 1899 Muir was part of the Harriman expedition.



My favorite John Muir writings.

I have read every book published by John Muir. Not every article, not every letter, not every journal entry, but still a substantial number of words. Muir's most popular books are probably Stickeen and My First Summer in the Sierra. But my favorites are