Welcome to the Petrified Forest National Park EarthCache Program! This National Park Service-sponsored recreational activity leads you to some of the park's significant geological resources. Using your own Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and a set of clues obtained from this website and hidden along the journey, you can guide yourself to a series of sites in the park. To make your experience an unforgettable success, please read these guidelines and suggestions.
Please note that geocaching with traditional physical caches is not permitted in the park without the permission of the National Park Service.
Scroll down to see the various Earthcaches in the park.
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache's existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS device can then try to locate the geocache. For more information on geocaching, visit Geocaching.com. At Petrified Forest National Park, you can look for EarthCaches.
What is an EarthCache?
An EarthCache is a special place that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth. EarthCaches include a set of educational notes and the details about where to find the location (latitude and longitude). There is no physical (traditional) geocache involved in an EarthCache! Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage the resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth. For more information about EarthCaches, visit Earthcache.org.
What you will need to participate:
- GPS unit
- Map of Petrified Forest National Park
- Piece of paper and pen
- Compass (optional, but it may prove useful)
- Enthusiasm to learn and explore Petrified Forest National Park!
- This program requires the use of park roads. Park roads are closed to vehicles after the park closes even if you have an overnight permit for backpacking in the wilderness area.
- All of the sites are located on trails or hardened surfaces. There is no need to go off trail; doing so will take you farther away from the site.
- As with all EarthCache sites, there are no physical caches to be found. You do not need to find a physical box to continue the program. Instead you will be required to search for hidden clues and respond to the requirements of the creator of the EarthCache.
- Parking is available at or near each coordinate.
- As with all park visitors, you are required to pay the park entrance fee at the park entrance stations. The Petrified Forest National Park Annual Pass or the America the Beautiful Annual Pass, Senior Pass, Access Pass, or Volunteer Pass can be used in lieu of paying the entrance fee. There is no fee to participate in the EarthCache Program.
- Click here for park hours of operation.
How the program works:
- Use your GPS and provided clues to search for and find multiple EarthCaches. You will be required to read a limited amount of background information and solve a clue at each site to discover the next site's coordinates.
- With the successful completion of the program, you can work towards a EarthCache Masters pin. Click here to see the different levels available!
- The tour will take you over much of the park, and you are guaranteed to see and learn about some striking geological and paleontological features.
- Most of all, HAVE FUN!
A formatted, printer-friendly version of this information is available here (pdf 121 kb). Are you interested in learning more about EarthCache activities nationwide? Then visit the Geological Society of America's EarthCache website.
Click on the links below to find EarthCaches at Petrified Forest National Park.