Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada

Geocaching

Children sitting on logs with their geocaches
Choose your favourite route from the park’s geocaching program – ideal
for the whole family!

© Parks Canada / Shelagh Martinusen

*Please note that program has ended for the season and will resume in May*

Awaken the treasure hunter inside you and join us for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve’s geocaching program. This year we have put a special "first to find" prize in EACH cache – a beautiful Parks Canada Geocoin!

Geocaching is an interactive treasure hunt played with a GPS unit. The park is pleased to offer two new geocaching loops that cater to different ages and abilities. The treasure hunt will take you to places on the islands you have never been and leave you without a doubt in your mind as to why this park is one of Canada’s national treasures.

The park's geocaching program is different from what you can expect to find when you are out geocaching in other areas. The program is more of a self-guided interpretation experience that provides you with an opportunity to learn about the unique natural and cultural heritage of the national park. Feel free to take the cache items provided by the park, but please don't leave trade items in park caches. "Leave no Trace" is the motto when it comes to the national park reserve, and cachers are asked not to place their own caches in the park reserve.

Once you have completed your passport, you will receive one of the limited edition Parks Canada geocoins. So grab your GPS and come explore the Gulf Islands. Please note that the park geocaching program is available for the period between May to September.

Limited edition centennial geocoin
Complete your passport and receive one of the limited edition geocoins
© Parks Canada

Things to Know Before Getting Started

  1. Obtain all the co-ordinates for the geocaches from geocaching.com.
  2. Use either a GPS, Iphone or Blackberry to find the caches (when using a smartphone, download the geocaching app).
  3. Respect the natural surroundings by staying on marked trails – all geocaches are directly accessible from trails or public areas. 
  4. Do not leave anything (trade items) inside of the geocaches as they may attract wildlife.
  5. At this time, only Parks Canada staff may place geocaches in the park.
  6. If geocaching with a large number of people, split into groups of 15 or less. This is a precautionary policy to ensure adequate protection of the park’s natural and cultural heritage.
  7. Not sure how to geocache? Borrow a GPS and master the basics with the help of a park interpreter on a Geocaching 101 program. Check the website for program locations and times.

Geocaching Loops

Gulf Islands Survivor Challenge

The Gulf Islands Survivor Challenge is a family-friendly, easier series of GPS treasure hunts that are spread throughout the park – at Prior Centennial Campground on Pender Island, McDonald Campground in Sidney, Winter Cove on Saturna Island and along the loop trail on Sidney Island.

We will provide you with the location for the first cache in each series and you can then follow the directions and clues inside each cache to find your way to the next one. Each cache includes a story about the park and a challenge. Complete three out of the four island challenges and redeem your passport for a commemorative geocoin.

Download your Survivor Challenge passport here  (PDF, 879 KB)

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Top Ten

The Top Ten route is for the more adventurous types and you get to “choose your own adventure”.  These caches are listed in no particular order and it is up to you to create your own route to find them all. This is an advanced series of caches where we will provide you with the coordinates for each cache.

This series of caches is located on Sidney, Saturna and Pender Islands and could be comfortably completed in three days. All of the Top Ten locations are accessible by ferry, boat, bicycle, kayak – you choose! Find all 10 geocaches and redeem your passport for a Parks Canada geocoin.

Download your Top Ten Challenge passport here  (PDF, 264 KB)

Receiving your coin

To receive your Parks Canada geocoin, bring your completed passport to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney – 9811 Seaport Place, daily between 10 am and 4 pm. You can also glue the sides of your passport together, add a stamp and mail it in to Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

TIP: Save the Sidney Island caches for the end to give yourself time to explore the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre after collecting your coin.