Shawnee National Forest geocaching lets you enjoy a hike around the forest while also going on a treasure-hunting adventure.
But there is a little more to geocaching than it seems. You want to make sure you’re doing it the right way and the legal way. Geocaching is a fun adventure for families, friends, couples, and even solo hikers. And there are enough geocaches spread around the Shawnee National Forest for you to enjoy while seeing the best parts of the forest.
I’ve enjoyed some Shawnee National Forest geocaching myself. Sometimes we look for them, while other times, we accidentally find them. Whatever the case, finding the geocaches and seeing who has been there always exciting. Hiking the Shawnee is always fun, but geocaching gives us more adventure.
In this guide, I will show you everything you need to know to start with Shawnee National Forest geocaching.
How to Start with Shawnee National Forest Geocaching
Getting started with Shawnee National Forest geocaching is easy and free, too! Let’s look at what you need to do to begin geocaching in the Shawnee today.
Download the Geocaching App
The first thing you need to do is download the app to your phone. The basic app is free and available for iOS and Android. Do note that to use the app offline or in areas where you don’t get a phone signal (which is a majority of the Shawnee), you must upgrade to premium. You can pay $6 a month or $30 for a year.
Explore Local Geocaches
Open the app to find Shawnee National Forest geocaches near where you plan to hike. Some are on the forest’s west side, but most are located on the central and east sides of the Shawnee. You can see the icons on a map of where they are using GPS. Once you’re in the area, look for them in spaces they would likely be hidden in, such as under roots or in between rock crevices.
Log Your Find
Once you find the geocache, open it up to look at its contents. You can take something out if you put something back in the cache. Or you can take nothing at all if you don’t want to. Just make sure you sign the logbook after you’ve found it. You can also record that you’ve found it with the app on your phone.
Shawnee National Forest Geocaching Rules
Some rules go along with Shawnee National Forest geocaching from the US Forest Service and the Geocaching HQ. It is wise to familiarize yourself with the rules and follow them for the best results.
Shawnee National Forest Geocaching Guidelines
The US Forest Service that manages the Shawnee National Forest welcomes geocaching as long as their specific rules are followed.
- Access routes and cache locations must not be in dangerous places, fragile environments, protected habitats, rock shelters, cliff ledges, overhangs, caves, bogs, wetlands, steep slopes, historic structures, or sensitive sites.
- The cache cannot be placed in natural areas, heritage sites, or wilderness areas.
- A cache must be moved every year far enough away from the previous location to help prevent disturbance to the area.
- Geocachers must respect Leave No Trace principles while participating.
- Any commercial event requires permits.
Geocaching HQ Guidelines
Geocaching HQ also asks that you follow these essential guidelines:
- Respect private property
- Obey the local laws and ordinances about geocaching
- Use clear containers so that people can see the contents
- Don’t put anything that can melt, explode, or expand. Don’t put in food or scented items.
- Keep the activity safe by not putting caches in dangerous areas
- If you take something out of the cache, you should put something else back in.
Shawnee National Forest Geocaching Safety
The best way to enjoy Shawnee National Forest geocaching is to follow the guidelines and rules above and always put safety first. Remember, nature can be unforgiving when it comes to hazards. You always want to watch where you step and where you put your hand. Try to avoid geocache alone but if you do, tell someone where you are going and show them the area on a map.
Please remember to Leave No Trace when geocaching in the Shawnee. Don’t litter and leave an area better than you found it.
Shawnee National Forest geocaching is a fun way to explore your National Forest as long as you put your safety before anything else. Leave the Shawnee with great memories, not bad injuries.
I hope you have enjoyed this little guide on Shawnee National Forest geocaching. If you did, please be sure to share this guide with others. Consider subscribing to my free monthly newsletter for more exclusive content and resources for hiking and outdoor recreation. Thanks for visiting Hiking with Shawn!
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Founder, Hiking with Shawn
Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman