A hiker holds a compass in the woods.
Compass in Forest A hiker references a compass while hiking at a TNC preserve. © Ben Herndon/Tandemstock.com

Stories in Michigan

Geocaching in Michigan

Turn your next nature hike into a treasure hunt!

Hikers at a preserve on a sunny autumn day
Exploring Nature Geocaching with family and friends is a great way to experience TNC preserves. © Devan King/TNC

You can use geocaching as an exciting way to explore the landscape, to discover someplace new and share special places with other outdoor enthusiasts. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches or earthcaches, using a smartphone or GPS, and can then share their experiences online.

Geocaching can be done on any kind of outing, whether that’s a day hiking at Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve, or an afternoon stroll at the Nan Weston Preserve at Sharon Hollow

Guidelines & Permit


Geocaching is a great activity for kids. It gets the whole family outside to explore the natural world, and teaches kids about navigation with the fun reward of finding real hidden treasure. Once back home, you can share your stories and photos of the adventure online.

Log on to geocaching.com to set up a free account and start the hunt! Then visit the following TNC preserves in Michigan to find geocaches and earthcaches: 

Preserve Name Waypoint Type of Cache
Mary Macdonald Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor GC34PC3 Earthcache
Mary Macdonald Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor GC3ARDY Earthcache
Maxton Plains Preserve GCPW9N Earthcache
Nan Weston Preserve at Sharon Hollow* GC60BHX Traditional Geocache
Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve GC1EFVD  Traditional Geocache
Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve GC1ENZG Earthcache
Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve GC1C6VC Traditional Geocache
Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve GC1CF9D Traditional Geocache
Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve GC2AYMQ Traditional Geocache
Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve* GC60BFZ Traditional Geocache
Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve* GC602D8 Traditional Geocache

*Caches at these preserves are owned and maintained by The Nature Conservancy. All other caches have been placed by individuals with prior permission from the Conservancy. The Conservancy is not responsible for maintaining these caches.

You will have a great adventure and may learn a little about our work as you play! Here are some etiquette guidelines to keep in mind when visiting our preserves:

  • Caches are only accessible during hours of operation.
  • Stay on marked trails at all times.
  • Do not litter; carry all trash out with you.
  • Please respect the land; do not remove plants, animals, artifacts or rocks.
  • For your safety and comfort, bring drinking water, hats, sun protection, bug repellent and use appropriate footwear.

Get the full list of guidelines and permitting  instructions for placing a geocache on a TNC preserve. For all other questions, please contact michigan@tnc.org.

What is Geocaching (1:16) Watch this video to learn more about what geocaching is, how it works and how you can become a part of it.