How to use to find a geocache

This is an entry-level guide to using the website. Here you can learn the basics on how to set up your geocaching name, locate caches near you, how to read a cache page and how to log that you found it (you must go find it before logging the find!). This guide assumes you have already read the "Introduction to Geocaching" section found here (

Creating an account

The first thing you need to do is create an account. Go to the website As you can see in the image below, you are not currently logged on (Image 1, Red Arrow). In order to create your account, click the link for "Create a Membership!" (Image 1, Green Arrow)

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There are two types of memberships at Basic and Premium. The basic membership is free while the premium mebership costs $30 per year or $10 for 3 months. If you are new to geocaching, it is recommended to begin with the basic membership since it is free. You can read about the differences in the accounts on the sign-up page. For now, click on the button "Get a Basic Membership" (Image 2, Green Arrow).

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To create your account, you need to create a username. This can be a nickname or your real name or whatever you want it to be. This is the name you will use to log on to, sign logs in caches, log caches online and how other geocachers will know you. It is recommended that you do not choose a really long, complicated username since you need to use it often. Once you have a username picked out, complete the registration form. You must check the box at the bottom stating that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Statement. Then click "Create My Account" and follow the given instructions.

Now that your account has been created, you can log on and begin searching for caches near you. To log on, go back to the beginning page at and click on "Log In" (Image 1 above, Red Arrow). You can tell you are logged on because your username will show up in the top right corner of the page along with a "Log Out" option. (Image 3, Red Arrow).

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Search for nearby caches

From the main page, there are two ways you can search for nearby caches. You can search by entering an address or zip code into the "Search for Geocaches" box right on the main page. (Image 4, Red Arrow) But for more options, click on "Hide & Seek A Cache" on the menu. (Image 5, Green Arrow)

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From here, you can search for caches based on an address (for example, your home address). You can also search based on a zip code, state, country, latitude/longitude, keyword, telephone area code, GC code (more on GC codes can be found below), or you can search for caches based on the username of those who either found the caches or for caches based on who hid them. For this demonstration, enter 29730 (Zip code for part of Rock Hill, SC) in "by Postal Code" and then click the "Go" button. (image 6, Green Arrow)

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You will then be presented with the results page. Caches will be listed based on distance from your search criteria with the closest listed first. The first column will list the distance in miles and the general direction from the search point to the cache. (Image 7, Red Arrow). The next column will have a check mark in it if it is a cache you either have already found or you own. (Image 7, Blue Arrow) Beside that is the type of cache represented by an icon. See the Introduction page for a list of icons and types. (Image 7, Purple Arrow) Next will be the difficulty and terrain ratings to the caches along with the size. (Image 7, Orange Arrow) After that is the date that the cache was hidden. (Image 7, Black Arrow). The description comes next. Here you will find the name of the cache and the geocaching username of the person who hid the cache. (Image 7, Green Arrow) Next is the Last Found date. This is the date when the cache was last found. This is useful in determining if you want to seek out this cache. If it hasn't been found in 6 months, the cache may not be active anymore or is missing. (Image 7, Grey Arrow)

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For this demonstration, scoll further down the search results until you find the cache listing for "If this is the Rock - Where is the Hill?". Once you find it, click on the name of the cache to be taken to the cache description page. (Image 8, Green Arrow)

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How to read a cache page

The cache page gives you all the information you will need to go find the cache. In the upper right of the page you will find the GC code for the cache. This cache has a GC code of GCM741. (Image 9, Red Arrow) Every geocache will have a unique code for it. You may run across caches with the exact same name but no two caches will have the same GC code. You will also see the name of the cache. (Image 9, Green Arrow) Below that, you will find information such as who hid the cache, when it was hidden, the cache size and the cache's difficulty and terrain ratings. (Image 9, Purple Arrow) Continuing down, you will see the latitude and longitude (also called coordinates or coords for short). (Image 9, Orange Arrow) This is what you will enter into your GPS. Below that you will find the options to print the cache page with no logs, 5 logs or 10 logs. (Image 9, Brown Arrow) Read further down for more on logs. On the right side of the page, you will see links so you can log your cache. (Image 9, Blue Arrow) We will discuss this more later. There also also links to view the gallery which contains photos that others have included in their logs.

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Scrolling down the page, you will find the cache description. (Image 10, Red Arrow) This is the description where the owner of the cache can put information about the cache, about the area and anything else the owner wants to list. This area can also include images. Read this area closely as you will often get hints for finding the cache. You will also see a section of Attributes. (Image 10, Blue Arrow) Cache owners have the option to add these attributes. Attributes include child friendly, accessible by bicycle, beware of thorns, etc. Below that, you will see the inventory of the cache. (Image 10, Green Arrow) This lists any trackable items that might be in the cache. Trackables (Travel bugs, geocoins, pathtags) are beyond the scope of this demo. Cache owners can sometimes provide hints. These hints are encrypted using a cypher known as ROT13. If there is a hint, it will be shown below the description.

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In the next section, you will find various tools. There is another map that shows you where the cache is hidden. (Image 11, Red Arrow) You can click on this map to get a better view of the area. On the left, there are links that will search for other caches nearby, other caches by the same cache owner, etc. (Image 11, Green Arrow) Below that are links to various online maps. (Image 11, Blue Arrow) Clicking one of those links will show the cache coordinates on your chosen map. Next you will see the total number of logs and another link to the photo gallery for this cache. (Image 11, Purple Arrow) Below that is a more detailed count of each type of log. (Image 11, Brown Arrow) This indicates the number of finds, number of Did-not-find's, etc. And the final section of the page is logs. (Image 11, Grey Arrow) You can often get hints to finding the cache by reading some of the logs. Also, if you see that the last several logs are all DNFs (Did Not Finds), you may want to skip the cache for now as it might be missing.

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Now that you have read the cache page and all the information available, you can go find the cache! Enter the coordinates into you GPS and begin your search.

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Logging your search

Once you return from you search for the cache, you can then log your search. You need to return to the cache page for the cache you were searching for. Once on the page, click on "log your visit" in the upper right. (Image 12, Green Arrow)

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On the "Post a New Log" page, you need to select the type of log you are going to post. (Image 13, Green Arrow) There are 5 types of logs you can choose. Here are the types and the descriptions of each

Found It - Choose this if you found the cache

Didn't Find It - Choose this if you did not find the cache

Write Note - Choose this if you just want to write a note but not log a find/didn't find.

Needs Archived - Choose this if you believe the cache needs to be archived.

Needs Maintenance - Choose this if the cache needs maintenance (log is full or wet, container is damaged, etc).

You can also set the date of your log. (Image 13, Blue Arrow) If you found a cache yesterday but did not get to log it until today, you can change the date so it shows the actual date you found the cache. Also, if you found a better parking area/trail head or something else interesting on your journey, you can add an additional waypoint (coordinates) by cheching this box. (Image 13, Purple Arrow)

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When entering your comments into the log, this can be as short or as long as you wish. If it was a quick, easy find, put that in your log. If you had a grand adventure, feel free to log about it. Cache owners like to read interesting logs. Once you are done, click on the "Submit Log Entry" button and your log will be added to the cache page.

There is much more you can do with the site. You can check your profile which will list all the caches you have found. You can join the forums to talk to people all over the world about geocaching. Play around with the site and see the other features.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact and we will do our best to assist you.

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