Getting Started

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It's easy to get started, just follow these simple steps:

OC.US Registration

Step 1: Register for a free OpenCaching North America account.

  1. Visit OCNA registration form (here).
  2. Enter a username that does not already exist on OCNA. When selecting a username, keep in mind that you will be signing this name in the logs of caches you find. It will also be your pseudonym in the caching community (sometimes called a "trail name"). If the name you chose already exists, the system will ask you to try again.
  3. Enter your email address (an account activation email will be sent to this address when you complete the registration form).
  4. Create a password. The password must be at least 6 characters long and contain at least two of the following: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, special characters (!%&@#$^*?_~).
  5. Read the Terms of Use and check the acknowledgment box.
  6. Click the Sign Up button (this button is not available until the above conditions have been satisfied).
  7. Check your email for an account activation email and click the link provided to activate your account. Look in your spam folder as sometimes it ends up there. If you don't receive it within 30 minutes, please notify octeam (at)

Seek a Cache

Step 2: Select geocaches to hunt.

  1. Click Search for a cache on the sidebar at OCNA.
  2. Select the cache parameters for your search. For most users, the default should be ok.
  3. Scroll down to the search method you wish to use and choose whether to show the results on a map.
    • by Geocache Name: Find a cache by its name.
    • by Distance: Select a search radius around the coordinates entered.
    • by City: List all of the caches in the selected city that match the search parameters. 'Currently search by State does not work'
    • by Text: Find a cache with the specified text in the name, description, logs, and/or pictures.
    • by Cache Owner: Find caches hidden by a specific OCNA member.
    • by Finder: Find caches found by a specific OCNA member (note that by default only active caches are shown and caches that you own are hidden.
  4. Click the Search for the chosen method to get your results.

Step 3: Prepare your gear

  1. To learn more about using handheld GPS Receivers and smartphones for geocaching, refer to the [GPS Devices and Geocaching Apps] page
  2. Enter the coordinates into your GPS Receiver or software (GSAK, etc.)
  3. Pack appropriately for your adventure (rain gear, water, map & compass, first-aid, etc.)
  4. Let someone know where you are going (and take a friend).
  5. Head out for some fun!

Step 4: Find the cache and sign the logbook.

  1. Try to focus on the environment and not your GPS.
  2. Look for something that seems out of place or unnatural.
  3. If you're still having trouble, decrypt the hint.
  4. Phone a friend!

Share your fun!

Step 5: Go online and share your experiences at OC NA.

  1. Visit the online page for the cache you found.
  2. Click the Post New Log button at the top of the page.
  3. Select the type of log.
  4. Change the date and time of your entry if you wish.
  5. Rate the cache. Find out more about cache rating.
  6. Share your experiences in the Comments section.

Feel free to ask questions!
Any question, no matter how simple or strange, is OK to ask.

Helpful hints

  • Find a friend to go geocaching with you!
  • Always take a pen or pencil with you.
  • If you want to trade trinkets, take some with you. The accepted rule is if you take something, you must leave something.
  • Mark your vehicle as a waypoint so you can easily get back to it!
  • Leave the geocache just as you found it.
  • Make sure the public (aka muggles) doesn't see you retrieve or hide the cache.
  • Be safe... watch for critters, snakes, bugs, sharp objects, dangerous areas, etc.
  • Be sure to carry extra batteries, water to drink, etc.

Online resources