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National Park Entrance Signs – The Iconic Symbols, Colors, and Fonts

What better way to memorialize your National Parks trip than to take a picture in front of the iconic entrance sign?

Each National Park has a unique entrance sign that is a hot spot for tourists wanting to prove their presence. If you’ve ever wondered about the history of National Park signage we’ve got you covered!

In this article we’re going to tell you about some of the fonts, colors, and history of the National Park Service signs; plus we’ll share pictures of them all!

the best national park entrance signs in the US

National Park Arrowhead Icon History

One thing you’ll quickly notice at every park entrance is the iconic National Park arrowhead.

The famous emblem features a sequoia tree, mountains, and bison. The patch was designed by Dr. Aubrey Neasham in 1951. Since then, it has been displayed on park entrance signs and publications.

The logo has gone through a few iterations over the years. The current arrowhead logo was re-iterated in 2000 by the Dennis-Konetzka Design Group (DKDG) out of Washington, DC.

official arrowhead design for the national park service

What Fonts Are Used In National Park Signs?

In the year 2000, the National Park Service hired Don Meeker & Associates to create an official style guide for the park service. The group was selected to standardize the park signage and visitor information including typefaces.

Designer James Montalbano was ultimately chosen to select fonts which would be easier to read. Currently, the two official National Park fonts are Rawlinson (serif) and Frutiger (sans serif).

Prior to 1990, the official National Park Service font was Clarendon (serif). And before 1968, the parks were free to choose whichever fonts and colors they wanted!

National Park Service Colors

The NPS Pantone colors used on the Arrowhead artwork displayed across park signage are:

  • Dark Green (grass and trees) PMS 553C
  • Dark Rust (mountain) PMS 1615C
  • Medium Rust (sky) PMS 1605C
  • White (bison, lake, snowfield, and type)

Why Are National Park Entrance Signs Different?

Park entrance signs have always been a source of debate within the National Park Service. Some believe that all signage should have a consistent look to symbolize the National Park System.

Others argue that modern materials would take away from each park’s unique personality.

Entrance Signs For Each US National Park

Ultimately, the NPS decided that each park entrance sign would include the Arrowhead logo and Rawlinson and Frutiger typefaces. Support panels and structures should be sourced from local materials.

However as you’ll see below, not all National Parks have adapted their entrance signs to meet these standards.

Acadia National Park Entrance Sign

acadia national park entrance sign

The entrance sign to Acadia National Park is a great example of the current NPS style-guide. It uses the standard fonts (Rawlinson and Frutiger) as well as the official Arrowhead design.

Arches National Park Entrance Sign

arches national park entrance sign

Some parks like Arches have sourced local materials to provide structure to their signage. This one is built into stone to compliment the landscape.

Badlands National Park Entrance Sign

badlands national park entrance sign

Badlands National Park has yet to update their fonts to reflect the current park service style guide. Prior to 1968, parks were free to choose their own fonts and colors!

Big Bend National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to big bend national park in texas

Biscayne National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to biscayne national park in florida

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Entrance Sign

entrance sign to black canyon of the gunnison national park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is another example of parks not following the updated typefaces set forth by the National Park System.

The sign does however use local materials for the structure and includes a cool graphic representing the park’s famous “Painted Wall.”

Bryce Canyon National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to bryce canyon national park

Canyonlands National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to canyonlands national park

Capitol Reef National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to capitol reef national park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to carlsbad caverns national park in new mexico

Channel Islands National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to channel islands national park

Congaree National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to congaree national park

Crater Lake National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to crater lake national park in oregon

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to cuyahoga valley national park in ohio

Death Valley National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to death valley national park in california and nevada

The entrance to Death Valley National Park reflects the mountains, valley, and even gives you a glimpse of Badwater Basin.

The signage does not use the current park typefaces. Instead, it uses Helvetica which was first used in 1977 by park service designer Massimo Vignelli.

Denali National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to denali national park in alaska

Dry Tortugas National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to dry tortugas national park in florida

Everglades National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to everglades national park in florida

Gates of the Arctic National Park Entrance Sign – (not pictured)

Glacier National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to glacier national park

The entrance to Glacier National Park uses an older typeface which is not longer in use.

Glacier Bay National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to glacier bay national park

Grand Canyon National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to the grand canyon national park in arizona

Grand Teton National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to grand teton national park

Great Basin National Park Entrance Sign

great basin national park entrance in nevada

Great Sand Dunes National Park Entrance Sign

great sand dunes national park entrance in colorado

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to the great smoky mountains national park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to the guadalupe mountains national park

Haleakala National Park Entrance Sign

entrance sign to haleakala national park in hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Entrance Sign

entrance sign to hawaii volcanoes national park

Hot Springs National Park Entrance Sign

entrance sign to hot springs national park in arkansas

Isle Royale National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to isle royale national park

Joshua Tree National Park Entrance Sign

entrance sign to joshua tree national park

Katmai National Park Entrance Sign

entrance sign to katmai national park

Kenai Fjords National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to kenai fjords national park

Kings Canyon National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to kings canyon national park

The entrance sign to King’s Canyon National Park is one of our personal favorites. It uses natural materials to represent the deep canyon which drops 8,200 feet from its highest point.

Kobuk Valley National Park Entrance Sign – (not pictured)

Lake Clark National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to lake clark national park in alaska

Lassen Volcanic National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to lassen volcanic national park in california

Mammoth Cave National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to mammoth cave national park

Mesa Verde National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to mesa verde national park in colorado

Mount Rainier National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to mount rainier national park

North Cascades National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to north cascades national park

Olympic National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to olympic national park

Petrified Forest National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to petrified forest national park arizona

Redwood National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to redwood national and state parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to rocky mountain national park

Saguaro National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to saguaro national park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Entrance Sign

Saguaro National Park has a distinctive entrance sourced from local materials.

entrance to sequoia national park in california

When driving into Sequoia National Park, you are greeted by historic signage which is unlike that of any other park. It does not include the iconic arrowhead or official typefaces.

This sign was designed in 1935 by Civilian Conservation Corps craftsman George Muno. It features the same Native American profile found on the “buffalo” nickel from 1913.

It was meant to honor a Cherokee scholar named Sequoyah who invented the alphabet for his language. Many speculated that the Sequoia trees were named after Sequoyah himself.

Shenandoah National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to shenandoah national park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to theodore roosevelt national park

Voyageurs National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to voyageurs national park

Wind Cave National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to wind cave national park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to wrangell st elias national park

Yellowstone National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to yellowstone national park

Yosemite National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to yosemite national park

The Yosemite National Park entrance displays the dramatic rockfaces throughout the park including waterfalls and and the famous half-dome hike.

Zion National Park Entrance Sign

entrance to zion national park in utah

The entrance to Zion National Park is another example of older signage that uses natural materials and retired typefaces.

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