Geocaching & Letterboxing

Geocaching is a growing exploratory recreational activity on the Ottawa National Forest. Caches are widely established all over the state of Michigan and their respective GPS coordinates placed on the internet. When found, a cache may provide a variety of rewards. Visitors are expected to leave something in exchange for whatever they may take from the cache and often contain a logbook for visitors to sign.

Permits are generally not required to hide a geocache on the Ottawa National Forest, as it is considered a dispersed recreation activity. However, should any form of monetary fee be required to participate in the activity, a permit may be required.

General Guidance for Geocaching on the Ottawa National Forest:

  • Geocaching activities are limited to General Forested Areas (GFA’s) and are not permitted in Wilderness Areas (Sylvania, McCormick, and Sturgeon River Gorge), Natural Areas, historic structures, administrative buildings, or developed recreation sites.
  • Geocachers should never dig in the forest or place nails in a tree to hide their cache(s).
  • Proper care must be given to avoid damage to vegetation, archeological evidence, trail tread, or other fragile resources in the area.
  • Proper care must be given to avoid the spread of invasive species (e.g. Garlic Mustard, Purple Loosestrife, etc.). Use any available boot brushes located at trail heads.
  • All Geocachers are encouraged to follow the guidelines set forth by the Michigan Geocaching Organization (Mi-GO). This information can be located at their web site: (see "Land Use Guidelines” under Main Menu).
  • The Forest Service emphasizes placement of natural items only. This avoids the appearance of litter in the Forest.

For additional information, please contact:

Shelly Garber
Natural Resources Specialist
Ontonagon Ranger District
Phone: 906-884-2411 x34
Address:1209 Rockland Road, Ontonagon, MI 49953

Geocaching & Letterboxing Areas

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities