On the trail of John Muir: Hiking in the naturalist’s footsteps around Northern California

John Muir had a passion for the outdoors that’s legendary and his extensive writings include accounts of his California adventures, ascending Mount Shasta in a snowstorm, walking all the way from San Francisco to Yosemite, and simply sauntering around Mount Wanda with his two daughters near his Martinez Ranch.

Muir first arrived in San Francisco from New York by Steamer on March 27, 1868, according to newspaper accounts. At the time, he was 30 years old, and the story goes that Muir asked a carpenter on Market Street for the fastest route out of town to “anywhere that’s wild.” Upon receiving the suggestion to go to Yosemite, he hopped on a ferry to Oakland and walked all the way to Yosemite Valley.

Thus began Muir’s love affair with the natural wonders of the Golden State. He went on to travel all over the country, but often came back to California and especially Yosemite, where he worked as a shepherd and lived in a tiny cabin beside a creek.

He eventually settled in the state permanently at the age of 40 when he married the daughter of a physician and horticulturist Louisa Strentzel. The couple lived in Martinez, where they raised two daughters and tended to their ranch and orchard.

He once said about his ranch that it “is a good place to be housed in during stormy weather, to write in, and to raise children in, but it is not my home. Up there,” pointing towards the Sierra Nevada, “is my home.”

Learn of many of the places where Muir hiked in California…


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