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Geocaching on Vancouver's North Shore

Updated on November 12, 2016

Photo Taken from a Geocache GZ

Sunset View of Lions Gate Bridge from Vancouver's  North Shore
Sunset View of Lions Gate Bridge from Vancouver's North Shore

Geocaching on Vancouver's North Shore

Geocaching on Vancouver's North Shore provides a wide range of geocache types with the full range of T ratings and D ratings. You'll find caches of all difficulty and terrain levels hidden on seaside beaches, forest trails, mountain hikes and on city streets.

You can cross the North Shore on the Trans Canada trail, rich with geocaches, or on the somewhat more rugged Baden Powell trail, or on the bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Spirit Trail. Plus, you can access any number of other trails and hikes - all with their share of cache containers tucked away from view.

Geocaching visitors to Metro Vancouver are in for a special treat should they decide to do cross the water and geocache on the North Shore.

First, a little information about the area is in order. The Burrard Inlet is a body of water that separates the North Shore from the City of Vancouver. The NS houses three distinct political entities: The District of West Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver and the City of North Vancouver. There are also two Reservations, which are private property and not available for geocaching.

From Vancouver, you can access the North Shore by automobile via the Lions Gate Bridge, shown in the picture above, and the Ironworks Memorial Bridge, known locally as Second Narrows Bridge. As a foot passenger, you can cross the water by Seabus or by a Translink bus.

The North Shore is spectacular in that it is bounded by ocean on the West, South and East,and on the North by the North Shore Mountains. The lucky geocacher can seek caches in busy urban environments and city streets, or in gentle, manicured parks, or in forest trails, or on rugged mountain hikes, or in picturesque beaches and seaside locations.

It's a geocacher's paradise -- and there are plenty of geocachers here who take full advantage of the banquet available to them.

Unless otherwise stated, photo credits are to June Campbell.

Vancouver's North Shore

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A Traditional Cache

 North Vancouver Arts Council Geocache Located in Victoria Park.
North Vancouver Arts Council Geocache Located in Victoria Park.

About the Geocaches on the North Shore

I don't know the numbers, but there are a great many geocaches here, and they range from Difficulty 1 to Difficulty 5 and Terrain 1 to Terrain 5.

You will also find a variety of caches to enjoy. There are plenty of traditional caches, with everything from nanos to large cache containers involved. In addition to traditional, we have plenty of multi-caches, mystery caches and earthcaches. I know of a couple virtual caches and web cam caches as well.

From to time, there are event caches and CITO caches scheduled.

Series Caches

Trying to talk about all of the North Shore geocaches would be impossible. Instead, I will describe some of the interesting series of caches that are available here. I have not included every series. There are simply too many, and how great is that!

"Eventually" Public Art, Seymour River Park

Eventually Series of Public Art in North Vancouver
Eventually Series of Public Art in North Vancouver

North Vancouver Public Art Series of Geocaches

The North Vancouver Public Art Geocache experience is a feature of the North Vancouver Community Arts Council. The series is comprised of 12 geocaches hidden across the City and District of North Vancouver. Each cache is hidden at the location of a public art exhibit.

Geocachers visit and enjoy the public art while searching for Ground Zero.

Most of these geocaches are traditional caches with a rating of D1 or D2. Beginners to geoaching typically cut their teeth on these easy-to-find caches. One of the 12, however, is more of a challenge. This cache, called You'll Get There - Eventually is a four part mystery cache honouring three public art displays created by artist Adam Kuby.

To find Eventually, geocachers must visit three different parks to acquire the necessary information that allows them to calculate GZ. GZ is hidden in a fourth park, and its not such an easy find.

"If You Hide it, They Will Come" Geocache Series

The "If you Hide it, They Will Come" series of geocaches was inspired by the movie Field of Dreams. The cache owner reminisces that he has fond memories of playing baseball as a kid, as well as coaching his own kids' teams.

