Article by Lisa Goodmurphy

Geocaching has been around since 2000 but it has become increasingly popular over the last few years, particularly with families looking for fun outdoor recreational activities. Although intrigued by the concept, I have to admit that I have been too nervous to try it myself. With my poor sense of direction, I didn’t feel very confident that I would be able to find a cache and I had a niggling fear that I might become well and truly lost in the woods while searching. My 13 year-old daughter had no such qualms though, so we made plans to spend a day geocaching in early October.

Geocaching 101

So what is Geocaching? Essentially it is a high tech scavenger hunt where the object is to find a hidden treasure (cache) using GPS coordinates. All you need to get started is your GPS enabled cellphone and a free account at Once you have created an account, you will be ready to explore, find and log geocaches around the world. Geocachers use either the website or the official app (available for iPhone and Android) to pick a geocache and then use the phone’s GPS to navigate to the location and search for the cache. Once the cache has been found, geocachers sign and date the logbook that is with it, re-hide the cache exactly as it was found and share their experience online. There are millions of geocaches around the world so whether you are home or on vacation geocaching can be a fun outdoor adventure for families.


The Brantford Power Trail

As luck would have it, there is a mecca of geocaching in Brantford, Ontario just a short distance from our home in Southern Ontario. Brantford, located on the picturesque Grand River, is known for its extensive trail network that began as a system of dikes to protect the city from seasonal flooding and grew into a network of trails that is now more than 70km long. The area is referred to by geocachers as the Power Trail Capital and the trail system as the Brantford Power Trail since there are hundreds of caches located between Brantford and Port Dover. There are actually over 500 caches within a 20km radius of the Brantford Visitor & Tourism Centre which makes it a great place to start – particularly for first time geocachers.

We stopped at the Visitor & Tourism Centre to obtain maps and directions to find parking and access the trails. Once we had a copy of the Brant County Outdoor Adventure Map we were ready to venture out. We decided to hike the trail along the Grand River in Brantford between Wilkes Dam and Waterworks Park. My daughter took charge of navigating with the GPS and was far better at it than I would have been. It was a beautiful early fall day and we had a great outing even though we only managed to find one cache. It turns out that caches can be trickier to find than one might think and I was quite relieved to have found at least one. Now that we have had some experience, I am certain we will be more successful on our next outing!


Explore Brantford

We had worked up quite an appetite so headed to Blue Dog Coffee Roasters on Brant Avenue for a late lunch after our geocaching adventure. The Blue Dog, located in a brick heritage home, is a charming establishment serving freshly roasted coffee, delicious casual fare such as soups, sandwiches, salads and scrumptious sweets. The cafe also displays the work of a featured local artist each month and the artwork is available for purchase.

There are a number of interesting attractions to visit while in Brantford including The Bell Homestead National Historic Site which tells the story of Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of the telephone; the Brantford Farmers’ Market established in 1848; and the Brantford & Area Sports Hall of Recognition which recognizes hometown heroes including Wayne Gretzky. The Grand River watershed also provides ample opportunities for year-round outdoor activities including canoeing and kayaking, camping, swimming, fishing, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. The city’s Visitor & Tourism Centre is open daily 9-5 to provide assistance on all there is to see and do in Brantford.

Additional information about geocaching is available on the Conservation Halton and Conservation Hamilton websites.

Tips For First-time Geocachers

Download the free Geocaching App before heading out and browse the caches located in your area. (The app is available from iTunes and is also available for Android users). There is a Premium version of the app available which has more features but is a paid monthly subscription. Some geocaches are Premium only. The free version is fine for beginners.

Caches are rated by size, level of difficulty and terrain. On your first time out choose caches that have a 1/1 difficulty and terrain rating and that aren’t micro sized to improve your chances of success.

Small family-friendly collectibles are often left inside the cache container as a memento. If you take one then you need to leave something of equal or greater value behind.

