• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

Frequently Asked GPS Questions

Bush Lupine can be found throughout the park on hillsides like this one.

One of the biggest challenges that face visitors and park rangers in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the complex checkerboard of landowners and their myriad land-use regulations.

A Patchwork of Parkland

The mosaic of federal, state, county, and local parklands and private lands in the Santa Monica Mountains makes it difficult for visitors to understand where they can and cannot go geocaching. Their confusion is understandable, as establishing traditional geocaches (with physical objects) and placing letterboxes, travel bugs (objects passed from cache to cache), or any other type of cached object on NPS parklands are not generally permitted.

 
While not found everywhere, ferns can be seen in cool, wet areas of park in many canyons.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ's) we get:

Where do I find out more about geocaching?

Geocaching.com is considered the go to site for information about GPS activities and is the premier site that lists all the various types of geocaches in the world.

Does the National Park Service provide the public with GPS units?

Currently, the National Park Service does not have a program in place for the loaning out of GPS units. However, on certain ranger-led GPS hikes, we have a few to loan out for the program for you to try-out.

How do I find information on buying a GPS unit of my own?

Geocaching.com has an excellent guide to buying a GPS on their website. You can visit it by clicking here.

How come I can't place my own geocaches on National Park Service land?

Currently, the National Park Service does not permit traditional caches, letterboxes, travel bugs or any other type of cache where an object is left behind on NPS property. Even though there is no rule prohibiting GPS activities in National Parks, there are a handful of different rules and regulations that these caches violate.

 
Acorns are hidden in branches by woodpeckers for use at a later date.

What rules and regulations are violated by the placement of physical geocaches?

Violations:

36 CFR 2.22(a)(2) Property - The following are prohibited: Leaving property unattended for longer than 24 hours, except in locations where longer time periods have been designated or in accordance with the conditions established by the superintendent.

These three are potential violations, depending on placement of the geocache:

36 CFR 2.1(a)(1)(ii) Preservation of natural, cultural and archeological resources - Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the following is prohibited: Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing from its natural state: Plants or the parts or products thereof.

36 CFR 2.1(a)(1)(iii) Preservation of natural, cultural and archeological resources - Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the following is prohibited: Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing from its natural state: Nonfossilized and fossilized paleontological specimens, cultural or archeaological resources, or the parts, thereof.

36 CFR 2.1(a)(1)(iv) Preservation of natural, cultural and archeological resources - Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the following is prohibited: Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing from its natural state: A mineral resource or the parts thereof.

36 CFR 2.31(a)(3) Trespassing, tampering and vandalism - The following are prohibited: Vandalism. Destroying, injuring, defacing, or damaging property or real property.

Did You Know?