Lassen Volcanic National Park Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Lassen Volcanic National Park Junior Ranger web page:

You can download a copy of the Junior Ranger Activity Book and Field Journal at the above link or pickup up a booklet at the Loomis Museum, or the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. You will need to turn in the completed booklet to a park ranger in person at the park.

Kids ages 7 – 12 can participate in the Junior Ranger Program. To become a Junior Ranger at Lassen Volcanic National Park, you can (a) complete one Junior Ranger program and four other items listed below or (b) complete six of the items listed below:

  • Hike a park trail and write down the “special memories” of your hike in the journal
  • Attend a ranger-led program
  • Attend a second ranger-led program
  • Read the park newspaper and underline 15 important facts you discovered about the park and share them with a Ranger.
  • Interview a Park Ranger or Park Volunteer and ask them three questions about Lassen Volcanic National Park.
  • Write five interesting facts you learned from reading park roadside exhibits or displays.
  • Complete all pages of the Activity Book
  • Design and draw a “Preserve and Protect your National Park” poster on the back page of the Activity Book and show a Park Ranger.
  • Complete the Loomis Museum or Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center Discovery Hunt.

Once you have completed the required activities, take the completed Activity Book to one of the visitor centers to receive a certificate and Junior Ranger Patch. Lassen Volcanic National Park does not give out badges.


For children under the age of seven, Lassen Volcanic National Park has the “Chipmunk Club” where children watch for wildlife and search for signs of animals. Upon completion the child will receive a “Chipmunk Club” sticker.

The park also has a Volcano Club, where you answer questions about the park. Once completed, you return you answer sheet to a visitor center and can purchase a Volcano Club patch for a small fee.

You can also become a Junior Firefighter. The program is for children ages 7 – 12 years old. According to the park visitor guide, there is a ranger led program at 11:30 am on Thursdays. We were not in the park that day and therefore did not participate in the program.

My family visited Lassen Volcanic National Park from July 7-9, 2010. We camped at the Summit Lake South Campground, Loop D, Space 9. The difference between the North and South campground is the toilets. The North campground has flush toilets and the South campground has pit toilets. The campground was great. Even though it was full, it never had the feeling of being crowded. Our site had a nice view of Summit Lake. You could walk do the lake in a few minutes from any of the campground sites at Summit Lake.

We arrived Saturday afternoon through the South Entrance and picked up an Activity Book for Alyssa and a Chipmunk Club sheet for Samantha at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. We watched the park video, which was fantastic. It was one best park introduction videos that I have seen. Alyssa completed her first activity by completing the Visitor Center Discovery Hunt which consisted of reading displays and answering a question sheet.

After we set up camp, we walked to the Summit Lake Amphitheater, which is on the east side of the lake and attended the Summit Lake Evening Program. The program was led by Ranger Steve Zachary and was called Volcanoes of Lassen. Ranger Zachary did a wonderful job explaining and demonstrating the four types of volcanoes found in Lassen Volcanic National Park and around the world. The program was geared for all ages, was engaging and very informative.

After Ranger Zachary’s presentation I spoke to him for a few minutes and he informed me that Lassen Volcanic National Park was in the process of starting a “Green Junior Ranger Program”. Ranger Zachary stated they were waiting for the patches to come in.

On August 8, 2010, Alyssa participated in the the Junior Ranger Program led by Ranger Kathy Carlise and Volunteer Debbie Gottke. The program focused on aquatic life in the Manzanita Lake area. The program lasted about two hours. Ranger Carlise was super energetic and the kids absolutely loved her. We met at the Manzanita Lake Amphitheater and then proceeded to Manzanita Creek. Ranger Carlise talked about several different types of life in the creek. Ranger Carlise then had several Junior Ranger take the creeks temperature, then handed out small nets and glass boxes with magnifying glass. The Junior Rangers then searched for insects in the creek. Several different types of insects were found. We then walked to Manzanita Lake and again searched for insects. There was definitely more life found in the creek. After searching for insects, Ranger Carlise played a game that showed the importance of protecting the habitat. At the end of the program, Junior Rangers that had completed all required activities were awarded their Junior Ranger Patch and Certificate in front of the group.

While Alyssa participated in the Junior Ranger Program, Samantha participated in the “Sense of Wonder” program, which is a ranger led program for children ages 4 to 6. Angela, my wife, will write about that program.

After the Junior Ranger Program, Ranger Carlise offered the children the opportunity to interview her. Alyssa interviewed her and asked her several questions about volcanoes. After the interview, Alyssa had met the requirements of the Junior Ranger Program and was rewarded her patch and certificate.

I really enjoyed both Ranger Zachary’s and Ranger Carlise’s presentations. Ranger Carlise explained to me that another Junior Ranger Program offered later in the week focused on volcanoes. There were also several other types of Ranger led programs throughout the week. The Junior Ranger Program really encouraged the child to get out, explore and learn by attending program, talking to rangers and hiking trails.

After the Junior Ranger Program, we decided to hike to Bumpass Hell. Bumpass Hell is one of the few places you can see hydrothermal activity. We decided to take a longer route and started the hike from the Kings Creek Picnic Area which was a 5 mile round trip. On the way to Bumpass Hell, you walk past Cold Boiling Lake, where you will see the cold springs bubbling to the surface. On the way back from Bumpass Hell we sighted a Pine Marten and got some good pictures.


On August 9, 2010, we hiked to Lassen Peak. The park is currently restoring the trail, so before you plan your trip, check to make sure the trail won’t be closed. The hike is a 5 mile round trip that starts at 8500 feet elevation with a 1957 feet elevation gain reaching an elevation of 10457 feet at the top. It was a great and rewarding hike as the views were fantastic.

As always when we finish a strenuous hike, we try to reward the girls with ice cream, so we drove to the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center for soft serve. Prior to getting ice cream, we reported our sighting of the Pine Martin. We were informed it was the first reported sighting of the year. 

While at the Visitor Center, the girls were dancing around, Angela went to grab and hug them. In doing so, her leg twisted and she severely dislocated her knee. The good thing about that is it happened in the Visitor Center and not the trail to Lassen Peak. I want to thank the staff who assisted and responded, especially Ranger Amber Shettler. Ranger Shettler held Angela’s leg for well over 30 minutes to ease the pain while waiting for emergency personnel. Thanks Amber.

That was the exciting part of the trip. We were planning on leaving the next day; however, I didn’t think Angela would be very happy about sleeping in a trailer. The ambulance took her to Red Bluff, while I went back to the camp site and packed up. By the time I got to the hospital, Angela’s knee was back in place. We waited a few hours to be discharged and started our way home.