Bring a pen or pencil with you in case the cache doesn’t have one so you can log your find.

Be prepared. If you are headed into a wooded area be sure to take the same precautions you would if hiking.

About the author: Lisa Goodmurphy is a Canadian mom, travel blogger and freelance writer who grew up in small town Northern Ontario and now resides near Toronto. Badly bitten by the travel bug years ago, she considers herself fortunate that her family is equally enthusiastic about her mission to explore the world – one trip at a time. You can follow her family’s travels on Gone with the Family, the blog that she founded in 2011, as well as on Facebook, and Twitter.

Travel Deals View All >>

Experiences & Tours View All >>

May 13

Fireside Foods Experience

Chiefswood Park Cabins

1037 Highway 54 Ohsweken, ON N0A 1M0

Experience available for family of 4 or family of 6.

May 20 - June 3

Pottery workshop: ceramic flowers

Monika Schaefer Pottery & Fibre Art Studio

2 Palomino Drive, Carlisle, ON L0R 1H3

Two part workshop: Saturday May 20 AND Saturday June 3, 2-5pm both days, in Carlisle...

Now thru June 1

FREE Downtown Hamilton Walking Tour

Tour Guys

36 Hunter St. E., Hamilton, ON L8N 3W8

Now thru May 22

Pigment to Pixel: Digitizing the Permanent Collection

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

Now thru April 2

Where Are We? An Online Workshop with Larry Brown

Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant

20 Ava Road, Brantford, ON, N3T 5G9

Dates: Saturday and Sunday April 1 & 2 Duration: 2 days Time: 1:30pm to 3:30pm...

Now thru May 24

Toddler Days

Joseph Brant Museum

1240 North Shore Boulevard East, Burlington, ON, L7S 1C5

Now thru June 1

FREE Hamilton Waterfront Tour

Tour Guys

47 Discovery Dr, Hamilton, ON L8L 8K4

April 2

Heritage Workshop: Needle Felting

Ireland House Museum

2168 Guelph Line, Burlington, ON, L7P 5A8

Now thru January 5

AGH Virtual Tours: Fridays at Four

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

May 24

Learn how to wet-felt a wool “painting” tapestry workshop

Monika Schaefer Pottery & Fibre Art Studio

2 Palomino Drive, Carlisle, ON L0R 1H3

Wednesday May 24, 2-5pm, in Monika Schaefer Art Studio in Carlisle, ON, no experience needed!

Now thru January 1

Museums Burlington Online Galleries

Joseph Brant Museum

1240 North Shore Boulevard East, Burlington, ON, L7S 1C5

Similar Stories View All >>

The Wander-Fall Adventure Finder

Make the most of exploring season.

Read More

Summer 2.0

Stretch out summer fun a little longer.

Read More

Gather In The Great Outdoors

Find new ways to connect.

Read More

Sunday Funday: 4 Retro Ways to End The Week

Bringing back the concept of simple Sunday fun.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Wilkes Dam/Grand River Loop

Follow the Grand River for 18 kms of awesome.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Waterfront Loop

Enjoy historical sites and lakeside breezes.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Paris Two Rivers Loop

Discover the riverside trails of Paris, Ontario.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Going to the Chapel Route

A true Niagara Escarpment adventure with scenic vistas.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Felker’s and Albion Falls Loop

Waterfalls highlight a route along Hamilton mountain.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Dundas Valley All-Falls Loop

Explore 1,200 hectares of lush Carolinian forest.

Read More

Let Fly in Hamilton Halton Brant

Why birdwatchers flock to these six hotspots.

Read More

Waterfall Trip Ancient Gorge

Travel east to explore the Bruce Trail, Niagara Escarpment landscapes, the Waterfront Trail and Lake Ontario lookouts on this two-day trek.

Read More

Get Travel OffersEvent Details and
Planning Ideas for Your Next Trip

Sign up to receive the latest Hamilton Halton Brant travel news delivered right to your inbox.