Geocaching at Indiana Dunes National Park

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Geocache Image
Zoom in to view the steps on how to complete the Chellberg Farm Maple Sugar Trail.

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a real-world, treasure hunting game that takes place outdoors. Players, called geocachers, locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using their smartphones or GPS device and the free geocaching app. To begin planning your own outdoor adventure:
  1. Register for a free geocaching account at www.geocaching.com
  2. Enter your search location
  3. Choose a geocache in the search results and click navigate
    • Different icons represent the different types of geocaches (see below)
    • Difficulty indicates how hard it is to find the object
    • Terrain indicates how hard it is to get there
  4. Use your GPS-enabled device to locate the hidden geocache, be careful not to trample plants in your search
  5. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its location
  6. In the app, mark the geocache as found and share your story online
The Indiana Dunes National Park has 4 unique types of geocaches.
 
Maple tree sap falling from the spile into the collection bucket
Maple sap dropping from the tapping spile into the collection bucket.

NPS Photo / J. Manuszak

Traditional Geocaches

This is the original type of geocache and the most straightforward. These geocaches are a container at the given coordinates. The size may vary, but at minimum, all of these geocaches will have a logbook. Larger containers may contain items for trade.

Chellberg Farm
GC71B1P - #1 What’s our Grade (by Indiana Dunes)
GC71B2N - #2 Identify a Sugar Maple Tree (by Indiana Dunes)
GC71B3F - #3 What’s Wrong with the Collection Site? (by Indiana Dunes)
GC71B3Y - #4 Can Trees Really Move? (by Indiana Dunes)
 
Large tree growing next to a pond.  Yellow flowers can be seen on the right.
Wetlands of Cowles Bog.

NPS Photo / K. George

EarthCaches

An EarthCache is a special geological location people can visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence. Typically, to log an EarthCache, you will have to provide answers to questions by observing the geological location.

There is no container or logbook for EarthCaches.

Mt. Baldy
GC8P03X – Two Dunes walk into a Sandbar (by Indiana Dunes)

Kemil Beach
GC8NZ0G – Singing Sands (by Indiana Dunes)
GC7PNTZ - Glaciers and Dunes and Lakes, Oh My! (by SGerbs)

Cowles Bog
GC6BAAD – Bog or Fen? (by brcross95)

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk
GC6DPTT – Beach Starvation (by brcross95)

West Beach
GC6BCH8 – West Beach Succession Trail (by brcross95)

Miller Woods
GC6DPVV – Dunes and Swales (by brcross95)
 
People on the beach watching the sun set over the lake between two trees. The sky is pink, blue, and purple.
Sunset over Lake Michigan at Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.

NPS Photo / S. Bensing

Lab Caches

A Lab Geocache is an experimental and extremely rare geocache type. These geocaches have questions that need to be answered in a special geocaching app called Adventure Labs. They may or may not contain a logbook or container.

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk
Save the Dunes! (by LostSailRs)

Various Locations in the park
Restore the Dunes! (by LostSailRs)
Monitor the Dunes! (by LostSailRs)
 
The pink Florida Tropical House is decorated in an art deco style.
Florida Tropical house in the Century of Progress Historic District.

NPS Photo / J. Manuszak

Virtual Caches

A Virtual Cache is about discovering a location rather than a container. The requirements for logging a Virtual Cache vary—you may be required to answer a question about the location, take a picture, complete a task, etc... In any case, you must visit the coordinates before you can post your log.

A Century of Progress Historic District
GC7B9EH – Homes of Tomorrow (by LostSailRs)

Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm
GC7B9T0 – Bailly Homestead / Chellberg Farm (by Buick_Porter)
 

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Last updated: September 10, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304

Phone:

(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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