Ranger Rick Geocache Trails
In 2011, National Wildlife Federation launched a pilot program called Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trails as a way to combine treasure hunting and technology to get families outdoors exploring nature.
More than 200 nature centers and parks signed on to be hosts, purchasing trail kits and setting them up on geocaching.com.
This was a really fun experiment and we learned a lot about how to pull something like this off, but in the end, we decided to discontinue the sales of additional kits.
Existing Ranger Rick Geocache Trail Sites
Over the past three years, we’ve met some amazing people who signed on to set up these trails, which will still exist at nature centers around the country.
Search existing Ranger Rick Geocache Trails >>
Did you visit a trail? You can still check your answers to the Ranger Rick Passport activity.
Hosts, we unfortunately won’t be able to supply any more kit refills, but encourage you to come up with your own ideas to replenish the stock.
How to Make Your Own Geocache Trail
Get ideas for how you can take your family geocaching, or set up your own trail for a birthday party or family outing.
Family Fun: Make Your Own Geocache Trail >>
More About Geocaching
With the help of a handheld GPS device or smartphone, people can hunt for geocaches hidden in public areas all over the world.
A geocache is a container of varying size whose GPS coordinates have been captured and posted online, at geocaching.com. Each geocache contains at least a log book for signing, but often includes small items for trading. Geocaches can be as small as a film canister, to as large as a metal ammo box.
Before heading out, locate geocaches online at geocaching.com. Then download the cache’s GPS coordinates to your handheld GPS device. If you have a phone with GPS technology, there are many applications that allow you to locate geocache coordinates and information from anywhere.
To search for a geocache, you simply follow the GPS coordinates on your device to the location. Geocaches are never buried. You may find a geocache tucked inside a log, tree stump, under a bush, or behind a wall. Often fallen sticks and leaves are used to disguise the geocache.
Tips for Geocaching
- Pack for a hike. It’s a good idea to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, and clothing to suit the weather. You may want to bring along a notebook, pen or pencil, crayons (for rubbings), and a camera. Most geocaches contain a pen or pencil for signing the log book, but occasionally you will need to have something of your own to write with.
- Use your eyes. Follow the GPS coordinates until you are within about 25 ft. of the geocache, then start to use your eyes. Look for signs of something out of place, such as stacked tree limbs, bark, or other materials. A geocache may be hiding there. Use the hints and recent log posts on the geocache’s online listing to help you. The names of geocaches are often clues as well.
- Look out for Bugs. Trackables, often referred to as travel bugs or geocoins, are specially tagged items that are being moved from cache to cache, around the world. Keep an eye out for coded tags or coins. If you find one, take it home and enter its number on geocaching.com. Many travel bugs have a specific goal. Help it move by placing it in a new cache next time you geocache! Read more on trackables at geocaching.com/track/default.
- Take something, leave something. Trading in geocaching is encouraged. The rule is: only take something out of the geocache if you have something of your own to put back in.
- Hide it well. Be sure to replace the geocache exactly as you found it. If the geocache was exposed, help the owner by hiding it better. Please don’t bury it.
- Stay on the trail! Because GPS displays do not account for roads and paths, the GPS will often point you away from the marked path. Staying on the path until the GPS tells you to make a hard right or left turn is a good rule to follow. Usually the geocache is not hidden more than 50 ft. off of a marked trail. If you’ve left the trail to find a cache, always remember go back to the trail before continuing on to your next geocache.
- Leave no trace. Try not to disturb wildlife or their habitats while you geocache. If you are quiet, you might see some really neat things. Never litter—carry out everything you carry in.
- Practice CITO! Also known as “Cache In, Trash Out.” It’s always nice to help Mother Earth. Bring some trash bags along and clean up any litter you find as you go.
- Find other cachers! There are lots of geocaching organizations, where people get together to enjoy geocaching. Find local groups near you at http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC.