Geocaching Regulations: Minimum Separation Between Caches

Struggling to find the right spot for your geocache? Thinking it will overlap with other geocaches in the nearby location? Then this guide is for you. Let’s explore how far geocaches should be apart:

As per the standard guidelines, geocaches have to be minimum 0.1 miles or 528 feet apart from each other. This minimum distance is applicable to all types of physical caches and it’s important to ensure organized and adventurous geocaching experience.

But that’s not all! Stick around to find out why these distances matter, how different cache types affect placement, and some creative tips on what to do when you can’t find the right spot.

How Far Do Geocaches Have To Be Apart?

Cache Type:Distance in miles
Traditional Cache0.1 miles (0.16 km) minimum distance required
Mystery Cache2 miles (3.2 km) maximum distance allowed
Multi Cache0.1 miles (0.16 km) minimum distance required. No maximum distance limit.

In most geocaching apps, there’s a preset limit of minimum distance each cache must maintain. If your cache fails to fulfill that criteria, the cache won’t get published.

And yep, the apps are pretty strict about it. Why? To avoid cache saturation and confusion among users. Let me explain.

Why Minimum Distance Between Geocaches Matter?

The first common reason for having a minimum distance criteria between caches is because of the cache saturation.

Just think about a small park filled with multiple caches for a second. Sounds like too much, right?

It would ruin the geocaching experience. And let’s face it, who would find it enjoyable? The real fun of geocaching is the adventure, challenge and exciting experience that comes along with it.

The time it takes can vary a lot. If you’re new to this and wondering how long geocaching takes, we’ve got you covered!

If caches are placed too close, due to cache saturation the activity won’t be fun anymore.

Secondly, too many caches can lead to discovery of wrong caches among geocachers. This can create a complete mess and confuse the geocachers.

So, because of all these reasons, there’s a minimum distance set between each cache. The general rule is to place each cache at a distance of at least 0.1 miles or 528 feet away.

If you’re looking for more information on geocaching, feel free to explore our comprehensive guide on geocaching.

geocaching met kinderen

Types of Cache and Their Distance Requirement

Traditional caches are pretty straightforward. You’re given coordinates, you search for the location, and finally locate your geocache. Now there’s another type of geocache that is quite popular in the geocaching community. It is called “Mystery Cache.”

Just like that name of the cache, in a Mystery Cache, you don’t get the particular coordinates of the geocaches right away. Instead, you first get a bogus coordinate. After you go to that location, solve a puzzle or understand the clue, then only you will know the final (actual) coordinates of the mystery cache. Sounds cool, right?

Then there’s also another type of cache called Multi-Cache. In a multi cache, to locate the final coordinates of the geocache, the geocacher is supposed to go through multiple stages, involving at least 2 or more spots.

Each spot or stage leads to another stage, until you finally find the coordinates of the geocache. So this is how it all works.

But now the question is how far should you place the geocache in a mystery cache or multi cache?

Now here’s the thing: 

The minimum distance guideline of 528 feet follows for all types of physical caches (there’s no minimum distance requirement for non-physical geocaches).

So whether it’s a mystery cache, or a physical cache, or even a regular cache, it should be spaced out by a distance of at least 528 feet.

Now in the mystery cache, there’s also a maximum distance limit–which is–the final coordinates must be within 2 miles distance from the published coordinates.

In multi-cache, there’s no such maximum distance limit and people have placed each stage of the multi-cache even spanning across states and even continents, yep you read that right, continents!

a geocache

What To Do If You Can’t Find A Good Location To Hide The Geocache

If you live in a saturated area, it’s possible that you often face errors while posting the cache details.

And yep, if it’s triggering the system for cache being too near, then you could likely end up wasting time, because there are very slight chances of that getting published. The apps are pretty strict about maintaining the minimum distance.

So what to do when you face such issues?

Well, you can look for other locations in the same area. If your immediate area isn’t yielding any good spots, expand your search zone. Sometimes an extra ten-minute drive can open up a lot of possibilities.

If horizontal space is the issue, why not go up? Trees or other tall structures can offer unique hiding places, just ensure it’s safe and allowed. Speaking of safety, you might be wondering, is geocaching safe? It’s a valid question, and we’ve got the answers for you.

Another option is to contact the other cache owner and request them to slightly move their cache so you can place your cache in the desired spot. 

Other than that, there’s nothing much to do if your cache spot is overlapping with another cache spot and violating the 528 feet guideline.

How To Hide A Geocache On The App?

Unfortunately, you can’t hide and publish a geocache directly through the app. You have to visit the official geocaching website for this process.

