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Methods To Research Good Hiding Spots?


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Now that I've found a few caches, I would like to give back to the community and try to hide some myself. My question is: what is the best method for researching likely hiding spots for someone that is 1) not really familiar with the area (was raised a thousand miles away) and 2) new to hiking/backpacking/camping/etc ?


I have tried scanning street by street using satelite images from TerraServer to find parks in the city, but this is pretty tedious. Online topo maps don't seem to have the detail that indicates if a patch of trees has trails in it or not. Are there well known resources out there that I can use to locate parks and forests, or is the best method just driving around?

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Here are some things I do:


-Read the newspapers and keep my eye out for news about public land acquisitons, or articles about interesing places.


-Read road maps, trail maps and park brochures and maps.


-Check out satellite photos and topo maps.


-Volunteer for my local trail maintenance organization and find many new, interesting places while working on a trail crew.


-Read travel guides and books about my area.

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I get most of the ideas for future caches by looking for other caches and finding likely spots. Also have found spots when hiding one of my own.


Check out local trails. The geocaching maps often show parks you might not know about. Buy the mapping software that goes with your GPS - I have found parks I did not know about in my area when checking caches on the maps.


But you DO have to go out there and check out the area and find a good spot to put the cache - that's where I save a step - I am usually already there - then make a mental note (or mark a waypoint) and come back with a cache.


Some caches take a lot of work to setup - so take your time and have fun.

Edited by CompuCash
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Explore, this is the best way and, to me, what the sport is really all about. Bike, hike, drive. Take the road less traveled. Be observent, look for those little "pocket parks" and nature trails every where you go.


Resources: Look at the state web site list of historical markers. Check with the state historical society for list of historical landmarks. Here is a cool one: check with the state Dept. of wildlife for fish stocking reports, I found a pond that I had driven by literaly hundreds of times and never noticed. City/county/state parks dept's will have a list of parks, often on-line. Bike shops often have bike trail maps, sporting goods stores will know the local trails.

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I like to hike and ride my bike in the summer and in the winter ski and snowshoe. From all of these activities I have found excellent cache locations without much effort. Living in a rural area it's not too dificult to find new areas that don't already have caches. Living in a urban area I imangine it takes more research to find a good placement.

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I agree that you really have to spend time in the outdoors. As you noted maps and such don't really tell you what you need to know.


New public land aquisitions are definitely a good thing to keep tabs on though as it is almost certain there is no cache there yet.


There are other ways to aproach the issue though. Your cache really doesn't need to be located anywhere spectacular. If you are going to set up a cache just keep focused on trying to make the experience the cacher will have a memorable one and you will be placing a cache that is 'better' than 90% of those already placed.


You can make a multi leg cache where the final is an ammo can in any old park, but make the legs on the route take people to noteworthy places. Perhaps something educational/historical/scenic.


You stated you are newish to the area you reside in so why not have a fun outing by deciding on some aspect of the local area you are interested in learning about? Almost everywhere has an agency devoted to promoting the local community so check there for inspiration. Perhaps the local area you are in has some noteworthy figure in it's past? Perhaps a historical feature of broad interest? A person who left a lasting impact on us? Some innovation? Take people there and share with them what you learned.


Caching isn't confined to just another ammo box with trinkets in the crotch of a tree in a city park.


The most memorable caches I have sought after have taken me through an area in a way that I got to see parts of it I wouldn't have seen otherwise, they taught me something I wouldn't have otherwise known or they were innovative in some way.

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I agree, you can go out and check areas you are not the familiar with, and sometimes you might a spot for a new cache without looking for one. I have three new spots I am watching , one is a new park that is almost ready to open, one is a new nature viewing area that is almost open (For this one I have the cache ready to go in my truck) and the third is a wildlife viewing area that I just found by accident.

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At this point in my life it is almost a sickness :rolleyes: but......


When driving around (anywhere), I look at any pile of logs, group of bushes, dirt path, park, monument etc... and I mentally evaluate it for hide "potential". Then I ask myself questions - How many people are nearby? How many houses overlook this? Is it private land? Is there parking that is safe? What will the aread be like in each of the 4 seasons? etc..... If it looks good and I can reasonable maintain it - I will look for the best container and try to get a cache there. Checking first for other nearby caches.


I use the Internet for various maps (terrian, city, contour, public lands, etc) to some research (ghost towns, historical areas, parks) but mostly I just drive around with my "critical" eye.

