Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity where individuals, groups or families search for hidden containers known as geocaches. Handheld Global Positioning Units (GPS) are used to navigate to each geocache. The activity is initiated when a cache (normally a waterproof container with small items inside) is hidden, and its location is recorded with a GPS. A description of the cache and its GPS coordinates are then posted on a Geocaching website for others to view and find.

The District welcomes geocaching as a recreational activity in its parklands as long as it is practiced responsibly. Visitors are required to know and follow District Geocaching Guidelines to ensure a safe visit and to protect District natural and cultural resources.

District park units are varied and diverse. Geocaching is not appropriate for every park or area. Visitors are encouraged to become familiar with any specific geocaching rules associated with the particular park they are interested in.

General Guidelines

  • A permit is not required for placing or searching for geocaches on District property.
  • Geocache activity shall only take place during normal park hours (as defined in District Ordinance 38), and it is only allowed in areas that are open to the public.
  • Caches must be registered on the Internet at the website
  • Caches shall comply with all guidelines established by the District and
  • Caches shall be clearly labeled with "Geocache" on the exterior. All caches must include a standard "stash note" inside, explaining the activity to an unintentional finder. Notes shall include the owner's contact information, including username and email address.
  • Cache containers shall be of a "neutral" nature so as not to cause alarm or concern. Inappropriate containers include unmarked tubes, ammunition boxes that are not identified with clear "Geocache" markings, containers marked "biohazard" or "hazardous material" or any other suspicious looking containers.
  • Caches shall be maintained by the person placing the cache. Caches that have been abandoned or not maintained will be considered as litter and removed by the District.
  • The District reserves the right to remove any cache that has been determined to be inappropriate due to location or content, or has an adverse impact on wildlife, vegetation, park visitors, neighbors, or natural or cultural resources. In the event the District must remove a cache, the District may attempt, but is not required, to notify the owner of the cache.

Geocaching Guidelines

Geocache Placement Guidelines
  • Caches shall not be placed in a way that causes the development of new "unofficial" trails.
  • Caches shall not be placed in locations that cause trail damage or erosion.
  • Caches may not be buried. Vegetation, rocks or other features may not be marked or damaged in the process of placing, accessing or maintaining the cache.
  • Caches are not allowed within 100' of streams, lakes, marshes, wetlands, or any other sensitive water features.
  • Caches shall not interfere with wildlife habitat, affect rare or special species of plants or animals, or interfere with other park visitors.
  • Caches shall not be placed on or in buildings, structures, or facilities within a park.
  • Caches shall not be placed within or near designated historic or cultural resource areas. Modification of archaeological or geographical features is prohibited.
  • Altering District signs, fences, posts, trails, trail markers or any District building or facility is prohibited. Caches shall not be placed inside fenced areas.
  • Caches shall not be placed on or near potentially hazardous locations.
  • Caches shall not contain inappropriate, hazardous or illegal materials such as flammables, explosives, controlled substances, pornography or food. Contents shall be of a family-friendly nature and not be offensive.

District Parks and Areas Off Limits to Geocaching

Brushy Peak
Lower Tilden Nature Area
Vasco Caves Tilden Golf Course
Brooks Island Redwood Canyon Public Golf Course (formerly Willow Park)
Brown's Island Swim areas, waterslides
Tilden Botanic Garden Service yards
Ardenwood farmyard area Cultural, archaeological, and historical sites

Geocaching Frequently Asked Questions