Geocaching 101: A Michigan Guide

Geocaching 101: A Michigan Guide - The Awesome Mitten
Photo by Josh Super

The term Geocaching may not be in your vocabulary. Is it a term that interests you? What if I told you there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of small treasures hiding all around you, wherever you go?

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a worldwide game where people hide logbooks, containers, and sometimes goodies in locations all around the world. They then post coordinates to the location. Others go and try to find the hidden treasure, called a ‘cache.’

I’m sure you’ve walked by hundreds of geocaches in your life. Michigan alone has tens of thousands of geocaches. Some in lamp poles, some in bushes. There might even be one hidden amongst the trees you walk by on your way to work every day. They are hidden in different kinds of containers, from small pill bottles to large wooden boxes, you never know what you could find!

Each geocache also has its own rating for difficulty and terrain (D/T) on a scale from 1-5. One is extremely easy, while five is extremely difficult. A geocache rating of 5/1 is extremely difficult to find, but the terrain is extremely easy. An example of this kind of geocache is an easily accessible rock pile, but the geocache is a fake rock in a pile of hundreds of real rocks.

Geocaching 101: A Michigan Guide - The Awesome Mitten
Photo by Josh Super

The Expert

Michigan geocaches are unique in many ways. I’ve found my share of them, but for this article, I had to turn to a Michigan geocaching expert:

Josh Super goes by the caching name Superjosh92. Super has been geocaching for years and has found 8,903 geocaches in Michigan alone. I sat down with him and asked him a few questions regarding some of his best finds. He also passed along advice for Michiganders looking to start off on this hobby.

What’s your favorite Michigan geocache you’ve found?

“My favorite geocache I found in Michigan was something called a “multi-cache.” It took me to an abandoned kiln. To find the cache, you had to crawl through tunnels, climb ladders, and explore passageways through the old building. It was quite cool!”

What’s unique about geocaching in Michigan?

The most unique thing about geocaching in Michigan is the vast variety of cache types and hides that you can find. In a lot of other regions, you’re typically finding the same style of cache. In Michigan, you are looking for caches in all shapes and sizes, in all sorts of ways. From parking lot lamp skirts to tree climbs to wading through tunnels to kayaking to ice walks to traditional forest hides.”

Geocaching 101: A Michigan Guide - The Awesome Mitten
Photo by Josh Super

What advice would you give to those looking to geocache in Michigan?

“Some advice I would give for those caching in Michigan, depending on the region, is to always be aware of poison ivy and ticks. I would always research the cache in advance due to some of the conditions I mentioned in the previous response. Always look at the difficulty/terrain ratings and cache type beforehand. For those seeking a more special/memorable kind of cache, look for a high favorite count (blue heart) on the cache page.”

What’s the hardest geocache you’ve ever found in the state?

I’ve climbed some really difficult trees for geocaches but probably the hardest one I’ve ever found was in Newaygo State Park, a cache named “GC4B8F7.” You go to the site and it is a giant box with tons of numbers painted on it. One is the correct passcode for the lock securing the container. From there you have four ammo cans (which are common geocaching containers). These are all locked and contain clues to unlock the final container containing the logbook. It was very difficult and took the two of us nearly two hours to complete. Lots of twists and turns along the way.”

Geocaching 101: A Michigan Guide - The Awesome Mitten
Photo by Josh Super

Just for fun, what’s the most insane geocache you’ve found anywhere in the world?

“There’s two that I can say are the most insane I ever attempted. The first was at a rock quarry in Tennessee where you had to swim across the deep quarry and climb a 25-foot vertical cliff (if you fell you would splash into deep water). Once at the top, you had to explore a 30-foot narrow cave until you located the container. I didn’t have a flashlight that could get wet so I had to search around blindly for nearly an hour until I found it.

The other took place in Germany. That was all the way at the top of a 180-foot abandoned industrial chimney. There was a ladder going through the middle with 120 rungs to the top. On the way, there were lots of spiders and having to trust that each of those rungs wouldn’t break off and send you careening below. Not to mention the feeling of getting closer to the light at end the tunnel above you, but taking forever to reach it. The view at the top was stunning.”

Now, I can’t say I love geocaching as much a Josh, but I do think it’s an incredible way to get outside and active. Plus, it’s free and a great year-round activity.

Interested in playing? Download the free ‘Geocaching’ app! Geocaches are near you right now!

What is your best geocache of all time? Where is your favorite place in Michigan to play?

Geocaching 101: A Michigan Guide - The Awesome Mitten
Photo by Josh Super

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