Remember the craze of Geocaching? It was a real-life treasure hunt of sorts that reached popularity throughout the world in 2000.
People would hunt down the cache using online clues, GPS to track down the exact latitude and longitude (remember, this was before everyone had a super fancy smartphone), and eventually would find the hidden treasure. That "treasure" mostly consisted of low-cost items like keychains, maybe a postcard...it really could be anything.
You would then log your name on the sometimes very small piece of paper hidden with the treasure. And, if my memory serves me correctly, there was a time when you would exchange a small treasure you brought with you with the one you found to always make sure there was something there for the next person who hunted it down.
While Geocaching has, obviously, evolved in the 22 years since it became a trend, it's still a popular way of getting out of the house, into nature, and activating your inner detective.
Here are just a few of the trails offering Geocaching spots in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. You can see a full map of Michigan's Geocaching trails at Traillink.com.
1. Kal-Haven Trail State Park
The Kal-Haven Trail State Park has 33 miles of trails from Kalamazoo to South Haven providing plenty of space to hide a little trinket or treasure for you to find. You can read more about the park and download a map of all the trails here.
2. Kalamazoo River Valley Trail
Another massive trail, the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is a multi-purpose trail for those who are walking, running, or biking. There is also a portion of the trail that intersects with the Kal-Haven Trail State Park. The hope is that, eventually, it will act as a connector from Battle Creek to Kalamazoo to Portage and so on. So far, the trail consists of 24 miles of paved trail with the end goal of 35 miles of paved trail. See the full map and more here.
3. Portage Creek Bicentennial Park
The Portage Creek Bicentennial Park offers 8 miles of biking/walking trails, picnic areas with grills, and plenty of scenic views. See the full map and park hours here.
4. Battle Creek Linear Park
The beautiful thing about the Battle Creek Linear Park is that it's accessible throughout Battle Creek. There's no singular entrance. The park consists of 26 miles of paved pathways that are also handicapped-accessible. Their website also offers different suggestions for how to tackle the park depending on what you're looking to do (running, just walking, etc.). Read more here.
5. Calhoun County Trailway
The Calhoun County Trailway is part of an entire network of trails from Kalamazoo to Battle Creek. One access point is the Ott Biological Preserve (pictured above). See the full map of trails here.
Okay, those are the trails where Geocaching is available, but how do you locate the caches? You'll have to find them on the Geocaching website. Keep in mind, the website will ask you to create an account to access the locations. It's free and can be created through Facebook, Google, or with another email. As well, the Geocache app now features maps of the trails where the caches are located. See more here.
In July of 2021, a list of 50 Geocaches throughout Michigan was released by Michigan's DNR. Read more here.
Searching for hidden treasure in the snow sounds especially difficult. Thankfully, spring seems to be on the way. Here are a few interesting signs...