Geocaching is a game of hiding and seeking treasure that is enjoyed by thousands of people of all ages. It's the old-fashioned scavenger hunt, gone high tech. This adventure sport is one the whole family can enjoy at many Colorado State Parks. Geocaching is a great way to explore a new area, get more exercise and learn new skills.
Using a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System), players use their eyes and hunting skills to search for hidden treasures. The rules of geocaching are simple: take something from the cache, leave something in the cache, and record it in the log book. Caches typically are filled with low-priced trinkets—toys, books and random souvenirs.
You can find geocache locations by visiting sites such as www.geocaching.com or www.geocachingcolo.com.
Once you locate a cache you would like to find, write down the coordinates of the cache location and also enter them into your GPS.
Before you leave on your hunt, make sure you have extra batteries, appropriate clothing, and food. Also bring a map and compass and check the geocaching terrain for difficulty ratings.
When you arrive at the park, use your GPS to find the cache. Before you start mark your car as a waypoint to ensure your safe return.
Once you reach the coordinates, search the area for a cache. GPS accuracy will be limited to a 30-foot area. Remember that distances can be deceiving—a geocache can take longer to find depending on trails, rivers and other obstacles.
When you find the cache, take something from the container and leave something you've brought with you. Sign the logbook and return the container to its hiding spot for the next finder.
Tread lightly. Geocachers are encouraged to practice minimum impact behavior at all times.
Park visitors are asked to remain on designated trails. Geocachers must abide by all park rules and regulations, and display a valid daily or annual parks pass on vehicles entering the park.
Below is a list of state parks with caches, although there are likely many more places that have not been officially documented. Colorado State Parks strives to provide outstanding outdoor recreation for visitors while preserving Colorado's natural resources for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of present and future generations.
Castlewood Canyon State Park (80116): There are 10 different "photo" caches in the park. Each cache has been photographed with coordinates on the back of the picture. Geocachers hunt for the cache that matches the photo, and take a photo of their own. Return to the visitor's center and if the photos match, they'll win a small prize.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park (80907): There are several caches are located throughout the park. GPS units are available for rental at the visitor center.
Highline Lake State Park (81524): There are eleven caches located within the park! Some are fairly easy to find, but most are challenging. The park does not have loaner GPS units, so visitors will need to bring their own. Get in on the Geocaching Craze!
Jackson Lake State Park (80649): There are two caches named "5 O'Clock Somewhere" and "Centennial."
Lathrop State Park (81089): There are five geocaches hidden throughout the park.
Ridgway State Park (81432): There are four caches here—three are accessible only on bike or by foot, and the other is accessible by a relatively easy drive, as well as on bicycle and foot.
State Forest State Park (80480): There are 10 geocaches, five of which are all-season caches. It's a great place to test your treasure-hunting skills in the winter as well! GPS units are available to rent from the Moose Visitor Center.
Sylvan Lake State Park (81631): There is one cache hidden within park boundaries, as well as additional caches located in the surrounding forest.
Trinidad Lake State Park (81082): There are 6 caches hidden in the park. The visitor center attendant can give you the general area where the cache is located and tell you whether you need to drive or hike there. GPS units are available for rent at the Visitor Center for a small fee. The Trinidad Geocaching page has travel bugs, Geocoins, a Geocaching brochure and more information.