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The biggest issues that prevent a cache from being published:

1. Proximity

Putting your cache too near an existing cache. This includes stages of other multi caches and solutions to other puzzle caches. Guidelines require 528ft (0.1mi) separation.

2. Vacation Cache/No Home Coordinates

Placing caches too far from home. We check the distance from your home area to the cache, as large distances have historically caused maintenance issues. If you place a cache a good distance from your home, please indicate your "Maintenance Plan" in a reviewer note. That is, if you frequent the area, or have someone locally set up to watch over the cache for you.

3. Waypoints Needed

Please use the "Add/Edit waypoints" tool for the stages and final coordinates of a multi-cache or the solution coordinates for a mystery/unknown cache. These points must also comply with the listing guidelines, and are then protected from future caches being placed too near them.

4. Cemetery Caches

Be aware that most all townships and municipalities have ordinances that close all cemeteries at dark unless otherwise posted, It's helpful to finders if you include a note on the cache page that this cache is not available at night, and set at least one of the attributes (Not available at night, or Not available 24/7). It's recommended that the cache be placed away from graves so it doesn't upset mourners who may accidentally find it or see geocachers in the cemetery.

5. Virtual Caches

The Virtual cache type (a cache without a log book) has not been allowed for new caches for some time now. The existing Virtual caches are grandfathered in but have special maintenance requirements and are being archived regularly. All new caches must have a physical log book.

6. Commercial

A cache can be deemed too-commercial for listing.
In general,
- avoid using a business name in the title and on the cache page
- please do not include any links to a business website or websites that have commercial content
- do not include any business promotional material on the cache page including logos, menus, and endorsements
Caches placed inside a business or that require interaction with employees cannot be published. Commercial requirements also apply to non-profit businesses as well.
For Event caches,
Geocaching allows:
- mention of event coins that are trackable at
- mention of a business in the page text
- mention of sponsors without links

7. Agenda

Caches that appear to be promoting an agenda are not allowed. This may include religious, environmental, military, political, charitable or other social agenda, etc. Geocaching is supposed to be a light and fun activity.

8. Permit Required

Placing caches in one of these areas require a permit:
- Iowa DNR managed lands

The Iowa DNR has requested that all geocaches placed on DNR-managed land first be approved by the local DNR manager. See:  Once you have been granted a permit, please include a note on your cache page to state that you have the required permit.

State parks managed by counties

Some state parks are managed by local county conservation departments, and therefore the county rules apply. For more information, see:

The list of county-managed state parks we are aware of includes:

Cold Springs






Crystal Lake


Crystal Lake




Eagle Lake 






Echo Valley


West Union




Frank A. Gotch


Dakota City



Henry Woods






Lake Cornelia






Lake Icaria




Adams County Conservation Board


Palo Alto




Mill Creek





Oak Grove





Oakland Mills


Oakland Mills


Henry County Conservation Dept





Madison County Parks

Sharon Bluffs






Spring Lake


Grand Junction




Swan Lake




Carroll County Conservation Board

Three Mile Lake




Union County Conservation Board







Polk County Parks

The Polk County Conservation Board has requested that all geocaches placed in Polk County parks first be approved by special permit: ( ) Once you have been granted a permit, please state on your cache page that you have the required permit.

Scott County Parks

From the Scott County Conservation website: Geo-caching is allowed on Board property with the submittal of special event permit and approval of the Park Manager. Unregistered geo-caches may be removed. Digging soil or other forms of disturbance to conceal a geo-cache is prohibited.  See this link.

Story County Parks

Story County requires a geocaching permit. Please apply for a permit here:   Then once you receive permission, please make a note of this on the cache page.

Jones County Parks

 Jones County geocaching policy and permit 

Worth County Parks

Geocaches may be established on property owned or managed by the Board if they are registered with the Director. Caches must be registered before being placed. Registration will be done on a form provided by the Board.  Information required is not limited to the following: Name of owner, address of owner, location of cache.  Geocaches will not be allowed in a refuge, environmentally sensitive areas, areas that periodically burned, or where they may be a safety hazard. 

