5 reasons you should try geocaching in Birmingham if you love being outside

Joel Bullock and his son geocaching in Birmingham
My brother-in-law Joel Bullock and his son on a geocaching mission. Photo supplied

If you love scavenger hunts and outdoor adventures in Birmingham, geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) may be just the sport you’ve been waiting to discover.

Keep reading to find out what people love about geocaching and how you can get involved.

1. Geocaching is a giant outdoor scavenger hunt

Sprout hides a geocache in Birmingham
Sprout, the Jolly Green Giant’s sidekick, was home to this geocache. Photo by Joel Bullock

I reached out to a couple of local geocaching afficionados for the best #protips for the neophytes among us.

According to Scott Fee, aka “Caver Scott,” a local geocaching afficionado,

Geocaching is an outdoor, hi-tech scavenger hunt. We use a GPS or a phone to get us close. Then we have to discover where the actual geocache is hidden. Once we find it, we sign the paper log and put it back just the way we found it.

a cache log
Though it’s a high tech sport, geocachers go old school pen and paper for their cache logs. Photo by Joel Bullock

My brother-in-law Joel Bullock explained some more of the details:

  • Containers can be “in the woods, parks or urban areas.”
  • After you find a cache, you sign the physical log in the cache (it’s usually a tiny strip of paper) rolled up tightly.
  • Next, “you log your find online, sharing your adventure and a TFTC (Thanks For The Cache).”
  • At this point, the treasure chest icon in the geocaching app turns into a smiley face and “your find count continues to add up.”

2. There’s a lot to love about geocaching

Geocaching in Birmingham takes many shapes
Geocachers get really creative with where they hide their caches. Photo by Joel Bullock

Here are just a few of the things Joel loves about geocaching:

  • I can use my talents to make and hide caches that are creative, unique, and sometimes challenging.
  • It takes me to places I’ve never been to or didn’t even know existed.
  • It gets me out in nature—on the trail or off. 
  • It introduces me to the history of a person or place.
  • It brings me to strange or unique places.
  • It educates me on geological formations and fossils.
Cache in Trash Out geocaching event
A motley crew of geocachers on a CITO mission. Photo by Caver Scott, who’s on the right
  • It helps reinforce the idea of being a good steward of the land through what’s called CITO or Cache In Trash Out.
  • It exercises my brain though solving puzzles—these help lead you to the cache. 
  • It helps relive stress! 
  • Most of all it plugs you into a community of people from all walks of life who share the same hobby/obsession, and fosters friendships that last a lifetime. 

That’s a pretty sound endorsement, don’t you think? I’ve tried it a couple of times with a friend and my kids, and we all had a great time.

geocaching in tunnels at Oak Mountain
Caching in the tunnels of Birmingham. Photo by Joel Bullock

FYI, I did ask Joel if he had any favorite caches, but he pled the fifth. Meaning, why give away a treasure you have to hunt for to someone who hasn’t done the work 🤪.

3. Oak Mountain is a local favorite spot for geoaching

Oak Mountain is home to 300+ geocaches.

Oak Mountain State Park is home to more than 300 caches. Joel says Caver Scott has a “Belly of the Beast” series that leads you through “drainage tunnels that get progressively more difficult as you go along.”

Turns out Oak Mountain State Park is also a really popular place among our Bham Now followers. In addition to geocaching, here are some of the other fun things you can do while you’re there:

5. Here’s how to get started with geocaching in Birmingham

Caching with the stars
You, too, could be “caching with the stars.” Photo by Joel Bullock

Here are Joel’s #protips for getting involved:

Get your tech tools ready

  • Download the free geocaching app.
  • Sign up on on geocaching.com.
  • Create an account before using the app.You can make up your very own caching name.
  • Start looking for caches nearby.
  • If you love it, sign up for a premium membership which offers a lot more options.
  • OR, check out Cachly. This is iOS only, but serious cachers love it.
  • Some people use a handheld GPS to hunt geocaches, or that plus a phone if it’s a long hunt.

Become a part of the geocaching community

Geocaching community
Who knows what this group found? Photo by Joel Bullock

Apparently it’s easy to get plugged into Birmingham’s very active caching community:

Now tell us, Birmingham, what are your favorite things about geocaching? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know!

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

Articles: 743