Explore your public lands with Geocaching

With 1,200 miles of trails and 80 campgrounds, it’s no surprise that Department of Natural Resources-managed lands offer some of the most diverse ways to experience the outdoors.

You can cross-country ski in the shadow of Mount Rainier, enjoy one of over 25 beachfront campsites in the San Juan Islands, test out your skills on one of our expert-only downhill-only mountain bike trails or rock climb at some of the state’s most brag-worthy destinations. If you look closely, you might even find one of 3 million hidden containers, called Geocaches.

“My agency is committed to creating more opportunities for people to get out and explore our public land,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “That’s really what geocaching is all about – discovering more outdoors.”

This summer, we’re in on the game. We’re hiding five geocaches at some of our most popular trails and campgrounds. Check Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz’s social media pages over the next few months for hints.

How Geocaching Works

To find geocaches hidden along DNR trails visit Geocaching.com or use the Geocaching app and find coordinates in an area near you. Using the app or a GPS-enabled devise, navigate to the geocache’s coordinates.

Image credit: Groundspeak Inc. (dba Geocaching HQ)

Once you find a geocache, you can log your experiences online to earn points. Some geocaches can contain small items to reward navigators – make sure to replace the items with something of similar or of higher incentive for future geocachers.

Before you leave on your next geocaching adventure, don’t forget to download our mobile-ready trail maps, which will help you navigate in real-time while you’re out exploring. View and download our mobile maps at dnr.wa.gov/MobileMaps. (It’s a great idea to bring along a printed version, too!).

Leave No Trace

Anytime you’re on the trail, it’s important to be a good steward of the land. Here are some tips to cache in and trash out.

  • Stay on trail, don’t create your own
  • Pack out all of your waste
  • Respect wildlife
  • Share the trail with others
  • Don’t damage trees & plants
  • Do your part to protect our public lands

If you’re inspired to do more, look into volunteering and taking action. Geocache’s Cache In Trash Out program is an environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community.

Image credit: Groundspeak Inc. (dba Geocaching HQ)

Since 2002, CITO has helped preserve the natural beauty of cache-friendly spaces. In that time, more than 363,000 people have volunteered at 18,000 CITO events.

DNR also hosts dozens of work parties throughout the year for trail maintenance. Learn more here.

About DNR

In addition to providing opportunities for geocaching and other recreation, DNR also generates revenue for public services statewide, keep forests development-free, support clean air and water and uphold some of the highest environmental standards available.

To start exploring DNR trails, visit dnr.wa.gov/go. To learn more about geocaching, visit geocaching.com.