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I've found that the best hides are the ones that come to you. That is, you come across the spot by accident, rather than looking for it. If you have a general area that you want to hide a 'cache in, it's one thing, but just to say, "I wanna hide a 'cache in town..." you're probably going to go through a lot more angst than if you stumble across the perfect spot. What I would suggest is get a 'cache or two ready, keep them in the car, and WHEN you find that spot (Not 'if', 'cause you know you will) then jump out, drop the 'cache in, and go straight home and hit 'Submit' on the 'cache submission page! Good luck! :rolleyes:

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I found a couple of the parks that I've hidden caches in by going to the town's park district web page. Many of these sites will have a map of the park district properties, and sometimes they will maintain a list of the park ammenities (look for nature trails or undeveloped/natural areas)

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since you are new to the area...many phone books have city maps that include parks. compare that info to existing caches in the area to make sure you do not violate the saturation rule...Also check county and state web pages. Lots of approaches but my favorite is the have a cache or ten ready to hide and when you find THE spot you may already have a great container ready to drop and mark. My wife wants to know what the deal is with all the junk in my pathfinder...oh nothing dear!

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Another thing you can do is use Yahoo Maps. You can select your area, then on the right, choose either TRAVEL & TRANSPORTATION > TOURIST SPOTS (which shows parks) or RECREATION & ENTERTAINMENT > HIKING TRAILS. These can be quite useful.


Good luck! :unsure:

Edited by Greymane
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I found a county map at my local Chamber of Commerce that has most of the parks highlighted in green. The county in which I live is a Recreational area on the west shore of Kentucky Lake so these spots are a tourist draw and I have been slowly planting caches at the parks that have Boat Launches. I have 3 now in a series called Float Your Boat. However dumb luck sometimes cannot be beat. Yesterday I found a series of trails in the next county that is not on any map I have found (and I have found more than a few - I like maps - I like them alot).


Good luck and keep searching.


KyHilltopper || Clint

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I start with the geocaching.com map, so I can see where caches are already. I look for a "blank spot" near my haunts, zoom in and look for land marked as parkland, or simply devoid of road. At that point, I switch over to other maps of the same area. It's surprising -- there are parks that aren't marked in one site's maps but are in another. Then I do a drive by. I've rejected a bunch of spots because I didn't like the neighborhood or I couldn't find legal parking or something. I'm finding it a slow and surprisingly difficult process.


But, hey, I've got two whole hides now <_<

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If you have a detailed map program in your GPS (I use Mapsource CitySelect from Garmin), load all the caches in your area (I just use the 500 limit from my pocket query, then drive around. I found a few parks this way that did not have caches in them. Placed a new one recently, have a few others I need to get up and place. The detail maps have green areas for parks, and having the caches preloaded you can tell if there is one there or not, and if so, will there be room to fit another?

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Drive around?!??


Wow--that sounds tedious... (Not that I haven't found a park in my travels, but I've never set out to find one that way...)


In my case, I found local areas when I moved here from those big green patches on a local paper roadmap.


The smaller unmarked trails were located when other hikers at those parks told me about them...


A phonecall or website of the local parks/rec'll (or town hall) will tell you where they are too. State Park/Forest websites will give you the state level. (Check County if that pertains to your region...)


As for good hiding spots within a park, away from trails/"muggles" will reduce the chances of it going missing and minimize the formation of social trails.


Amusingly, many cachers hike all the way to the back of a park and hide the cache there, as a finder, I look on the map, find the back trailheads and find the cache within a few hundred feet of parking.


Therefore, I tend to hide caches in the middle of parks rather than "all the way at the back". (But usually have a relative short-cut for easy maintenance...)






PS: Once I find my likely hiding spot, I mark a waypoint to average with another couple on the day I place the container. (Preferably at a different time of day when the sat constellation is different.)

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Ah, finally...here's the link I stumbled across yesterday:


Lat-Long.com search features


You can select your state and find coords of parks, woods, forests, swamps, beaches, trails, summits, etc... Unfortunately you can only search by feature's name or browse a list (by county not town). 'Twould be really cool if you could search by nearest to lat/long!


BTW: To convert degrees.decimal to degrees minutes.decimal simply change your GPSr's units back and forth. (Or multiply decimal portion by 60...)





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Drive around?!??


Wow--that sounds tedious... (Not that I haven't found a park in my travels, but I've never set out to find one that way...)

not just to look for parks, but when i'm going to work i might take a different route. or when i'm heading to my in-laws, the grocery store, etc. i'm already out there on the road, so i just turn the GPS on and glance at it periodically to see if anything looks good. <_<

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