Here’s a step-by-step quick guide on how to hide your geocache app:

https://youtu.be/17594FrASSg?si=B66dQ0pqFEmcmFaB
  1. First, find a cool spot for your cache. Make it somewhere interesting but not too obvious. A place you’d be excited to discover yourself is a good start!
  2. Then, it’s time Pick a container that’s waterproof and durable. Lock & Lock boxes or strong cans work great. Put a little logbook and some cool caches (keychains, toys, coins, stamps, etc) inside the container. 
  3. Use your GPS to find the precise coordinates where you’ll be hiding the cache. You’ll need these for the next step, so jot them down accurately.
  4. Since you can’t hide the geocache using the app, hop on over to the geocaching website. Find the “Hide a Geocache” page and get ready to input your details.
  5. Here’s where those coordinates come into play. Fill out the online form, providing all the details about your cache. 
  6. Finally, submit your cache details for review.
  7. After submitting, your cache will be reviewed. Most times, it gets approved within a day, but give it a week time just in case needed.
  8. Once approved, your cache will be published and others can start looking for it in the outdoors! Woohoo!
  9. But wait, don’t sit back just yet. Keep an eye on your cache’s online logs. This lets you know if something’s missed or if people are having trouble finding it.
  10. It’s also essential to visit your cache every now and then to make sure it’s in good shape. Replace the logbook if it’s full and make sure the caches are still fun to find.

How To Check The Distance Between Geocaches

Okay, so maybe you’re wondering how close can your cache be to another one. Usually, the minimum distance is about 0.1 miles or 528 feet. Here’s how to check the distance.

Step 1: Note Down the Coordinates

Find the coordinates of the existing geocache and your intended hide. Write them down.

Step 2: Use a Geocache Distance Calculator

There are online tools designed specifically to measure the distance between two sets of geocache coordinates.

For instance, GeocachingToolBox.com offers this feature. You simply enter the coordinate details and hit calculate to know the difference.

Step 3: Input the Coordinates

Pop in the coordinates of both the existing cache and your intended location into the calculator. Hit “Calculate.”

Step 4: Read the Results

The tool will tell you the distance between the two spots. If it’s more than 0.1 miles or 528 feet, you’re good to go!

Where To Hide A Geocache?

Good Place To Hide GeocacheBad Place To Hide Geocache
Public ParksRailway Stations
Public BeachesPrivate Property
Picnic SpotsSchool Grounds
Open FieldsAirports
Hiking TrailsElectrical Stations

How Many Geocaches Do We Need To Hide One?

Geocaching.com recommends that you should find at least 20 geocaches before you think about hiding one. However, remember that there’s no hard and fast rule to it. Technically, you can hide one even without finding a lot of geocaches.

That said, it’s essential to find a good number of geocaches first to get a complete understanding of the game. You get the feel of how everything works when you actually find a few geocaches at first. You’ll understand what makes a good geocache and learn some do’s and don’ts. 

The idea is that the more you find, the better your own hidden cache will be. You want people to enjoy finding your cache as much as you’ve enjoyed finding others, right?

FAQs

Can I Hide A Geocache Without A Premium Account?

Absolutely, you can! You don’t need a premium account to hide a geocache. Just make sure you read and follow the geocaching guidelines. Why? Because your cache will go through a review process before it’s published. If it doesn’t meet the requirements, it won’t go live.

How To Get Coordinates For Geocaching?

Getting the right coordinates is super important. You have a few options:

  • Geocaching Device–Specialized GPS devices made for geocaching can be pretty accurate.
  • Smartphone’s GPS–Got a smartphone? The GPS feature can do the job for you.
  • Google Maps–You can use Google Maps to find coordinates, but keep in mind that it might not be the most accurate method.
  • Geocaching Apps–There are apps designed specifically for geocaching, and they can help you find the right spot.

Pro-Tip: Your first reading may not be super accurate. To get the most accurate coordinates, take multiple waypoints and average them.

How Often Do I Need To Visit My Geocache For Maintenance?

The general rule is 2-3 times a year. But keep an eye on your logbook. If you start seeing a bunch of DNF (Did Not Find) entries, that’s your cue. It’s a good idea to check your cache sooner rather than later to make sure everything’s in order.

But what if you’re wondering if a geocache you want to find is still there? Check out how to know if a geocache is still there for some helpful tips.

geocaching tips

Final Thoughts

So, how far do geocaches have to be apart? Simple: a minimum of 0.1 miles or 528 feet. This distance helps keep the game fun and organized.

For mystery and multi-caches, the distances can vary, but that 0.1-mile minimum distance guideline is applicable in all situations. 

If you’re having issues finding a good geocache hide, think creatively or maybe– even go vertical. 

Ready to let others have fun finding your cache? Hide your geocache now! Happy Geocaching!

Patrick

I have been camping and going outdoors for over 15 years! My first experience was when I joined the scouts. There I learned a lot. From building a campfire to set up a really big tent. Then I know this is awesome. Around 2005 I also started Geocaching. This is a lot of fun. And every time we go camping we look at the map to see if there are some nice caches around.

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