Geocaching in Minnesota State Parks Reviews
geocaching - a treasure hunt May 19, 2009
Geocaching is becoming a popular activity worldwide and the Minnesota State Parks are getting in on the action! Geocaching uses GPS coordinates to find a hidden container with little trinkets. You can keep something you find but are strongly encouraged to leave something in its place. Common items include small toys (plastic animals, matchbox cars, etc), small paperback books, souvenir pens/pencils, geocaching coins, magnets, or other family friendly objects (but no money or food!). Make sure to sign the guestbook! If you find a trackable object, such as a travel bug, only take it if you plan on visiting another hidden cache. You should log your find on the geocaching website and you can see where your travel bug has traveled.
Each of the 72 state parks in Minnesota has its own official cache that have collectable "Critter Cards" that you can take without leaving anything. Collect enough cards and you can claim a prize. The coordinates for each park can be found on the Minnesota State Parks website, on the Geocaching website, or at the park office.
The coordinates you are given is not the location of the cache but of the first clue to the cache. Some parks only have two coordinates, or stops, and others have several. Some caches take 5 minutes to find and are only a few steps from your car. Others require you to walk on trails or drive to several stops throughout the park. Its a good idea to have a park map with you so you make sure you follow the right trails and roads.
25 of the state parks have a GPS unit you can borrow for free! The rest you need to bring your own. If you need to borrow a GPS unit, it is a good idea to call ahead to make sure they have some available and the park office will be open when you get there. If you have your own unit, you can search whenever you like. Each park has a unique wildlife card. Some parks have "wild cards" good for a prize! Search high and low and look for slightly unnatural placements of sticks or stones and chances are you'll have your find.
Stay on the trails. The caches will only be a few feet off a trail. The GPS may show a location 500 feet away, straight through the woods, but chances are a hiking trail will take you there in a more roundabout way. You are strongly encouraged to stay on the trail. (I cut through the woods and picked up 2 wood ticks as my punishment - ick). This is a fun activity designed to have minimal disturbance to nature so stay on trails, don't take shortcuts, and leave everything as you found it.
Geocaching can be a family activity so bring the kids! You can also go solo or with a friend. Its a good idea to mark the location of your car so you can find your way back again. While you're in the park, you might as well enjoy whatever else the park has to offer. This is a fun way to get families, nature enthusiasts, and techies into parks. The only cost is a $5 daily fee or $25 annual pass to the Minnesota State Parks. Again, only 25 of the 72 parks have free GPS use - make sure to check the website.
You can also visit the Geocaching website to get coordinates of other geocaches near your home and to log your finds.
Here are some helpful websites
Minnesota State Parks: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/index.html
Geocaching at Minnesota State Parks (official caches):
Other geocaches in Minnesota State Parks:
Part of the list Minneapolis-St. Paul
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!