The 21 Best National Park Quotes for Your Next Adventure

Inspiring quotes about National Parks

Whether planning your first national park trip or visiting all 423 federally protected national park sites in the United States, you already know how beautiful these landscapes are.

Every year, more than 297 million people visit the National Park System—which is comprised of more than 84 million acres and is generously cared for by more than 279,000 volunteers.

Badlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sometimes words (and even photos) can’t describe the beauty of a hike or adventure through a national park—but it’s always worthwhile to try to capture the experience anyway.

I’ve curated the best quotes about national parks from conservationists, adventurers, presidents, park rangers, and even Leslie Knope (fictional character and the main protagonist of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation). I hope that as you explore these quotes, you feel energized to explore another national park.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There is nothing so American as our national parks… The fundamental idea behind the parks… is that the country belongs to the people that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.

—John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Petrified Forest National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The idea of preserving in a national grouping such spots of scenic beauty and historic memory originated here in this country. In Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, other countries have followed our pioneering example and set aside their most magnificent scenic areas as national treasures for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

—Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander during World War II and 34th President of the United States

Read Next: Plan Your Visit: Free Entrance Days in the National Parks for 2023

If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning not just after we got through it.

—Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States

Shenandoah National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you drive to, say, Shenandoah National park, or the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll get some appreciation for the scale and beauty of the outdoors. When you walk into it, then you see it in a completely different way. You discover it in a much slower, more majestic sort of way.

—Bill Bryson, journalist and author

I encourage everybody to hop on Google and type in national park in whatever state they live in and see the beauty that lies in their own backyard. It’s that simple.

—Jordan Fisher, American actor and musician

Saguaro National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Who will gainsay that the parks contain the highest potentialities of national pride, national contentment, and national health? A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness…. He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks.

—Stephen Mather, first director of the National Park Service

There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever with their majestic beauty all unmarred.

—Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, established five national parks and enacted the Antiquities Act

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Within National Parks is room—glorious room—room in which to find ourselves, in which to think and hope, to dream and plan, to rest and resolve.

—Enos Mills, American naturalist, main figure behind the creation of Rocky Mountain Natural Park

Read Next: From Arches to Zion: The Essential Guide to America’s National Parks

Our national parks belong to each of us, and they are natural places to learn, exercise, volunteer, spend time with family and friends and enjoy the magnificent beauty of our great land.

—George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States

Sequoia National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little window-sill gardens of the poor though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National parks—the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc.—Nature’s sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world.

—John Muir, American naturalist and author, also known as Father of the National Parks

Standing there, gaping at this monstrous and inhumane spectacle of rock and cloud and sky and space, I feel a ridiculous greed and possessiveness come over me. I want to know it all, posess it all, embrace the entire scene intimately, deeply, totally…

—Edward Abbey, once a park ranger at Arches, from his classic novel Desert Solitaire

White Sands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I think we’re at a moment when reminding people of the treasures that we own in common particularly in an economic crisis where it might be pleasing to realize how rich we actually are; that you and I own some of the most spectacular ocean-front property; that you and I own, together, some of the most amazing mountain ranges; the highest free-falling waterfalls on the continent; the most spectacular collection of geothermal features on Earth; and the grandest canyon in the world—that we own these together.

—Ken Burns, American filmmaker known for documentary films including The National Parks (2009) in an interview with Farmers Almanac

When lighted by the morning sun the gorgeous chasm is an immense bowl of lace and filigree work in stone, colored with the white of frost and the pinks of glowing embers. To those who have not forgotten the story books of childhood it suggests a playground for fairies. In another aspect it seems a smoldering inferno where goblins and demons might dwell among flames and embers.

The Union Pacific System, 1929

Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The noble countenances emerge from Rushmore as though the spirit of the mountain heard a human plan and itself became a human countenance.

—Frank Lloyd Wright

Read Next: The Least Visited U.S. National Parks

We will continue to fulfill our responsibilities of making sure that the landscape is not only protected, preserved, but also enhanced in the way that will be here for future folks to be able to enjoy and recreate in.

—“Chuck” Sams III, first Native American director of the National Park Service in an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting

Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quite a forest of petrified trees was discovered today…they are converted into beautiful specimens of variegated jasper. One trunk was measured ten feet in diameter, and more than one hundred feet in length…

—Lieutenant Amiel Weeks Whipple, 1853

The sequoias belong to the silences of the millenniums. Many of them have seen a hundred human generations rise, give off their little clamors and perish. They seem indeed to be forms of immortality standing here among the transitory shapes of time.

—Edwin Markham, American poet of the 19th and 20th centuries

New River Gorge National Park National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stepping out onto any lookout, you are invited to connect with an amazing example of some of the most unusual terrain on this planet, making you feel as though you are stepping foot on the edge of another world.

―Stefanie Payne, writer and blogger

It is a place where a family can rest at streamside after a pleasant morning hike. It is a vast labyrinth of narrow canyons where one can become hopelessly lost, shrinking to invisibility beneath dark, towering walls of stone. One may feel triumph and exhilaration, or awesome smallness atop Angels Landing; thirst and fatigue, or a rewarding weariness, on the return trek from the backcountry. Perhaps one’s view of Zion is in the eyes of the beholder.

—Wayne L. Hamilton, The Sculpturing of Zion

Read Next: Magnificent Off-the-Beaten Path National Parks and Monuments

Big Bend National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are very few things I have asked for in this world. To build a new park from scratch, to eventually become president, and to one day solve a murder on a train.

—Leslie Knope, fictional character and the main protagonist of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation