Please click on the following link for the official Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Junior Ranger link:
Kids of any age can participate in this program. If you are 5-8 years old, you can earn the Jay Award. Those 9-12 work for the Raven Award. Are you 13-103? You can earn the Senior Patch. The official websites states you can purchase a Junior Ranger Booklet at any Visitor Center; however, when we went to the Visitor Center it was free. You can earn a badge or patch, but for a small fee, you can receive both. My 5 year old daughter earned the Jay Award and the patch received corresponded with that level. I assume that there is a different patch for each level.
In this blog, I will discuss the requirements for completing the program for ages 5-8 years old and the actual activities my daughter completed to earn the Jay Award.
It should be noted that you do not need to visit both parks to become a Junior Ranger. All activities can be done in one park, but if you do visit both, there is only one Junior Ranger Program for both parks.
Requirements for Junior Ranger ages 5-8 years old:
1. Complete all sections in the Junior Ranger booklet that match your age level
2. Collect one small bag of litter or collect a bag of items that can be recycled
3. Take the completed booklet to a campfire program or any park visitor center
There were five activities in the booklet to complete:
1. Take a Hike – You could either attend a Ranger led program, walk a self-guided trail, or walk on any other trail
2. Save the Bears – An activity were you draw a line from natural food to a bear and draw a line from food a bear should not eat to a storage box
3. Forest Scavenger Hunt – Mark of items as you explore the forest
4. Find a Rock – Mark of rocks that you find and draw a picture of your favorite rock
5. What’s Right and Wrong with this Picture?
According to Park 2008 Summer Guide, there is a Ranger Led – Junior Ranger program on Sundays at 9:00 am at the Potwisha Campground Amphitheater that lasts 1 1/2 hours.
We visited Kings Canyon National Park on July 20, 2008 and Sequoia National Park on July 27, 2008. The program was fairly easy to complete and could probably be completed in a few hours. We went to the Visitor Center at Grant Grove to get the Junior Ranger Booklet. We hiked on the South Boundary Trail which is a 5 mile loop with a 650 feet elevation gain. It took us about 4 hours to hike the trail with a 3 year old and a 5 year old. During stops along the way, my daughter completed most of the activities in the booklet. After the hike, we went to the picnic area in Grant Grove, ate lunch and finished the rest the activities. There are shorter hikes in the park, but we live less than an hour from the park and had planned to hike most of the day.
After completing the activities we returned to the Visitor Center at Grant Grove. The Ranger briefly looked at the completed booklet. He then had my daughter take a pledge and then awarded her with a Sequoia and Kings Canyon Junior Ranger Badge. I then inquired about the patch and we paid the small fee to get the patch for the Jay level. Please see scanned pictures below.
The next weekend, we visited Sequoia National Park and hiked on the Tokopah Valley Trail to Tokopah Falls. It is a 3.6 mile out and back hike with a 500 feet elevation gain. It was a fairly easy hike and we completed it in about 3 hours. On the hike we saw a young bear and at the falls saw a very curious marmot.