This series of nine geocaches is hidden near baseball fields or playing fields across the North Shore. Most have a D1 rating and the T ratings average out to about 1.5.

Swag Found in one Leopard Camo Cache

Swag in Leopard Series Camo Cache
Swag in Leopard Series Camo Cache

The Leopard Series of Geocaches

The five geocaches in the Leopard Series are hidden in camouflaged geocache containers displaying leopard-like design.

The CO explains the title of this series as "Named after the distinctive camo tape on the containers of this series (this is what you get when you ask mom to buy camo duct tape and she goes to Michaels.)"

Both D and T ratings are between two and three. This geocacher has found at least one of them to be inordinately difficult. It has stubbornly refused to reveal itself after multiple visits to GZ.

The Spirit Walker Series of Geocaches

Currently, this series has three geocaches, and hopefully more to come. The cache owner has hidden these caches along the lovely Spirit Trail which is under current development.

The Spirit Trail is a walking and bicycle trail intended to reach from Deep Cove on the East to Horseshoe Bay on the West when it is finished. The trail is being completed in sections.

The Spirit Walker series is hidden along three sections. D and T ratings are from 1 to 1.5.

"Old Buck Trail" Series

Eighteen geocaches are hidden in the Old Buck Trail Series. The CO is one ambitious person!

The Old Buck Trail is a former logging road that is now a popular hiking trail. It wanders through an old growth forest for about 5.5 kilometers or so. Be warned that there is considerable elevation gain and care must be taken on this, as on any trail.

The CO rates the terrain as being between T2 to T3, and rates the D's at around D2.

"Geocaching Walk of Fame" Series

The Geocaching Walk of Fame series consists of 50 caches hidden along the Mount Seymour Trailway. Each cache is named after a prominent geocacher on the North Shore. Most of the Cache Owners of the various series shown on this page have a cache named for them along this trail.

The Mount Seymour Trailway is a 10 kilometer paved road starting in the headquarters of Mount Seymour Demonstration Forest. Its meant for walkers, cyclists and skateboarders, so the terrain is smooth. However, be aware that although the path is paved, it is hilly and full of "ups and downs" as you go. Also, be aware that there is no vehicle access at the far end, so if you go by foot or cycle to the end, you must return the same way. That can make for a tiring walk if you aren't prepared.

Since much of the trail goes through a forested area, the GPS coordinates are poor. The CO says that an excellent hint is given to compensate for the poor GPS signal.

Geocache Container in the Shoreline to Skyline Series

Geocache Container  on the North Shore
Geocache Container on the North Shore

The Shoreline to Skyline Series

If you are interested in geocaching on the North Shore, you don't want to miss the Shoreline to Skyline series.

This series consists of 26 geocaches,named alphabetically from A to Z. The first cache, Alpha, is located in a small park on the North Vancouver Waterfront. The final cache, starting with Z, is located high up in the forest at the top of the Skyline Trail.

To complicate matters further, some of these caches contain clues for finding caches later on in the series.

The easier caches are Alpha, Bravo, Charley and Delta. After that, you are in the forest trails and GSP signals are jumpy.

The cache owner says he has included good clues that will help you. That is a matter of opinion.

A Brown Bear

Brown Bear
Brown Bear | Source

Safe Geocaching

Before you head out geocaching on the North Shore, please be aware and be safe.

  1. Bears live on the North Shore. They are brave and frequently appear in public areas. Homeowners report finding bears in their yards and swimming pools. When walking the trails, always make noise so as to avoid startling one of our four footed friends of the ursine variety.
  2. Coyotes and lynxes live here too. They usually don't bother adults but can pose dangers to small children or dogs.
  3. Our mountain trails are hazardous. Just because they are located a 15 minute drive from downtown North or West Vancouver doesn't mean they are any less treacherous than a trail in a remote area. Take the usual precautions when heading out and remember that it gets dark in the forest an hour before it gets dark in the city.
  4. Watch out for wasps, hornets, bees and other biting insects.

© 2014 June Campbell


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