Pacific Northwest Geocaching Bucket List

The Pacific Northwest region of North America is well-known among geocaching enthusiasts worldwide. Consisting of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon (and in some cases parts of Idaho and California), the PNW is home to its fair share of geocaching lore and legend.

In fact, the oldest cache of all time – placed by David Ulmer in May 2000 – was in the Beavercreek area of Oregon. Though the original cache is long gone, a commemorative plaque still rests in its place and is a popular stop for diehard geocachers.

Several other popular and even famous geocaches scatter the countryside of the rainy Pacific Northwest. GC12, for instance, is another one of extreme popularity that most geocachers in the area find themselves hunting down at some point. It is actually something of a Mecca for geocachers as it is the second oldest cache in existence (and the oldest surviving).

In addition to several individual caches, there are several well-known and difficult geocaching challenges based in the PNW. These include the Jasmer Challenge and the DeLorme Challenge. Both are time-consuming and tough to finish but are extremely rewarding as well. And, hey, you get to see a lot of the great outdoors in the process.

Because of the abundance of geocaches in the Pacific Northwest and because of the activity’s lengthy history in the area, I wanted to put together a short bucket list of sorts for PNW geocaches. These are the caches that I feel everyone who lives in the area needs to do before they die. Have I done them all? No. Do I plan on it? Definitely. But as you know, geocaching takes time. See if you can beat me to it!

My short PNW geocaching bucket list:

Original Stash Tribute Plaque

Original Stash plaqueBeavercreek, Oregon, the oldest geocache in the world. It’s definitely worth the hike for anyone with even a remote interest in geocaching.




GC12 Stash logAh, the above mentioned, GC12, the second oldest cache in the world. A great cache for anyone interested in the historical aspect of the activity. The coordinates listed bring you within about thirty feet of the cache so some hunting around is required. However, I find that this adds to the pleasure of the experience.


Evergreen Night Cache

Beginning at the Evergreen State College Beach Trail, this cache is available only at night and ends at the top of a hill about a half mile away. The guy who made the cache included bright-white firetacks marking the trail to the top. Simply shine your flashlight on these and the trail is easy to follow. The view from the top of the hill (out across Eld Inlet) is what makes this one-of-a-kind cache so special.

Big Fans

Located at the east portal of the Cascade Tunnel, Big Fans is the perfect geocache for those with an interest in trains or tunnels. The mountain scenery is beautiful in itself. The cache’s name comes from the gigantic nearby axial fans that are used to ventilate the train tunnel.

Big Fans geocache

Covered Bridges of Wahkiakum County

This cache is a fun one because it is located on the only covered bridge that is still in use in Washington. Plus, it’s maintained by a local butterfly hunting group so the cache itself is butterfly themed.

Wahkiakum Covered Bridge geocache

Rock Face

When I first heard about this cache, I was sure that its name meant a steep rock face, like a cliff. I was wrong! The Rock Face cache is actually located near a giant rock with a face carved into one side. It’s an easy hike with a quirky surprise at the end and is a great one to do with kids. The Rock Face cache is located near Rossland, British Columbia.

Rock Face geocache


So, there you have it!

My geocaching bucket list for the Pacific Northwest. I know there aren’t a lot of caches on it yet, but the ones I have added are a great start and I’m planning on adding more in the near future.

Instead of using my GPS when I’m out geocaching, I’ve been using my smartphone more and more. The Geocaching App from has been very helpful. And of course, I’ve also started using MapDash – which adds a whole new layer to geocaching, adding in puzzles, hints, rewards, leaderboards and other interactions that turn geocaching into a game you can play with friends (not to mention it’s much easier to create new locations).  Make sure to sign up for the beta so you can try it out too.

Do you have any suggestions for great caches in the Pacific Northwest? Have you located any of the ones that I discussed above on my bucket list? Do you have your own geocaching bucket list? What about smartphones, have you ever used yours for geocaching? Let me know in the comments below.


Showing 3 comments
  • RoyCarole

    Certainly, Groundspeak Headquarters (GCK25B) where it all started, after it all started. Well worth the trip but you need to schedule your visit in advance. Also, the nearby Troll’s Lair (GC11HRQ) which is disabled as I write this but should be available again after the construction is completed. And, one of the most visited caches in the world, the PDX Airport Travel Bug Embassy (GCKQXQ) which is also disabled as I write this but will be replaced and enabled soon. Nearly always a plethora of Travel Bugs here.

    • rogerpatterson

      Thanks for highlighting some good urban caches – love the Fremont Troll!

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  • [...] aren’t ‘the best geocaches’ (for some of our favourites, check out our recent blog post on a PNW Geocaching Bucket List), rather these are the caches that you’d have to be really, really brave – or just plain [...]

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