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Geocaching in State Parks

Geocaching Guidelines


Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity for individuals, groups and families that involves finding hidden

A girl opening a geocache
containers known as geocaches by navigating to them using a hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. Many land management agencies have legitimate concerns that geocaching and the hiding of geocaches may have an adverse impact on environmentally sensitive lands, sites of historical or archaeological significance, and the like. California State Parks has reviewed the issues and concerns associated with geocaching activities and has determined the best method for the management of this activity is to leave it to the discretion of the District Superintendent. The units of the California State Park System are diverse and varied and there are parks and management units where geocaching is appropriate and others where it is not.

The Department has developed the following general Geocaching Guidelines to inform the public and help park operations staff properly manage this emerging and popular recreational activity. Additionally, those interested in engaging in geocaching activities at a specific State Park are encouraged to talk to the park staff to learn if the activity is permitted and the rules and regulations associated with that park unit.

Cache Locations

  • Caches may be allowed where they do not affect natural, cultural and historical resources, visitor safety or other park users. The following is a list of terrestrial State Park System unit classifications where geocaching may be permitted (when approved by the District Superintendent):
    - State Beach
    Having fun geocaching.
    - State Seashore
    - State Park
    - State Recreation Area
    - State Vehicular Recreation Area

  • Caches are typically not allowed or encouraged (unless approved by the District Superintendent) in the following terrestrial State Park System unit classifications:
    - State Cultural Reserve
    - State Natural Reserve
    - State Historic Park and State Historic Monument

  • Traditional/physical caches are not allowed in the following terrestrial State Park System unit classifications:
    - Cultural Preserves
    - Natural Preserves
    - State Wilderness

  • Virtual caches (managed at Waymarking.com) are encouraged and must adhere to the applicable requirements used for physical caches. With district superintendent approval, virtual caches will be permitted in those State Park classifications where physical caches are not generally allowed.

  • Caches may not be buried, nor may vegetation, rocks or other features be marked or damaged in the process of placing, accessing or maintaining the cache.

  • Physical caches are not permitted inside or upon any State Park facility or structure.

  • Caches may not be permanently attached (glued, bolted, or screwed) to any historic structure, monument, archaeological, natural or geologic feature.

  • Caches are not allowed within 300 feet of streams, marshes or sensitive water features.

  • Caches may not be placed more than 3 feet from a designated trail.
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