What is it about mountains that encapsulates our greatest adventures and triumph? Is it their unpredictable force and unmerciful weather? Their towering, grandiose height? Their demanding presence?
Humans have always been fascinated with mountains: admiring their beauty from afar and from their summits, attempting to reach the top of even the tallest and most treacherous mountains.
Even our legendary heroes and gods live among mountains. We are fascinated with the stories and quotes about mountains, the challenges we face climbing them, their role in nature, and of course their symbol for life: our journey, struggles, and triumphs.
In no particular order, I have put together a list of the 101 of the best mountain quotes (as well as some forest and trekking quotes) to inspire you to appreciate the journey, overcome your obstacles, and summit mountains – both literally and metaphorically.
Get outside and adventure on!
101 Best Mountain Quotes
1. “Without mountains, we might find ourselves relieved that we can avoid the pain of the ascent, but we will forever miss the thrill of the summit. And in such a terribly scandalous trade-off, it is the absence of pain that becomes the thief of life.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
This quote about mountains by Craig Lounsbrough encapsulates why we love mountains. Even though climbing them is painful, difficult, and sometimes deathly dangerous, mountains teach us that there is no summit without a struggle. Life would be excruciatingly boring without challenges and thrill. And without pain, how could we know bliss? Without struggle, how could we now happiness?
2. “The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir
3. “Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us, God.” – John Muir
4. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
5. “The coniferous forests of the Yosemite Park, and of the Sierra in general, surpass all others of their kind in America, or indeed the world, not only in the size and beauty of the trees, but in the number of species assembled together, and the grandeur of the mountains they are growing on.” – John Muir
6. “Everybody wants to reach the peak, but there is no growth on the top of a mountain. It is in the valley that we slog through, the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life’s next peak.” – Andy Andrews
This is one of my favorite top of the mountain quotes, where Andy Andrews does a fantastic job encapsulating the importance of life’s journey. Sure, there is a great accomplishment in the summit, but growth and learning happen along the way. It is that growth that enables us to continue to reach our life goals.
7. “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” – John Muir
8. “I’ve realized that at the top of the mountain, there’s another mountain.” – Andrew Garfield
9. “I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news” – John Muir
John Muir talks about the importance of nature and humans’ symbiotic relationship with it a lot. I like this mountain quote because it makes me think about the importance of money in our modern world. Is that truly how we should spend our days, in the quest of making money? Or will none of this matter in the end?
For me, getting into the mountains and nature itself teaches me about what is important in life, and what I can live without. When all you can carry are your necessities, you realize how the extra stuff just weighs you down.
10. “The choices we make lead up to actual experiences. It is one thing to decide to climb a mountain. It is quite another to be on top of it.” – Herbert A. Simon
This is another one of my favorite mountain quotes by Herbert A. Simon. It is one thing to decide to climb a mountain, but quite another thing to actually reach the summit. In other words, there is a huge difference between saying you will do something and the actions that follow; don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. You are your actions, not your words.
11. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” – John Muir
12. “Accidents on big mountains happen when people’s ambitions cloud their good judgment. Good climbing is about climbing with heart and with instinct, not ambition and pride.” – Bear Grylls
13. “The special forces gave me the self-confidence to do some extraordinary things in my life. Climbing Everest then cemented my belief in myself.” – Bear Grylls
14. “And if these mountains had eyes, they would wake to find two strangers in their fences, standing in admiration as a breathing red pours its tinge upon earth’s shore. These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent so that man’s weak praise should be given God’s attention.” – Donald Miller
15. “I learn something every time I go into the mountains.” – Michael Kennedy
16. “Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” – Barry Finlay
17. “You don’t need to climb a mountain to know that it’s high.” – Paulo Coelho
18. “I think I mainly climb mountains because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I never attempt to analyze these things too thoroughly, but I think that all mountaineers do get a great deal of satisfaction out of overcoming some challenge which they think is very difficult for them, or which perhaps may be a little dangerous.” – Edmund Hillary
Ah, well said. Sure there is a lot to learn from the mountains and nature, but sometimes getting out into the mountains is simply about enjoying them. Of course, there is immense satisfaction and accomplishment from overcoming them that keeps us coming back, despite the pain, freezing cold snow and winds, and dangers along the way.
19. “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” – Edmund Hillary
I am a huge fan of this quote about mountains! Probably because I can completely relate. Conquering – or reaching the summit – of a mountain is about the challenges we conquer along the way. Ultimately, it’s not about setting out to conquer something else, but the internal journey, challenges, and resolution within ourselves.
