Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan State Trail is becoming a geocaching Mecca.
Geocaching is a free outdoor treasure hunt where players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS. They can then share their experiences online.
This rapidly growing sport is for those who love technology, nature and adventure. Participants of all ages navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
The 110-mile paved Paul Bunyan State Trail originally connected the towns along its length by the train that traveled the distance regularly. About 1993, the rail-to-trail conversion resulted in a multi-use recreational trail that has been predominately used by snowmobilers and bicyclists.
Recently, nearly 900 geocaches were added by members of the NorthStar GeoSeekers Club.
Geocaching, the creators of the geocaching sport, Geoaching apps and the website www.geocaching.com have as a mission: to inspire outdoor play using location-based technology that supports outdoor recreational areas and brings online communities together in physical locations.
The GeoTourism concept provided a great opportunity for the trail town tourism organizations of Visit Bemidji, Leech Lake Chamber-Walker, Pine River Chamber, Brainerd Lakes Chamber-Pequot Lakes, Nisswa Chamber and Visit Brainerd, with support from Explore Minnesota Tourism, to unite in marketing the area to visitors from around the globe.
The Paul Bunyan GeoTour stretches the length of the 110-mile rail-to-trail Paul Bunyan State Trail. Local geocachers have placed so many geocaches along it that it is known in the geocaching community as a “power trail.”
While geocaching can be an all-season sport, the best seasons for this GeoTour are spring, summer and fall.
For more information, go to www.geocaching.com/adventures/geotours/paul-bunyan.