It’s impossible to see the redwoods in California and not be impressed.
Walking amongst these giants is a humbling, almost otherworldly experience. Redwoods – whether coastal redwoods or giant sequoias – have a quiet beauty that has lasted through the millennia, and being in the presence of one can often be hard to put in words.
Luckily, while I may not be able to really capture the beauty of a redwood, many others far more skilled with words – like John Steinback, John Muir, and Linda Hogan – have tried… and succeeded, and I’ve curated some of the best redwoods quotes from their works and several others.
Here are some of the best and most poignant quotes about redwoods: not only about their beauty and their resilience, but also about their fragility in the face of man and our need to protect them.
Best 10 Redwoods Quotes
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“A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral.” — Theodore Roosevelt
“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always.” — John Steinbeck
“Walking, I can almost hear the redwoods beating. And the oceans are above me here, rolling clouds, heavy and dark. It is winter and there is smoke from the fires. It is a world of elemental attention, of all things working together, listening to what speaks in the blood. Whichever road I follow, I walk in the land of many gods, and they love and eat one another. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” — Linda Hogan
“There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods.” — Theodore Roosevelt
“No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” — John Steinbeck
“I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.” — Anne Lamott
“Redwood time moves at a more stately pace than human time. To us, when we look at a redwood tree, it seems to be motionless and still, and yet redwoods are constantly in motion, moving upward into space, articulating themselves and filling redwood space over redwood time, over thousands of years.” — Richard Preston
“For the morning glory, eternity is a day; for the redwood, a thousand years.” ― Marty Rubin
“Gigantic second and third growth trees are found in the redwoods, forming magnificent temple-like circles around charred ruins more than a thousand years old.” — John Muir
“This land is your land, this land is my land. From California to the New York island. From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. This land was made for you and me.” — Woody Guthrie
“All forests have their own personality. I don’t just mean the obvious differences, like how an English woodland is different from a Central American rain forest, or comparing tracts of West Coast redwoods to the saguaro forests of the American Southwest… they each have their own gossip, their own sound, their own rustling whispers and smells. A voice speaks up when you enter their acres that can’t be mistaken for one you’d hear anyplace else, a voice true to those particular tress, individual rather than of their species.” — Charles de Lint
Quotes About Redwoods and Resilience
“I know what every colored woman in this country is doing… Dying. Just like me. But the difference is they dying like a stump. Me, I’m going down like one of those redwoods. I sure did live in this world.” — Toni Morrison
“The redwood is one of the few conifers that sprout from the stump and roots, and it declares itself willing to begin immediately to repair the damage of the lumberman and also that of the forest-burner.” — John Muir
“The coast redwood is a so-called relict species. It is a tiny remnant of a life form that once spread in splendor and power across the face of nature. The redwood has settled down in California to live near the sea, the way many retired people do.” ― Richard Preston
“What can the redwoods tell us about ourselves? Well, I think they can tell us something about human time. The flickering, transitory quality of human time and the brevity of human life – the necessity to love.” — Richard Preston
“If you want to grow a giant redwood, you need to make sure the seeds are ok, nurture the sapling, and work out what might potentially stop it from growing all the way along. Anything that breaks it at any point stops that growth.” — Elon Musk
“It is foolish to let a young redwood grow next to a house. Even in this one lifetime, you will have to choose. That great calm being, this clutter of soup pots and books– Already the first branch-tips brush at the window. Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.” — Jane Hirshfield
“Ideas are like seeds, apparently insignificant when first held in the hand. Once firmly planted, they can grow and flower into almost anything at all, a cornstalk, or a giant redwood, or a flight across the ocean. Whatever a man imagines, he can achieve.” — Charles Lindbergh
“Virtually all native cultures that have survived without fouling their nests have acknowledged that nature knows best, and have had the humility to ask the bears and wolves and ravens and redwoods for guidance.” — Janine Benyus
“Nature is very clear on this. In fact, there’s one fundamental law that all of nature obeys that mankind breaks everyday. Now this is a law that’s evolved over billions of years and the law is this: nothing in nature takes more than it needs. A redwood tree doesn’t take all of the soil’s nutrients, just what it needs to grow.” — Tom Shadyac
Quotes About the Beauty of Redwood Forests
“Do behold the king in his glory, King Sequoia. Behold! Behold! seems all I can say…. Well may I fast, not from bread but from business, bookmaking, duty doing and other trifles…. I’m in the woods woods woods, and they are in mee-ee-ee…. I wish I were wilder and so bless Sequoia I will be.” — John Muir
“A redwood is a fractal. And as they put out limbs, the limbs burst into small trees, copies of the redwood.” — Richard Preston
“No one knows exactly when or where the redwood entered the history of life on earth, though it is an ancient kind of tree and has come down to our world as an inheritance out of deep time.” — Richard Preston
“But more impressive than the facts and figures as to [redwoods] height, width, age, etc., are the entrancing beauty and tranquility that pervade the forest, the feelings of peace, awe and reverence that it inspires.” — George MacDonald
“What a dull universe it would be if everything in it conformed to our expectations, if it held nothing to surprise or baffle us or confound our common sense. A century ago no one foresaw the existence of black holes, an expanding universe, oceans on Jupiter’s moons, or DNA. What could be more enriching than to know that we share a common origin with all living things, that we are kin to chimpanzees, redwoods and mollusks? And isn’t it a source of wonder to realize that the iron in our blood and the calcium in our bones were created in the bellies of supernovas?” — Steven Pinker
“People here had redwood trees in their backyards. You were never far from the infinite.” ― Amy Stewart
“Going up north with the redwoods and driving along the coast, it’s got everything, man. It’s got the desert, the mountains, and the ocean. It’s beautiful.” — Chad Smith
“My eyes are constantly wide open to the extraordinary fact of existence. Not just human existence, but the existence of life and how this breathtakingly powerful process, which is natural selection, has managed to take the very simple facts of physics and chemistry and build them up to redwood trees and humans.” — Richard Dawkins
“Redwood rainforest has five to 10 times the biomass – that’s the sheer weight of living material – of, say, deep tropical rainforest in the Amazon basin.” — Richard Preston
“When you get up into the crown of a redwood tree, you lose sight of the ground entirely. You also lose sight of the sky. And you’re in a lost world. You’re in an undiscovered, unexplored ecosystem, somewhere between Heaven and Earth, filled with forms of life, not all of which have been given names by scientists yet.” — Richard Preston
“Dark redwoods, transparent pale-leved birches.
