Royal Edinburgh Military TattooSt Michael's MountFanad Lighthouse in County Donegal, IrelandCaerphilly CastleInverary Highland GamesTower Bridge, LondonGuinness Storehouse, DublinPowis Castle and GardensScottish pipe bandBamburgh Castle, NorthumberlandGiant's CausewayFfestiniog RailwayGlenshane Country Farm

Follow in the footsteps of John Muir

Known to many as the ‘Father of the National Parks’ in the USA, John Muir was born in Scotland and spent the first 11 years of his childhood there. On a tour of the UK, why not discover his roots?


John Muir was born in Dunbar on the south east coast of Scotland on 21 April 1838. Recognised today as a pioneer of the conservation movement, Muir grew up exploring the rugged coastline and rolling farmland near to where he lived.

When he was 10 years old, John’s father took the family to the United States, and this was where he spent most of the rest of his life. Muir’s love of the wilderness led to him playing an important role in the creation of several National Parks in the US, including Yosemite, and his books continue to inspire people with a love of the natural world. Muir made a homecoming journey to Scotland in 1893 and many of the places he visited can still be explored today.

For those interested in tracing John Muir’s early life, the best place to start is at John Muir’s Birthplace museum in Dunbar. The museum is located in the house where Muir spent his early years and the exterior has been restored to look much as it would have done in 1838. It offers a fascinating insight into his life, from his Scottish upbringing through to his adventures in the American wilderness.

jmb_012_-_Copy.jpgJohn Muir's Birthplace in Dunbar, Scotland

In 2014, the 100th anniversary of Muir’s death, a new coast-to-coast walking and cycling route, the John Muir Way, was opened, which stretches 134 miles across Scotland, from Helensburgh on the west coast to Dunbar in the east. There are numerous historic landmarks to see along the way, as well as breathtaking natural scenery, and the route passes through Edinburgh, the magnificent capital of Scotland.

The John Muir Trust is in Pitlochry, on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands of Scotland. Inspired by the life and work of John Muir, the Trust was set up to conserve and protect wild places, for the wellbeing of wildlife and people, and its Wild Space visitor centre is packed with inspiring photographs as well as a stirring film about the Trust’s work.

A tour following in the footsteps of John Muir should, of course, include the natural splendours of the UK’s National Parks, the creation of which was inspired by the National Park movement in the US. The Cairngorms National Park is the UK’s largest and boasts dramatic mountain landscapes and ancient pine forests, as well as romantic castles and historic whisky distilleries. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs was Scotland’s first National Park and can be explored by steamship on beautiful Loch Katrine. Just over the border in England, the Lake District National Park, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been inspiring writers and visitors for centuries. 

000811_-_Copy.jpgJohn Muir's Birthplace

Muir was influenced by Wordsworth, the leading poet of the English Romantic Movement, who spent much of his life in the Lake District, so a visit to this beautiful area of England is not to be missed. Muir was also known to appreciate the works of Robert Burns and could recite Burns from memory, so a visit to Ayrshire in Scotland to explore the life and inspirations of one the world’s best known poets is also highly recommended. The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in the picturesque village of Alloway, near Ayr, is a fantastic National Trust property which is well worth a visit. 

Although he spent most of his life in the United States, Muir never forgot his Scottish roots, which helped to create his love for the natural world. In his autobiography, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, he wrote: “When I was a boy in Scotland I was fond of everything that was wild, and all my life I’ve been growing fonder and fonder of wild places and wild creatures.”

If you or your group would like to follow in the footsteps of John Muir on a tailor-made tour of Scotland, or indeed the UK, please do contact our friendly team.

John Muir in America

When they arrived in the United States, the Muir family established a farm in Wisconsin. After studying at university and travelling around North America, John Muir finally settled in San Francisco, from where he visited Yosemite for the first time. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape and spent much time there, trekking, exploring and even living in a small cabin on Yosemite Creek.

His knowledge and love of the area led him into campaigning for the protection of this pristine wilderness, and his work helped persuade the US Congress to create Yosemite National Park in 1890. His activism also helped preserve Sequoia National Park and many other wilderness areas. In 1903 Muir accompanied Theodore Roosevelt on a visit to Yosemite, convincing the President that the National Park should be expanded.

Muir co-founded the Sierra Club, which carries on his work to this day as a leading environmental organisation in the USA, and his writings continue to inspire those with a love of the natural world. He is remembered in numerous place names, historic sites and monuments across the USA, and April 21 is celebrated each year as John Muir Day. 

Ready to Start Planning Your Trip?

Contact us

Email us

Phone: +44 (0)1743 360333


linkedin-icon.png youtube x pinterest-icon.png

Special Interest Tours

Garden Tours, Visit, English Gardens

Garden Tours

Visit Famous English and British Castles

Heritage Tours

Luxury Travel Tours to England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Europe

Golf Tours

Pilgrimages, Pilgrim Tour, Europe, UK


Genealogy Tours

Genealogy Tours

Choir, Concert Tours, Europe, UK

Concert Tours

Culture Tours, Europe, UK

Language and Culture Tours

Food and Wine Tours

Food and Wine Tours

Office address: Suite 1, Network House, Badgers Way, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY3 5AB, England.

Janet Redler Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13743377. VAT registration number 404 7183 14.