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Updated Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Geotrail Launches

June 8, 2021

Frederick County Washington County Carroll County Geotrail

Updated Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Geotrail Launches

Photo provided by Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area 


Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (HCWHA) has updated its popular Geotrail with the help of its partners at the Maryland Geocaching Society. The trail originally launched in 2016, encouraging geocachers to find caches hidden across Maryland’s Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties. Since that time the trail’s 15 geocaches have been logged more than 5,600 times by trail users. This spring, the Geotrail has been updated with the addition of two more geocaches and an Adventure Lab.

Geocaching is a fun form of outdoor recreation for the young and young-at-heart. This real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game uses GPS-enabled devices, including cellphones. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache container hidden at that location.



 Photo provided by Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area


What’s New? 

The Geotrail’s new Adventure Lab is an interactive puzzle where cachers assume the role of a Civil War correspondent on the trail of a spy, culminating in the discovery of a final geocache. The goal of the project is to inspire geocache enthusiasts of all ages to learn about Civil War history and experience the power of historic places. One of the new caches is located in a Canal Town adjacent to the eighth most-visited national park in the nation, which also happens to be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.



Photo provided by Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area


How Does it Work? 

Interested in searching for caches along the HCWHA Geotrail? You start by setting up a free account at geocaching.com. From there you can search for the trail to find the coordinates of the sites and plan your route accordingly. Trail users can print a passport from the HCWHA website or pick one up from a participating location or visitor center. Once a cache has been found, it’s important to record the code word from the container/logbook in your passport. Geocachers are welcome to take or leave a trinket behind in the container. Then, once you have identified 13 code words, bring your passport to one of the participating visitor center locations (Carroll County Visitor Center, Frederick Visitor Center and Newcomer House at Antietam National Battlefield) during their hours of operation to claim your prize. You should also indicate that you’ve completed the trail or found certain caches on geocaching.com.  



 Photo provided by Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area


What Do You Get?

Geocachers who find the location of at least 13 of the 17 HCWHA caches will be awarded a free pathtag while supplies last (one pathtag per geocaching.com account.) Geocachers also have the option to purchase a trackable Geocoin, while supplies last, after completing the trail. Locations to purchase the coins are the Antietam National Battlefield Park Store, the Frederick Visitor Center, the Historical Society of Carroll County and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts 

If you’re looking for a fun way to explore the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area this summer, solo or with friends and family, check out the new and improved Geotrail! And while you’re out exploring historic sites and searching for geocaches, be sure to eat, drink and shop along the trail. You’ll find small-towns bursting with historic charm as well as bustling main streets with countless options for shopping and dining. There’s even great ice cream, which makes the perfect treat at the end of a hot, summer day.



Photo provided by Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area


Charissa Hipp

Contributing Author: Charissa Hipp

Charissa Hipp has a passion for connecting people to places through tourism marketing, storytelling, writing and hiking. A wife and mother of three, she is the Maryland Ambassador for Girls Who Hike and encourages people to connect with nature to experience its physical, mental and spiritual... Read More