In their delicate network, a sliver of the moon.
I describe this for I have learned to doubt philosophy
And the visible world is all that remains.” — Czeslaw Milosz
“The mornings along the coast where the fog and mist meet with the salty spray of the seas is one of my favorite smells. I love the smell in the evergreen forest just after it rains. The redwood forest in California has the coast, too, so you have the best of everything!” — Paul Walker
Redwoods Quotes About Conservation
“To sustain an environment suitable for man, we must fight on a thousand battlegrounds. Despite all of our wealth and knowledge, we cannot create a redwood forest, a wild river, or a gleaming seashore.” — Lyndon B. Johnson
“Nature is a tenacious recycler, every dung heap and fallen redwood tree a bustling community of saprophytes wresting life from the dead and discarded, as though intuitively aware that there is nothing new under the sun. Throughout the physical world, from the cosmic to the subatomic, the same refrain resounds. Conservation: it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.” — Natalie Angier
“Look at the bark of a redwood, and you see moss. If you peer beneath the bits and pieces of the moss, you’ll see toads, small insects, a whole host of life that prospers in that miniature environment. A lumberman will look at a forest and see so many board feet of lumber. I see a living city.” — Sylvia Earle
“It’s very important that we keep these special, wild places. It defines the United States. Imagine our country without our national parks and our monuments. Here in California, imagine if you didn’t have in Southern Cal the Channel Islands or the great Highway 1, Big Sur up to Point Reyes up to the Redwood country.” — Douglas Brinkley
“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.” — John Muir
“When a chainsaw rips into a 2,000 year old redwood tree, it’s ripping into my guts.” — David Foreman
“For millennia the two-million-acre redwood ecosystem thrived and sheltered myriad species of life. In the last 150 years, 97 percent of the original redwood forests have been destroyed by timber corporations. … Big business cut-and-run logging operations have instilled a false dichotomy: jobs versus the environment.” — Julia Hill
“What have we done with our forests? Chopped them, and burned them, and wasted them; and now almost the last of the great stands of timber are here on the Pacific slope. We are in the center of the best of them. Probably nowhere on earth does there exist a forest to compare in continuous grandeur and unqualified beauty with the Redwoods that are found along the Eel River and to the north.” — Madison Grant
“Amory Lovins says the primary design criteria he uses is the question How do we love all the children? Not just our children, not just the ones who look like us or who have resources, not just the human children but the young of birds and salmon and redwood trees. When we love all the children, when that love is truly sacred to us in the sense of being most important, then we have to take action in the world to enact that love. We are called to make the earth a place where all the children can thrive.” — Starhawk
“Any fool can destroy trees, they cannot run away.” — John Muir
“It’s a sign of respect and connection to learn the name of someone else, a sign of disrespect to ignore it. And yet, the average American can name over a hundred corporate logos and ten plants. Is it a surprise that we have accepted a political system that grants personhood to corporations, and no status at all for wild rice and redwoods? Learning the names of plants and animals is a powerful act of support for them. When we learn their names and their gifts, it opens the door to reciprocity.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer
“Between the redwoods, growing up and enjoying nature, camping on almost every vacation, and getting to go to summer camp in the Adirondacks, it was really very apparent to me that we had to preserve what we had on the earth.” — Bonnie Raitt
Funny Redwoods Quotes
“Son, never throw a punch at a redwood.” — Tom Selleck
“A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.” — Adlai E. Stevenson
“Parrots, tortoises and redwoods live a longer life than men do; Men a longer life than dogs do; Dogs a longer life than love does.” — Edna St. Vincent Millay
“Let me put it this way. According to my girth, I should be a ninety-foot redwood.” — Erma Bombeck
Redwoods Captions & Puns
Wood you believe these trees are thousands of years old?
Adventure is dangerous but root-ine is lethal
Walking in a redwood forest is a treet.
The redwoods are my retreet.
Shall I compare tree to a summer’s day?
How tall do you think that redwood is? I’m stumped.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say the redwood is my favorite tree.
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Allison Green is a travel blogger, writer, and podcaster who grew up in the Bay Area of California. She has spent time living in New York, Prague, and Sofia, where she currently calls home in between visits to California. She has traveled to 60 countries before the age of 30 while running several digital travel businesses. Her writing and podcast have been featured in Forbes, CBC Canada, National Geographic, the Huffington Post, and CNN Arabic, amongst others. She’s obsessed with dogs, wine, and anywhere she can see the ocean.