Pinnacles National Park - An Undiscovered Gem

Pinnacles National Park - An Undiscovered Gem

A glance at National Park visitation statistics will reveal something interesting. Some National Parks, like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Zion National Park receive millions of visitors each year. We can certainly see why, as these parks offer an abundance of stunning panoramic views, diverse wildlife, unique geological formations, and a plethora of activities and attractions.

However, some National Parks receive very few visitors each year. Isle Royale National Park, Gates of the Arctic National Park, and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve are three examples.

Why such low visitation for parks that offer just as much wonder and joy as those most frequently visited? For the most part, the parks that receive very few visitors each year are incredibly remote, making one's journey to the parks a separate adventure all by itself!

But there is a special kind of magic in a National Park that receives very few, well, humans. At Anderson Design Group, our poster artists and illustrators particularly enjoy the National Parks that are more "off the beaten path," you could say, even more untouched by humankind, even more wild and natural.

One such National Park that we consider an "undiscovered National Park" is Pinnacles National Park. Pinnacles is a relatively new addition to the National Park roster, designated in 2013. And though the park is located in Central California, only about 200,000 explorers set foot in the park each year. But for those who do journey to this unique parkland, they're met with fantastic natural rock formations, dramatic cylindrical mountains, caves, caverns, rich foliage, and a wide range of both daytime and nocturnal animal activity. And depending on the time of year when folks venture into Pinnacles, they may get to experience all of this without ever seeing another human! What better way to immerse oneself in nature and truly take it all in?

How Pinnacles National Park was Formed

Located 125 miles southeast of San Francisco, 90 miles southeast of San Jose, 268 miles northwest of Los Angeles, and 143 miles west of Fresno, Pinnacles is not really on any of the main travel thoroughfares of central California. That may be part of why visitation numbers stay low.

Perhaps the most notable attraction of Pinnacles National Park is the stunning rock formations, many of which are unique to this area and only found within the park's boundaries. Millions of years ago, the Farallon tectonic plate went under the North American plate, causing a massive collision of tectonic plates. That's how the famous San Andreas Fault Zone formed, of which Pinnacles National Park is a part.

But that's not all that made the diverse rockscapes in the park what they are today. With the subduction of the Farallon and North American tectonic plates came a generation of volcanic activity. The volcanoes were the true artists that painted the landscape around the San Andreas Fault Zone in a visage of stunning mountains, lava formations, magma, molten rock, spires, spherical rock domes, and jagged ridges.

The volcanic activity that created Pinnacles National Park occurred 23 million years ago, yet so much of the unique formations in the park resulted from erosion. Millions of years of battering winds and torrential rains formed the exposed rocks into the unique shapes that we see today.

Highlights of the Park

A trip to Pinnacles National Park offers a unique, peaceful, usually undisturbed exploration of one of America's most diverse and unique geological formations. From the hiking trails along the rocky spires to the Talus-type caves below ground (home to 14 bat species!), adventurers are likely to see something in the park that's unlike anything they've seen before.

The park is also home to one of two California Condor release sites. This condor is the largest bird in North America, an incredible creature that almost went extinct some fifty years ago. There are currently about 400 California condors living in the wild, and Pinnacles National Park is one of their homes.

Pinnacles National Park is also home to more than 400 bee species, the largest concentration of bee species in the world.

Inspiration for Vintage Poster Art and National Park Art

In our quest to create travel art of every National Park on the roster, our artist and vintage design team at Anderson Design Group created unique and original hand-rendered designs of Pinnacles National Park, with more designs in the works for the future!

Our 62 American National Parks Collection features over 300 classic renditions of our nation's remarkable parklands, each design inspired by the vintage poster art of the Golden Age of Illustration. Our works take after the retro posters and travel ads of the WPA-commissioned artwork of the early-1900s.

When adventurers travel to National Parks, they experience the wonder of our natural planet in a way that is impossible to experience in our cities and urban areas. When we created our National Park poster collection, we wanted to give folks a way to decorate with poster art of the parks they've come to know and love. We endeavored to create the art in a whimsical, nostalgic way that would remind them of their trips to the parks (or inspire them to travel to more parks in the future!)

Each design in the National Parks art collection is hand-illustrated, inspired by our own journeys to the parks, and created in a style reminiscent of the original vintage poster art commissioned to promote the parks in the early-20th century.

So whether you want to remember a favorite family road trip or you want to create a bucket list of the parks you have yet to visit, the handcrafted poster art of Anderson Design Group makes the perfect addition to a home, office, cabin, apartment, or uptown suite. No matter the decor style, vintage artwork fits in perfectly!

And last but not least, our art team donates a portion of our profits each year to the National Park Foundation, a non-profit organization tasked with preserving and conserving our cherished parklands. When you buy poster art from us, you're quite literally helping to protect America's National Parks!

Until next time, hope to see you on the park trails,

-Ren Brabenec

Anderson Design Group Writing Staff


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