Geocaching in Portland

My brother-in-law who’s a major gearhead and techno-fan got us interested in geocaching at one of our annual family gatherings a few years ago. Geocaching is basically treasure hunting with a GPS unit. My brother finally broke down and bought one so we had to go geocaching up in the Gorge last week. My friend’s kids who are 10 and 12 went out and learned how to use the GPS and track down the coordinates of the cache sites. They found three caches and exchanged some small trinkets for other small trinkets and filled in the log books. They had a blast and are now addicted.

We found out there are a ton of cache sites in Portland through this website and were wondering if anyone knows of some good ones that make you follow clues to the actual site. We’re also trying to find the most inexpensive way to pick up a GPS unit. It’s a ton of fun, a good learning tool for kids, and sometimes people will leave items they want to travel. One cache had a bug they wanted someone to take and visit all the local microbreweries and be photographed, with the pictures sent to a specified e-mail address. Other items have traveled across the country.

If anyone has found some good caches please point us in the right direction.

13 Comments so far

  1. Coyote (unregistered) on August 13th, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

    Keeping meaning to go geocaching—sounds like a nice day out. You can pick up used GPS units on Craigslist for under $200, and sometimes under $100. I have a Garmin 60CS that is really nice.

  2. Coyote (unregistered) on August 13th, 2007 @ 11:29 pm

    Whoops, dang it, that should have read: “Keep meaning to go….”

  3. Marc (unregistered) on August 13th, 2007 @ 11:54 pm

    There’s an awesome one in Tualatin Hills Nature Park in Beaverton. Should be on It gives you a series of coordinates to go to and each one had a puzzle clue to figure out. When you figure out all the clues it gives you a final destination where you can go to get the answer to the puzzle. Someone spent a lot of time and thought. My wife and I made it through about 2/3 of the clues in a couple of hours, and plan to go back to finish it up at some point.

  4. Kai (unregistered) on August 14th, 2007 @ 8:51 am

    Marc thanks. That is exactly what we are looking for, especially since my friend’s daughter is into the Nancy Drew books right now.

  5. dieselboi (unregistered) on August 14th, 2007 @ 10:21 am

    what is a good unit to look for?

  6. Kai (unregistered) on August 14th, 2007 @ 10:35 am

    That’s what I’m trying to find out. It sounds like Coyote’s Garmin 60CS does the job well. I need to ask my brother-in-law and probably do some research as well.

  7. Marc (unregistered) on August 14th, 2007 @ 11:12 am

    FWIW I use a Garmin 60C, just one step down from the CS, and it suits me fine. Good for both driving directions in the car, and also small enough to carry on a hike.

  8. martin (unregistered) on August 14th, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

    Do a search for “2925” on That one’s a good one, if I do say so myself.

  9. Coyote (unregistered) on August 15th, 2007 @ 12:49 am

    I haven’t used my Garmin 60CS for geocaching, but I did test it at a benchmark against a high-end Trimble unit. It did surprisingly well. I’ve also used it track my hikes about town and uploaded the data into ArcGIS—it referenced quite well against other data I have. All and all I’ve found it to be an accurate little unit. Even helped me out when, like an idiot, I forgot my map last time I went hiking in the Gorge. It had the trail I wanted to take. Signal got lost in the trees sometimes, but it worked pretty well considering the rugged, forested terrain. Much better than in the concrete jungle downtown.

    The barometer doesn’t seem to work particularly well, though, so I think a 60C would be just as good. I think the barometer is the only difference between the two models.

  10. English Bobby (unregistered) on August 17th, 2007 @ 10:02 am

    Those into the geocaching dealybob may like geo’s grandpa, Letterboxing. People have been doing this for 150,000 years or some such nonsense. There are many sites on the web to choose from, such as:

    Also, I bought a GPS (Garmin GPSMap 60CSx) for my 10 and 12 year old monkeys that has actual geocache games on it. It was 7 Franklins, but it’s got every bell and whistle short of a foot massager.

    Also, you can learn about making your own maps, downloadable to your gps, from this site:

    Happy hunting and don’t be stingy on the geogoodies.

  11. Kai (unregistered) on August 17th, 2007 @ 11:05 am

    English Bobby thanks for the info on Letterboxing. I didn’t know about the phenomenon. And umm, nice “mocs” there on your website.

  12. English Bobby (unregistered) on August 17th, 2007 @ 11:38 am

    I should’ve added that anyone interested in generating a cache is asked to register, follow certain guidelines, and seek approval when geocaching (To me, it seems like the stick up their ass has a stick up its ass, but what’re ya gonna do?). Letterboxers seem to be substanially less anal. They are also more handsome. It’s a known fact. Lookitup.

    Note: Some places do not allow caching of any kind, i.e., Tryon Creek State Park, et al.

    “Nice mocs”? Maybe so, but you missed my Tawse. It’s Scottish.

  13. Tawsed Salad (unregistered) on August 17th, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

    For the PDA crowd (personal data assistant, not public display of affection), a lot of PDAs have built in functions or available accessories to work as GPSs.

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