Geocaching & Letterboxing

Earthcaching and geocaching are challenging outdoor games for global positioning system (GPS) users. The basic idea is that individuals and organizations set up caches and share the locations of those caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Caches can be either “virtual” earthcaching, meaning they exist only as a coordinate that lead to a place, or “physical” geocaching, meaning that the coordinates lead to a thing to be found. Earthcaching is sponsored on the World Wide Web by an organization called the Geological Society of America. More information regarding geocaching, submitting a cache using the geocaching listing guidelines, and the locations of geocaches already on the Shawnee National Forest can be found at

The Shawnee National Forest does allow earthcaching in most places on the Forest.  Geocaching activities are allowed on some Forest lands, with clear exceptions.  For either activity, access routes and caches must not be placed in dangerous, inappropriate, fragile, or protected areas or habitats, such as rock shelters, cliff ledges and overhangs, caves, bogs, wetlands, steep slopes, historic structures, and other sensitive sites. They must not be located in areas closed to the public.  For complete policy information on earthcaching and geocaching, please observe the attached Forest directive (Place attachment link here).

The prominent rules to follow when caching on the Shawnee National Forest:

·        Physical cache locations may _not_ be sited within natural areas, research natural areas, heritage resource significant sites, or wilderness.  Follow the boundaries established for these management areas in the Forest Plan and Map.

·        All caches will last no more than one year to avoid significant disturbance to an area. The cache should be relocated far enough away that no further disturbance of the original site is expected. 

·        Access routes and caches should be placed following Leave No Trace principals.

·        Permits are required for commercial events. 

Geocaching & Letterboxing Areas

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities