• Visitors bask in a golden sunset at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center in Shenandoah National Park

    Shenandoah

    National Park Virginia

Getting Started With EarthCaching

Two female hikers at the summit of Hawksbill study their GPS units.

GPS Units can be fun tools for exploring Shenandoah.

Read the guidelines and suggestions posted below, bring your GPS unit and digital camera, and get ready to discover fascinating features of Shenandoah's history and geology for yourself!

What you will need to participate:

  • GPS device
  • Digital Camera (optional)
  • A user account at www.geocaching.com
  • Printout of specific Shenandoah National Park EarthCache information from www.earthcache.org and a pen or pencil
  • Enthusiasm to explore Shenandoah National Park!

Things to know before your EarthCache adventure:

  • Access to Shenandoah National Park is required to complete a park-based EarthCache. Visitors have widespread access from late March - November. Please be advised of potential road closures for Skyline Drive for construction work, during deer hunting season, and in the event of inclement weather. Click here for information about road closures prior to your visit. Also be advised that most visitor services are closed from December - March. Click here for detailed facility information.
  • While there is no fee for participation in the EarthCache program, all visitors are required to pay park entrance fees. Click here for fee information.
  • All EarthCaches are located along marked trails. Do not go off trail! Doing so is unsafe and will take you farther away from your destination. Parking is available at each trailhead.
  • As with all EarthCaches, there are no physical caches to be found. Search for natural features to answer the questions. Learning about the natural wonders of the park when you visit the site is the treasure!

How the Program Works

  1. Set up a membership to access complete EarthCache listings. The basic membership is free!
  2. Choose an EarthCache found in Shenandoah National Park. The park is divided into 3 sections: North, Central, and South Districts. Look for EarthCache opportunities in each district!
  3. The estimated time to complete each EarthCache varies depending on trail conditions, terrain, and your own pace preference. Check the difficulty and terrain ratings listed on each EarthCache to help you decide which one is best for you.
  4. Log in and print the text of the EarthCache you have selected and either download or manually enter the GPS coordinates for the EarthCache objectives into your GPS device. Once in the park, use your GPS device to locate the EarthCache objectives and answer the questions. Each Shenandoah National Park EarthCache is a separate entity so you can choose to complete the ones that look most interesting or are most suitable for you.
  5. Return to the EarthCache.org website to log in your EarthCache and give a short statement about your experience. You can also email the answers to the EarthCache questions separately so you won't give away the answers to future EarthCache enthusiasts.

Trail

Accessible

Skyline
Drive Mile

District

Map

EarthCache Link

Compton Peak

10.4

North

North District

Compton Peak EarthCache

Little Stony Man

39.1

Central

Skyland Area

Little Stony Man EarthCache

Old Rag Mountain

Park Boundary See Map

Central

Old Rag Area

Old Rag EarthCache

Bearfence Mountain

56.4

Central

Lewis Mountain Area

Bearfence Earthcache

Skyline Drive Car & Wheelchair

71.8

South Eaton Hollow Overlook The Lowly Worm EarthCache
Skyline Drive Car & Wheelchair

74.5

South Loft Mountain Overlook Seeing Spots & Lines EarthCache

Blackrock

84.8

South

Rip Rap Area

Blackrock Earthcache

More Information

EarthCaching is a world-wide phenomenon! If you are interested in finding out more, visit www.earthcache.org

 

Trail

Accessible

Skyline Drive Mile

District

Map

EarthCache Link

Compton Peak


10.4

North

North District

Compton Peak EarthCache

Little Stony Man


39.1

Central

Skyland Area

Little Stony Man EarthCache

Old Rag Mountain


Park Boundary
(see map)

Central

Old Rag Area

Old Rag EarthCache

Bearfence Mountain


56.4

Central

Lewis Mountain Area

Bearfence Earthcache

Skyline Drive

Car & Wheelchair

71.8

South

Eaton Hollow Overlook

The Lowly Worm EarthCache

Skyline Drive

Car & Wheelchair

74.5

South

Loft Mountain Overlook

Seeing Spots & Lines EarthCache

Blackrock


84.8

South

Rip Rap Area

Blackrock Earthcache



 

Did You Know?

The huge gray granite boulders rise above the green ridges of Old Rag Mountain.

A favorite of hikers, Shenandoah National Park’s Old Rag Mountain is made of billion-year-old granite.