Treasure hunt on the olympic peninsula
By Mary Brelsford for Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau
The stunning Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive covers more than 300 miles and offers a multitude of experiences, from world-renowned shellfish and award-winning craft beverages, to wildlife, lighthouses and waterfalls, to a GeoTour - a REAL, live treasure hunt! Now is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the best of Olympic Peninsula outdoors. We guarantee that the GeoTour will take you to some special places you’ve never been.
A GeoTour is a group of specific caches linked together, usually with a prize involved when all the caches on the tour have been found. This GeoTour will take you to locations for other adventures: near pretty waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail and near some historical World War II military installations. You’ll find local cuisine all around the Peninsula to feed your tummy on the Olympic Culinary Loop, and find some beautiful fall scenery along the way. You might even see some wildlife – whales, deer, Roosevelt elk. Fall is an excellent time to see many different species of birds. So, load the car, charge your phone and join us for this GeoTour.
If you are not familiar with geocaching, it is an outdoor activity in which you use handheld devices to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates, then hunt for the hidden container, known as a “geocache.” Or, as geocachers explain it – “We use multi-billion-dollar satellites to look for Tupperware in the woods!” There are millions of caches all over the world! There are even caches in Antarctica. Antarctica? Really?
After two successful, imaginative Olympic Peninsula GeoTours (OPGT), they are now combined into one GeoTour with one Passport and Two-for-One, well-earned GeoCoins for a completed Passport. After seven years this activity will sunset December 31, 2021. Now is the perfect time to visit this pristine part of Washington.
Check out the Drive the Loop page here for all things GeoTour. Your reward for finding all the caches and completing the Passport is a pair of GeoCoins. There are only 40 sets remaining, so start caching!
You’ll find some lovely waterfalls in the Quinault area where there are three OP caches. Stop in at Lake Quinault Lodge to experience the feel of an old National Park lodge. Along Highway-112, the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway, not only will you find some geocaches, but fall is an especially gorgeous time of year to view the tree leaves changing colors.
Port Townsend has its own charm, and the caches here will give you a good look at the area. Please take time to stop at the Port Townsend Marina to see the Hawaiian Chieftain tall ship out of the water for repairs. Enjoy the architectural history of the town and its artsy scene.
Sequim-area caches have a unique blend for bird watching on the Birding Trail during migration and for fish scouting in the local rivers during the spawning season. With beautiful views along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and fertile Dungeness Valley, you’ll be taken to some out-of-the-way gems to locate the caches in this area.
While you are driving around the OP Loop, soak in the beauty of Olympic National Park and the serene surroundings along the way.
When searching for caches, use all your senses. You may see something that looks like a social trail that perhaps leads to the treasure, or maybe the cache is camouflaged really well, or it might be a really small bison tube called a micro-cache. A page in the app will give you all kinds of hints.
Know Before you Go!
Visit our Open & Closure Status of Recreational Lands blog for more information on park and land closures.
Recreate Responsibly: We want everyone to have fun exploring the Olympic Peninsula on our tour, while still respecting this beautiful area. Please make sure to “pack it in, pack it out” and leave each geocache area as clean (if not cleaner!) then it was when you found it.
There are only 40 sets of GeoCoins, so the sooner you send your passport in, the better chance you have of earning both of the coins.
There are hundreds of geocaches waiting to be found across the Olympic Peninsula that are not part of this GeoTour. Be safe, have fun, and (as we say in the geocaching community) Happy Caching!