A partnership of the National Park Service and the United States Forest Service.

The Essence of Sierra Wilderness


Sundown at Tioga, Tioga Peak, 1930, Color woodblock print. Nestling at the foot of a high, clear-cut mountain sleeps Tioga Lake in silence, waiting, with the spotless skies above, for the curtain of night to fall and to envelop all in the mysterious quietness of the oncoming night.

In the Summer of 1927, renowned Japanese artist Chiura Obata first visited the Sierra Nevada. This first experience of the Sierra’s “Great Nature” forever changed his life and artwork. The paintings and woodblock prints inspired by this trip are among the most well known of his works. In these images, Obata captures the essence of Sierra Wilderness unlike any other artist.

Obata's works are moving depictions of Sierra Wilderness, and his lifestory is one of American tragedy and triumph. In 1938, Chiura Obata was called “one of the most accomplished artists in the West” by Time Magazine, yet four years later, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was placed in a desert internment camp in Topaz, Utah.

To learn more of Obata's story and to see some of his inspiring works, visit The Great Nature of Chiura Obata.

Note: the Great Nature website will be incorporated into SierraWild.Gov shortly. For the time being it remains an external Flash driven website.