Getting Started With Geocaching in NJ
Looking to get out and about on a hike, but also want to go on a scavenger hunt? Then geocaching is perfect for you! To summarize, geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunt that is done via a GPS device. You can use an actual GPS or your smartphone (depending on your signal) to find the “cache,” which can contain a guest log and various items. Geocaching can be done year round, but may be difficult after a snow or ice storm because caches can get blocked, or roads leading to the cache may be closed. Before you begin, check out the information provided below.
How it Works
There are various places online where you can find starting points for geocaches.
- Geocaching.com is the most comprehensive, and also comes with an app for iOS and Android devices. Once you find a set of coordinates, enter it in your GPS or smartphone. Usually, most caches request that you leave an item of greater or equal value once you approach them.
- Skylands Visitor has an article explaining geocaching in great detail, but here are a few terms that you should know from the start.
- Cache – this is the treasure. Usually, it will be placed in a metal box, Tupperware, or another type of waterproof container.
- Founder – the person who places the cache. This person will post the coordinates of the cache online, and a few clues on how to get to the site.
- Hitchhiker/traveler – a note inside a geocache that suggests for the finder to take their item to another geocache they locate.
Different Types of Geocaches
There are a few different types of geocaches that are out there.
- Traditional – caches will be placed in a container and will contain a logbook.
- Mystery or Puzzle – usually involves multiple puzzles that you’ll need to solve before finding the coordinates of the actual cache.
- Multi-Cache – caches are at two or more locations.
- Event Cache – local geocachers gather at a specific coordinate, and the event is archived by the founder.
These are the most usual types you’ll find throughout New Jersey. There are other ones that are a bit more complex, and may require you to take extra steps before visiting the caches.
Popular Geocaching Spots in New Jersey
Morris County: Tourne County Park
Source: Instagram (@nynjtc)
Tourne County Park is a great spot for geocaching and is also a popular trail for residents of Denville, Boonton, and surrounding areas. There’s a multicache here called Needful Things that’s great for first time geocachers. After your cache, stick around to catch a glimpse of the NYC skyline or during the spring, check out wildflowers.
Somerset County: Washington Rock Park
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Have some spare time? Washington Rock Park in Green Brook is the starting point for the Central Jersey Cache, which involves three other points throughout Central Jersey. The park is also a historic site as it is where General George Washington saw the British army head towards Westfield during the Revolutionary War. No digging is necessary to find this cache.
Bergen County: Ramapo Valley County Reservation
This is a hotspot for multi-caches. Ramapo Valley County Reservation is also home to New Jersey’s first ever geocache spot. The entrance to the park is located just off Route 202, but make sure to look up your desired caching locations before you go, as the park spans over 4000 acres.
Middlesex County: Cheesequake State Park
Source: Wikimedia Commons
If you don’t mind getting a little wet or muddy, then the swamps of Cheesequake State Park are a perfect geocaching spot for you. Located on the border of Middlesex and Monmouth Counties in Old Bridge, there’s a great multicache called Melvin’s Multiple Madness that will take approximately 3 to 4 hours to complete. There are a few other notes that you should take into consideration:
- Park closes at dusk. Allow plenty of time to complete the cache.
- Try to complete this cache during low tide (you can find tide charts here.
Note that the places above are common “hotspots” where geocaches can usually be found. This does not guarantee that there is a geocache available at any given time.