Throughout Maine, recreational trails lead to fascinating geological features, from giant boulders to ancient fossils. And many of these landmarks are highlighted by EarthCaches.
EarthCaches are one of several types of geocaches that are searched for in the popular worldwide activity called geocaching. Marked with specific GPS coordinates, an EarthCache is a location that people can visit to experience and learn about different geological features through quick virtual lessons. They’re mapped on geocaching.com and the site’s mobile app.
You can learn more EarthCaches and how to find them here.
Some EarthCaches can be visited without even stepping out of your car, while others require you to hike, bike or paddle a boat in order to reach them. Here are a few recreational areas in Maine that feature EarthCaches, from the state’s most famous park to small preserves and town-owned trails.
Kenduskeag Stream Trail
A waterfront walkway in Bangor, the Kenduskeag Stream Trail features two EarthCaches, one highlighting an estuary while another describes some dramatic cliffs in a gorge. The trail is just under 2 miles and traces the edge of the Penobscot River and Kenduskeag Stream.
Acadia National Park
Maine’s most popular outdoor destination, Acadia National Park, is home to several EarthCaches. For example, there is an EarthCache on the trail leading to the park’s Bar Island, another at the park’s famous Thunder Hole, and another on Schoodic Peninsula, the mainland portion of Acadia.
Quoddy Head State Park
Located on the easternmost peninsula in the United States, Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec contains three EarthCaches that explain dramatic ocean cliffs and the area’s exceptionally high tides. The 541-acre park is home to a historic red-and-white striped lighthouse, cobblestone beaches, bold cliffs and a network of beautiful hiking trails.
Settlement Quarry in Stonington
Settlement Quarry is an old granite quarry in the island town of Stonington that was last active in 1980 and is now part of a preserve owned and maintained by the Island Heritage Trust. On the preserve is a hiking trail that safely explores the old quarry, as well as an EarthCache.
Daggett Rock in Phillips
An EarthCache can be found at Daggett Rock, a giant boulder that’s thought to be Maine’s largest glacial erratic. A 0.3-mile hiking trail leads to this boulder, which is located on a forested hill in the western Maine town of Phillips.
Debsconeag Ice Caves near Millinocket
Two EarthCaches can be found along the 1-mile trail that leads to ice caves in the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area near Millinocket. They highlight an interesting glacial erratic and — of course — the ice caves.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is home to several EarthCaches. One is located on the Traveler Mountain Range, another is on Mount Coe. Three are located on Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, and a couple of additional EarthCaches are located at gorges at the north end of the park.
Camden Hills State Park
Two EarthCaches are in Camden Hills State Park — on Mount Battie and the other on Megunticook Mountain. The caches explain how glaciers shaped the Camden Hills. They also describe the type of rock that makes up the mountain range.
To find more EarthCaches in Maine and beyond, visit geocaching.com and sign up for free to use the map tool. EarthCaches can be created by anyone — though they must be approved by website management — so more are popping up all the time.