Geocaching Along the Nez Perce National Historic Trail

There are some general guidelines to follow when considering placement of a geocache. Federal land management geocaching policies vary and are specific to the local National Forest, National Park or BLM State Office. General National Park guidance can be found here and the Idaho BLM State Office provides information here. General geocaching guidelines for National Forest and the other land management agencies includes:

  • Contact a the appropriate responsible official on the  National Forest,  National Park,  or BLM office where you would like to place the cache. Provide the information that will be necessary for evaluating your request, including a copy of your draft write-up, your contact information, and photos if available. If you have not heard back within 15 days of your request, follow up with another e-mail or phone call.
  • Follow the guidelines provided at for placement of a cache.
  • Select your proposed location carefully; avoid proposals to place a cache in a sensitive area, such as wet areas, near fragile plant populations, in highly erosive soils, in or adjacent to caves, cultural or historical sites, or similar areas, since these are likely to be disapproved.
  • Avoid locations where searchers will be likely to endanger themselves or the nearby resources, especially if they are searching after dark.
  • Be sure the cache is on federal lands along the NPNHT, not on private land located near the trail.
  • Prepare a request; provide the information about the proposed geocaching site, including location and a brief description of the setting and the resources found there, and how to get to the site. Consider taking a couple of digital photos of the area.
  • Consider the management objectives of the area and the other activities planned for that location when placing a geocache – since Wilderness is supposed to be primitive, where humans and their belongings do not remain, physical caches will not be approved there.
  • Decide what you will place at the cache, and what information you will provide other geocachers about the site. Draft your write-up prior to seeking permission to actually place the cache, so that the approving official will see the info you intend to provide. In your write-up, consider including information about the national forest, and/or about the individual area where the cache will be located (especially if it is a historical site), as well as providing encouragement to other geocachers to take care of the resources, keep motor vehicles on the designated routes, pay the day use fees if parking in a developed site, etc.
  • Make sure that your geocache will be readily identifiable as a geocache – i.e., mark it or label it on the outside “GEOCACHE”. Unmarked containers may be misidentified, and may cause undue trouble and expense before they are removed and/or destroyed.
  • Geocaches placed on the forest need to be maintained. If you see ANY indication of resource damage or the beginning of a trail that might be caused by persons searching for your cache, archive it immediately, and remove it as soon as practical.

Remember it is up to us to respectfully use the trail to protect our heritage. To the Nee-Me-Poo, the trail is part of their sacred land, land they still use. Follow geocaching rules of etiquette such as avoiding fragile or culturally sensitive locations and practice CITO: "Cache In, Trash Out". Respecting the environment, taking care of the resources you encounter, and cleaning up after others can help to preserve the future opportunities on the forest for geocaching with minimal regulation.

Visit our Outdoor Safety & Ethics page for more information about important aspects of recreation along the NPNHT.

Key Contacts