I am starting geocaching and have a few finds already, but there is one cache near my residence that I could not find. I checked the logs and pictures, but I found no sign of a cache at ground zero.

Since I am a beginner, I would want to know some tips and tricks to find a possible hiding space and what I should be aware of during geocaching.

  • Check the sites history - are you the only having trouble finding it. Have there suddenly been a large number of DNF's. If your the only one with DNF, especially is someone found it after you could not, go back, if everyone is now reporting DNF, report it to owner.
    – user5330
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 0:10
  • among the great answers listed below try and google some creative containers and "evil" caches. I have found caches in hollow fake bolts, a rock with a cork in a naturally occuring pocket, behind magnetic numbers stuck onto and electrical box and all sorts of things you may never think of.
    – Nate W
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 22:04

3 Answers 3


I've been geocaching for 12 or 13 years. I'm no power cacher, but I do have a few hundred finds. But you know what? I also have a couple hundred no finds. Some may have been missing at the time, while others were found the very next day by someone else. A few I managed after a subsequent visit, but there are a small number that elude me to this day.

Sometimes the Force is not with you. Sometimes your Cache-Fu doesn't bring you answers. Sometimes the hide is just that tricky. What you have experienced is, in a word, normal.

With that said, the answer to your underlying question is hard to pin-point, but in general, look for something out of place, and remember that GPS accuracy can be as bad as 20 to 30 ft (6 to 10m). Here are a few examples:

  1. The most obvious one: a too-perfect-grouping of sticks. A single stick on the ground in the woods is just a stick. Even a pile of sticks can happen at times. But a gathering of sticks, all aligned in the same direction, leaned against a stump? That probably hides a geocache.
  2. Rocks. Rocks do not naturally pile together. A pile of rocks has a geocache underneath.
  3. A pine cone in a maple tree. It might have fallen off a nearby pine tree. But then again, if there are no nearby pine trees, it might be a fake! Perhaps a cap screws off or something, and there's your geocache.
  4. A bird house without an opening for a bird to go into. Look for a hinged side or something, and the geocache within.

There are more I could list, but at some point I would cross the line into spoilers, and ruin the game for you. Good luck!

  • Thanks! I will use your advice on some future, more advanced caches. I do think the one near my house is missing. One last check before notifying the owner,☺
    – Forrest M
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 0:13
  • 1
    Also bear in mind that: It could have been GeoTrashed (where someone literally steals it)... It could have also been badly replaced - you won't believe how many people put it back 'in a better spot' - check comments for these... Also bear in mind the time of year! I had a Find where a good 15 people before me had DNFs, why? Overgrowth... we found it in autumn and it was much easier to find!
    – Aravona
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 8:05

Since you describe it as "near your residence", it's probably what is known as an "urban micro": a small, camouflaged container attached to something like a street sign or a lamp post.

  • We had one of those in a park, looked for it for months... it was a fake bolt on a bench, not geocache marked and right where other real bolts were Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 12:38

My friend often goes out with her sister who is the geocasher.
By looking in a different way, she often finds the ones her sister does not.

Going down on her knees (even belly) to look from the bottom up. Standing on tip-toe or climbing on available higher points. Reaching in narrow openings (be careful if there are dangerous snakes in your area) and by using a light or a magnet at the end of a stick.

Often it is not these tricks but just a fresh look at the place that cracks the problem.

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