20. ”Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain.” – Edmund Hillary
21. “When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them. In a sense, they give you a challenge, and you try to express that challenge by climbing them.” – Edmund Hillary
22. “Despite all I have seen and experienced, I still get the same simple thrill out of glimpsing a tiny patch of snow in a high mountain gully and feel the same urge to climb towards it.” – Edmund Hillary
23. “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” – Henry David Thoreau
24. “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau
25. “The secret of the mountain is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no “meaning,” they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day.” – Peter Matthiessen
26. “Over every mountain, there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.” – Theodore Roethke
27. “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” – Edward Abbey
This is one of my favorite quotes about mountains. To me, it means that the most amazing views – in other words, some of the most breathtaking moments – are not easy to reach. Rather, the harder the climb, the better the view.
And I think this says a lot about life. What makes reaching a goal so satisfactory are the struggles you must overcome along the way.
28. “The lake and the mountains have become my landscape, my real world.” – Georges Simenon
29. “Bald as the bare mountain tops are bald, with a baldness full of grandeur.” – Matthew Arnold
30. “While on top of Everest, I looked across the valley towards the great peak Makalu and mentally worked out a route about how it could be climbed. It showed me that even though I was standing on top of the world, it wasn’t the end of everything. I was still looking beyond to other interesting challenges.” – Edmund Hillary
31. “I slow down when hiking. The rhythm of nature is more leisurely. The sun comes up, it moves across the sky, and you begin to synchronize to that rhythm. – John Mackey
32. “The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.” – Tennessee Williams
33. “He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
34. “Nature is my springboard. From her, I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colors and forms.” – Milton Avery
35. “Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, and robes the mountain in its azure hue.” – Thomas Campbell
36. “What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain.” – Victor Hugo
37. “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” – John Lubbock
38. “If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.” – Anatole France
39. “My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.” – Aldous Huxley
40. “Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.” – Dag Hammarskjold
41. “If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go.” –Edmund Hillary
42. “I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news” – John Muir
43. “Mountains are earth’s undecaying monuments.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
44. “Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me – I am happy.” – Hamlin Garland
45. “Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.” – Walt Whitman
46. “Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” – George Washington Carver
47. “The ground we walk on, the plants and creatures, the clouds above constantly dissolving into new formations – each gift of nature possessing its own radiant energy, bound together by cosmic harmony.” – Ruth Bernhard
48. “Mountains are only a problem when they are bigger than you. You should develop yourself so much that you become bigger than the mountains you face.” – Idowu Koyenikan
49. “We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.” – Henry David Thoreau
50. “I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe.” – Alice Walker
51. “In my afternoon walk, I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.” – Henry David Thoreau
52. “I think, every time I’m on the mountain, I’m just so thankful to be there.” – Chloe Kim
53. “A forest bird never wants a cage.” – Henrik Ibsen
54. “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” – David McCullough Jr.
I am a huge fan of this quote by David McCullough Jr. I think it’s important to remember, you do not conquer your fears and overcome obstacles for an audience, but for bettering yourself. This is an internal journey – climbing mountains and life itself. Climb so you can see the world, not so that the world can see you.
55. “I’m always astonished by a forest. It makes me realize that the fantasy of nature is much larger than my own fantasy. I still have things to learn.” – Gunter Grass
56. “Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” – Jeffrey Rasley
57. “Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.” – Greg Child
58. “Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.” – John Ruskin
59. “There’s no glory in climbing a mountain if all you want to do is to get to the top. It’s experiencing the climb itself – in all its moments of revelation, heartbreak, and fatigue – that has to be the goal.” – Karyn Kusama
60. “What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.” – Tennessee Williams
61. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss
62. “A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time.” – Mencius
63. “You need mountains, long staircases don’t make good hikers.” – Amit Kalantri
This quote about mountains makes me laugh because – well – it’s true. Long staircases do not make good hikers, mountains do. And the same goes for anything else you do in life. If you want to be good at something, that is exactly what you need to practice.
