Carleton College welcomes Geocaching and Letterboxing both on Campus and in the Arboretum. The following guidelines have been established to protect the natural features of the Arboretum, reduce user conflicts throughout the College property and provide a high quality experience for all visitors. Those searching for caches or letterboxes must follow Campus and Arboretum visitor regulations. The following guidelines are in effect for anyone who wishes to place a cache or letterbox of any sort on College property. Geocaching and Letterboxing are not permitted on the McKnight Prairie.

  1. Any placement of a cache or letterbox must receive prior approval from the Arboretum Director, regardless where on college property the cache is hidden.
  2. When submitting a Geocache for review, you must provide the GPS coordinates (if a cache) as well as relative location to the nearest trail or building or features of the Arboretum (see campus and arboretum maps). Note that caches/letterboxes will not be permitted in areas with steep slopes, close to existing caches/letterboxes, where it may impact natural features (including attachment to living trees), near campus housing or interfere with the College’s athletic or other activities. Please see the below maps for more information.
  3. All Caches/Letterboxes must be listed on Letterboxes may be listed as “Letterbox Hybrid” caches.
  4. Provide details on the cache/letterbox container you plan to use, the associated caching/letterboxing organization/web site (if being posted on another website in addition to, the cache’s GC code, and any other specific information about the cache/letterbox. Caching/letterboxing web sites are monitored by College personnel and any caches placed without authorization will be removed. 
  5. Virtual Caches, Earth Caches, and Adventure Labs are allowed to be placed without requesting permission, if no physical container is placed. Carleton College reserves the right to request Virtual Caches, Earth Caches, and Adventure Labs be archived. These cache types do have placement restrictions. Please see the below maps for more information.
  6. When applying, you must state your caching/letterboxing alias as well as your real name and contact information. Cache/letterboxing containers must be permanently labeled on the exterior to note that cache has been approved by Carleton College, the Arboretum phone number (507-222-4543) and the associated web site/info source (e.g. “”). 
  7. Due to the growing popularity of these activities, no person will be permitted to place more than four caches on College Property to allow others the ability to do so. Virtual Caches, Earth Caches, and Adventure Labs do not count towards this limit.
  8. Once a cache is approved, it may not be relocated more than 10 feet without obtaining further permission from the Arboretum Director.
  9. Cache/letterboxing containers and contents may not be buried or submerged but can be hidden in dry surface vegetation within reach of walkers on the ground without climbing or impacting the natural habitat (use of aids such as nearby fallen logs and stumps are permitted). You may not significantly re-arrange vegetation or dead vegetative material to hide the cache/letterbox, but caches are not required to be close to any of the marked trails.
  10. Caches/letterboxing containers must be monitored and maintained by the owner to ensure accuracy, safety, and working condition of the cache/letterbox. Carleton College asks cache owners to visit their caches to perform maintenance once in the spring and once in the fall in addition to as-needed maintenance.
  11. If a cache or letterbox is archived, you must remove the container as soon as possible and notify the Arboretum Director of its removal.
  12. Please note on your web listing that the cache was approved by Carleton College. 
  13. Carleton College accepts no responsibility or liability for any cache, and will not assist in the maintenance of a cache.

Not following these rules may cause you to be prohibited from placing geocaches and letterboxes in the future. Please note that Arboretum management may impact caches due to debris removal or prescribed burns in the area. 

Submit your questions to Nancy Braker, Arboretum Director at

The two maps attached below detail where Adventure Labs and Virtual Caches are prohibited, as well as where Physical caches are prohibited.

Please submit requests for cache approval using the following form.

Geocache Approval Request Form

  • Please input an email you check regularly.
  • Please provide the coordinates in DDM format.
  • At a minimum, please describe the container, how it is hidden, how far from the nearest trail it is. If it is part of a puzzle or multicache, please provide the coordinates for each stage, and steps needed to find the final spot.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.