Hidden Valley is a pretty neat place. As one of the last stops on the way to the alpine, a lot of visitors drive right by, giving it the feeling that it is hardly ever overcrowded. It has a fascinating history as a ski area and now serves as the only winter sledding area in the park. The gentle sledding hill is especially enjoyed by younger park visitors.
And, if you want to earn a Junior Ranger badge, it is the place to be in the summer months.
Hidden Valley serves as Junior Ranger headquarters and park staff and a team of volunteers help aspiring kids (and many adults too) become Jr. Rangers. Volunteers here work alongside park rangers to help teach this area’s fascinating natural history. The programs are a wonderful way to get kids moving and give them hands-on experience learning about wildlife and lots of other fun topics.
Jr. Ranger volunteers are some of the happiest volunteers you will find anywhere. They genuinely love what they do and have a real passion for sharing the park with the next generation. Volunteers here also help hundreds of visitors with hiking advice, tips on visiting the tundra, and where wildlife hotspots are.
The following comments from one Jr. Ranger volunteer highlights a typical work day and the passion that they have for their position:
“We experience mist nets, cases of preserved brown bats, spinning pinwheels, racing bat-planes, and a rousing game(s) of bug-bat hide-n-seek! Kids of all ages love learning scientific nature concepts this way! Once dismissed, the youngsters race back to the classroom to finish the special ranger program pages in their booklets. Staff rangers and VIP rangers check for understanding and willingly sign their booklets. For those of us working the program a moment of shared accomplishment comes when we are able to swear in a new Junior Ranger, or two, or three! Personally, I can't think of a better reward or compliment for working this program than a child allowing me to pin on that badge!”
Hidden Valley was also the site of a weekly litter clean-up drop-in program. Held every Friday throughout the summer, this year’s program brought in 99 volunteers who collected over 60 pounds of trash. Held in various locations throughout the summer, the drop-in program allows visitors to just stop by and volunteer for an hour with no advance reservations.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering in Rocky Mountain National Park, please visit https://www.nps.gov/romo/getinvolved/volunteer.htm
Last updated: September 11, 2018