A Guide for Beginners: Geocaching on the Olympic Peninsula

Geocaching 101 – a guide to treasure hunting for beginners

Geocaching offers something for everyone

If you’ve been longing for adventure, love technology and want to get outside for some exercise, we’ve got a solution for you. Take a road trip to the Olympic Peninsula for a treasure hunt and go geocaching. The Olympic Peninsula GeoTour is filled with creative caches just waiting to be found, including commemorative coins awarded for completing the tour.

Two guys crouching over a geocache
Finding a new geocache in Port Angeles

Geocaching basics

Seasoned geocachers have a saying, “We like to look for Tupperware in the woods using billion-dollar satellites.” Use a handheld device to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates. Then hunt for the concealed container known as a geocache. The geocache can often be in a camouflaged hiding place, which comes in a variety of sizes. And remember to Leave No Trace.

Getting started

All you need to begin geocaching is a smart phone with the free GroundSpeak, Inc. app or a handheld GPS unit. Geocaching.com gives helpful info for newbies.

The first phase of the Highway 101 Scenic Byway Loop GeoTour (also known as the Olympic Peninsula Geotour) launched in 2016, followed by a second phase in 2018, and is still the only official GeoTour in the area. As of September, 2021, the Olympic Peninsula GeoTour, Part 1 and Part 2 has now been UPDATED, and is the 2-for-1 Olympic Peninsula GeoTour. GeoTour 1 (2016) and GeoTour 2 (2018) have been updated and combined in to one passport. Some of the previous locations have been archived, and the updated 2-for-1 Tour now features a total of 30 caches. Please use the NEW passport. When completed, you will earn BOTH the 2016 coin and the 2018 coin … 2-for-1!

Olympic GeoTour Coins
The two Olympic GeoTour Coins which are given to to geocachers who complete the tour

Once you find a geocache

You will find the following items in every Olympic Peninsula GeoTour cache:

  • Logbook: Record the name and date of the person who found the geocache
  • Rubber stamper: Stamp your passport for the geocaches you’ve found
  • Code word/phrase: A second way to indicate that you’ve found the geocache, in case the rubber stamp goes missing
Things you might find in a geocache

Most geocaches contain trinkets like handheld games/toys, travel souvenirs, helpful geocaching gear (rain ponchos, disposable gloves, etc.) or game pieces called trackables which contain a unique code the finder can enter online to see how far that item has traveled throughout the world. If you take something home with you be sure to add a new item of your own to the cache. This way, the geocaches remain filled with fun items for the next person to find.

Once you find a GeoTour cache, write down the code word and mark your passport using the stamp in the cache. Commemorative geocoins will only be awarded for completed passports, so be sure to keep track of every cache you find.

Next, check out our Olympic Peninsula Geo-Tours page for more info to get you started.

Have fun and remember to #RecreateResponsibly!