64. “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir
65. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali
66. “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” – Edward Whymper
67. “Life’s a bit like mountaineering – never look down.” – Edmund Hillary
68. “And if someday, my sons ask, “Dad, why did you choose to climb?” Smiling, I’ll reply, I climbed so you could fly.” –Mekael Shane
69. “The top of one mountain is always the bottom of another.” – Marianne Williamson
70. “Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.” – Khalil Gibran
71. “Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test it’s a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.” – Frank Herbert
72. “The summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters.” – Conrad Anker
73. “I take all day to climb mountains and then spend about 10 minutes at the top admiring the view.” – Sebastian Thrun
74. “Men climb mountains, scale heights, venture into the unexplored to prove to other men it can be done.” – Mother Angelica
75. “I’m always looking for a new challenge. There are a lot of mountains to climb out there. When I run out of mountains, I’ll build a new one.” – Sylvester Stallone
76. “Highest of heights, I climb this mountain and feel one with the rock and grit and solitude echoing back at me.” –Bradley Chicho
77. “Man can climb to the highest summits, but he cannot dwell there long.” – George Bernard Shaw
78. “There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” – Alex Lowe
79. “You don’t climb mountains without a team, you don’t climb mountains without being fit, you don’t climb mountains without being prepared and you don’t climb mountains without balancing the risks and rewards. And you never climb a mountain on accident – it has to be intentional.” – Mark Udall
80. “Women need opportunity and encouragement. If a girl can climb mountains, she can do anything positive within her field of work.” – Samina Baig
81. “If we choose to walk into a forest where a tiger lives, we are taking a chance. If we swim in a river where crocodiles live, we are taking a chance. If we visit the desert or climb a mountain or enter a swamp where snakes have managed to survive, we are taking a chance.” – Peter Benchley
82. “Mountains terrify me – they just sit about; they are so proud.“ – Sylvia Plath
83. “The mountains are a demanding, cold place, and they don’t allow for mistakes.” – Conrad Anker
84. “The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.“ – Robert M. Pirsig
85. “In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.” – Robert Green Ingersoll
86. “If you want to train for big mountain endeavors, spend time in big mountains.” – Jimmy Chin
87. “You can’t move mountains by whispering at them.” – Pink
88. “If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.” – Henry David Thoreau
89. “Mountains are like the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter who anyone is or what they do.” – Jimmy Chin
90. “As a professional climber, that’s the question you always get: Why, why, why? It’s an ineffable thing; you can’t describe it.” – Jimmy Chin
91. “Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.” – Edmund Hillary
92. “Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains.” – William Shakespeare
93. “The mainstream audience has a certain picture of what climbing is all about: man conquering mountain. But you can’t conquer a mountain, though it may conquer you.” – Jimmy Chin
Jimmy Chin is a famous mountaineer, photographer, and cinematographer of the mountains. His work has helped show the world the beauty and danger found in the mountains. If anyone knows about mountains conquering man versus man conquering mountain, it’s Jimmy.
94. “The greatest gift of life on the mountain is time. Time to think or not think, read or not read, scribble or not scribble — to sleep and cook and walk in the woods, to sit and stare at the shapes of the hills. I produce nothing but words; I consumer nothing but food, a little propane, a little firewood. By being utterly useless in the calculations of the culture at large I become useful, at last, to myself.” – Philip Connors
95. “There is no such sense of solitude as that which we experience upon the silent and vast elevations of great mountains. Lifted high above the level of human sounds and habitations, among the wild expanses and colossal features of Nature, we are thrilled in our loneliness with a strange fear and elation – an ascent above the reach of life’s expectations or companionship, and the tremblings of a wild and undefined misgivings.” – J. Sheridan Le Fanu
96. “On climbs, there is a general way we manage fear. We look at things objectively, separating out perceived risk from real risk. You can really bring down the level of fear by knowing the real risks and setting aside the others. You also know that panicking just makes things worse.” – Jimmy Chin
97. “Climbing is my art; I get so much joy and gratification from it.” – Jimmy Chin
98. “May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.” – Harley King
99. “Although I deeply love oceans, deserts, and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty.” – Victoria Erikson
100. “Over every mountain, there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.” Theodore Roethke
101. “When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.” – Wilma Rudolph
So there you have it! 101 of the best quotes about mountains to inspire you to get outside, learn something about yourself, and conquer your fears! Climbing mountains aren’t just about reaching the summit but overcoming the challenges and obstacles along the way with the people in your life you trust and love.
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Writer and Editor, Ana Pereira is a California native, inspired by Earth exploration and introspection. Recently, she spent several months exploring Africa and South Asia. She spends most of her “down-time” out in the wilderness, climbing, hiking, and beyond, and is feverishly passionate about travel and health.