Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is the home of geocaching. Literally, the place where it all began. Back in May of 2000, when Dave Ulmer hid the world’s first geocache (stash) in the woods just outside of Estacada with instructions that finders "Take some stuff, leave some stuff," little did he know that he was creating a new worldwide hobby. Now, more than 20 years later, there are over 3 million active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers around the world. Interest in this activity continues to grow, and it all started here.
If you are a geocaching enthusiast, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory should be on your list of places to visit. Why? Because within relative close proximity to each other are GCGV0P - The Original Stash Tribute Plaque and GC92 - The Un-Original Stash (a.k.a. ground zero, the location of the first stash); GC12 - The second oldest active cache in the world; GC16 - the tenth oldest active cache, and GC17 – the twenty-sixth oldest cache in the world.
If you are looking to do a geocaching heritage tour and mix it up with a bit of hiking, all of these caches can be visited in a long, well-planned day trip. Mid-summer is best as there is more daylight and the roads to GCs 12 and 17 won’t be snowed in. GCGV0P and GC92 are easy to get to, just off the side of a road, but hiking is needed to get to GCs 12, 16 and 17. Twelve and 17 are in the Mt. Hood National Forest so a Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at trailheads. And bring a camera as there are some great photo-ops along the way.
Geocaching is just one of many firsts and other historically significant events Mt. Hood Territory can claim. We're the Official End of the Oregon Trail. Oregon City was first seat of U.S. governance west of the Rockies and the first long-distance transmission of electricity happened here as well. Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is proud of our place in geocaching history. There are many museums and interpretive centers throughout Mt. Hood Territory where you can learn about the history. And chances are, there are some active caches near them as well.