Geocaching


Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.

The Butler-Freeport Community Trail provides access to 40+ geocaches which range from tiny film canister size to small match holder size to large 50 cal ammo box size.
Our trail council and BACON, a local geocaching group sponsor introductiory geocaching events throughout the year along our trail.

In May 2000, the United States government officially removed “selective availability” from the Global Positioning System satellites. This meant that civilian GPS units now possessed greater accuracy than previously permitted. Within days a GPS enthusiast hid a container in the backcountry of Oregon, posted the coordinates on the internet and told others to “go find it!”. The phenomenon of Geocaching sprang from that one simple posting! As it has grown in the years since, it still is a simple process: find the cache, optionally take and leave something, and sign the logbook. Always bring your own pen or pencil! The cache may have one or not.

Getting started is easy. If you have a handheld GPS and Internet access, you’re halfway there! Log on to GEOCACHING.COM and enter the zip code, location name or gps coordinates of the location where you would like to go geocaching. Location names to use along our trail are: Butler, Vogleyville, Herman,Great Belt, Marwood, Cabot, Sarver, Monroe and Laneville. Our website’s maps page has a trailhead chart which shows the gps coordinates of our trailheads. Also geocaching.com also contains bookmark lists of caches along our trail. Enter the longitude and latitude of the geocache you want to search for into your GPS. You will probably also want to print out a copy of the geocache sheet.

Pay close attention to any suggested parking areas – this may save you lots of bushwacking – and in some cases there may be only one way into the cache. Also review log entries to see if the cache has been found recently or if several searchers couldnt find it it may have been muggled. Some terms or acronyms you may see on the cache sheet: muggle – a non-geocaching person; TFTC Thanks for the cache; TNLN Took nothing, left nothing; SL So long. Go get it! Search in the area your GPS leads you. Usually GPS accuracy will be limited to a thirty-foot area. Keep this in mind as you search. Keep in mind in the summer when the trees are in full folliage, your gps may give less accurate readings – you could be up to 80 feet off. When you find the cache, take something from the container and leave something you’ve brought with you. Sign the logbook and then return the container to its hiding spot for the next finder.

After receiving the coordinates and other information from the website, another Geocacher uses a hand-held GPS to look for the cache. The GPS receives signals from the Global Positioning System satellites to give the user their current longitude and latitude. However, the Geocacher has no idea of the altitude of the cache location or the terrain or what kind of structure the cache container might be hidden in. This is part of the challenge of finding the cache!

An inexpensive hand-held GPS can receive signals from the 26 Global Positioning System satellites in orbit over 12,000 miles away! A Geocacher carefully chooses a location and fills a container with items to trade and a logbook. He then registers his new cache on GEOCACHING.COM to share it with the rest of the world.

As Geocaching has grown, several variations of the game have evolved. Some are: Containers are typically watertight and often are transparent, so that the contents are clearly visible to anyone who might stumble across it accidentally. The finder takes something from the container as a memento of their visit, leaves something for the next player, signs the logbook and returns the container to its hiding place. Later, they will log their visit on GEOCACHING.COM so that others can read about their adventure.
Geocaching is a great activity for young and old alike. Whole families form geocaching teams and spend time searching together! Hand-held GPS units start at about $100.

Nano-Caches

Pencil size canisters often only several inches long containing a tiny rolled up logsheet. Bring your own pen or pencil to write on it. Tweezers may be useful to get the log sheet out of the container.

Micro-Caches

Small caches often hidden in 35mm film canisters, usually with just a log-sheet. Very often these are hidden in urban settings with the challenge being finding them without being noticed.

Multi-Caches

A cache in which the finder must follow a set of instructions and go to several locations before finally finding the cache container. This is a great way to offer a guided tour of an area.

Event-Caches

A meeting where several Geocachers get together for a day of fun. These are usually held in state parks or other public areas.

Mystery-Caches

A puzzle must be solved in order to find the location of the cache container. The posibilities are only limited by the imagination and cunning of the hider.

Butler Freeport Trail Historic Geo Trail

Twenty historical caches have been placed on the trail. Each cache box contains a passport (please take only one passport)(download one here BFTHGT passport) visit each cache and obtain the keyword, when you have filled your passport contact president@butlerfreeporttrail.org to purchase your custom, traceable geocoin or it will be available at local events. A $10 donation is requested. We are using this program as a fundraiser to place historical kiosks along the trail. The first social event for the BFHGT is May 15th 4-6 pm at N40 49.093, W79 48.652 Come hang out and share caching stories. Food is available to purchase if you wish. If you would like to learn how to geocache, please attend the event. There will be experienced cachers to show you how.  To obtain coordinates for the historical caches, you must register at www.geocaching.com

Local Geocaching Events and News

  • BACON forum, published by the Butler Area Cachers of Note group
  • ittsburgh Area Geocaching Association website at PAGA where you can also purchase geocaching supplies.