Winnebago County Parks

Winnebago County does allow geocaching but they require a permit for placing a cache. If you'd like to place a geocache on Winnebago County Conservation Board property, you need to fill out a permit application, available here. As soon as it is approved by the WCCB, please include this fact in either a reviewer note or in the description.

City of Coralville

Cedar Rapids

The Cedar Rapids Parks Department has requested that geocachers first obtain permission for new geocache placements by emailing with your cache location. Once you have done so, please post a reviewer note or a note in your description.

City of Fairfield

The City of Fairfield (Iowa) Parks and Recreation Department is now requiring a permit for all geocaches placed on land maintained by their  Parks and Recreation Department, 12 city-operated
parks, and the Fairfield Loop Trail from Whitham Woods north and east to Lansom Woods. Here is a link to the Geocaching web page, which has a link to the permit:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Since this property managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, you'll need to get permission. According to geocachers, they don't seem to have a problem with geocaching as long as you apply for a permit BEFORE you place a cache. The permit states that a Geocache Placement Permit application must be completed and approved by the appropriate Corps of Engineers office before posting the cache on a geocaching website. Each office sets their own rules for this type of thing. The permit is good for 1 year. After that date, the cache must be re-permitted or removed.

They also say that "Unauthorized cache(s) on Corps of Engineers land will be removed and the responsible person may be cited under the Federal Code of Regulations, Title 36, Part 327."

The reasoning is the security issue. They want to know what is where on their land and who is coming and going and why. If you would like an application, you can email Jeff Rose - and they will send one to you.
Map showing Saylorville Lake areas:

National Parks/Lakeshores

Cachers are encouraged to approach their local National Park staff and attempt to establish a good working relationship on a cache by cache basis.

9. Forbidden areas:

Caches are not allowed in:

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Geocaching is prohibited on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, as per rules of the UMRNWR. For maps: 

Iowa State Designated Wilderness Areas - see link for wilderness maps

10. Restricted Areas:

(special permission or circumstance required)
- 150ft from Active Railroad
- Schools
- Airports
- Highway bridges

Other Issues/Suggestions:

Bad Ideas:

The following places have historically been bad ideas for cache hides.
While allowed by the guidelines, please think twice about the types of cachers that will be hunting your cache, and get adequate permission for your hides. In General, these are bad ideas:
- On Playgrounds - many cachers are single adult males and get parents rather upset if they are hanging around playgrounds looking suspicious.
- At Post Offices - postal areas are very sensitive due to problems with letter contents, and it's illegal to hide on on a postal box.
- At Banks - bank security does not hesitate to call law enforcement about suspicious activity.


Please take a minute when creating your cache page to add some attributes to your listing.

Additional Logging Requirements:

"ALR's" are caches that require a finder to do more than just sign the log. Caches that require a picture to be posted, E-mail the answer to a question, or some other activity (in addition to signing the log) performed in order to claim credit for the find are considered ALR's.
As of April 4, 2009, Additional Logging Requirements can no longer be grounds for deleting a cache find. Geocaches can be logged online as Found once the physical log has been signed. If it is appropriate for your cache location or theme, you may still ask the cache seeker to accomplish an optional and simple task, however, cache owners may not delete the cache seeker's log if they choose not to attempt or accomplish the optional tasks. This guideline change applies immediately to all logs written from April 4, 2009 and going forward. Older caches with "additional logging requirements" (ALRs) are not grandfathered under the older guideline. If you own an existing cache with mandatory additional logging requirements, we request that you:
• Cease deleting logs based on additional logging requirements.
• Review your own cache listing to see if the ALR can be made into an optional and simple task, or whether it must be removed altogether.
• Adjust your geocache listing by editing the text and have a reviewer change the cache type, or archiving the listing and replacing it with a new Traditional or Multi-stage one in the same place.

Challenge Caches:

A challenge cache requires that geocachers meet a geocaching-related qualification or series of tasks before finding the cache.
If you are thinking of creating a “challenge cache”, please keep the following in mind:
1. It is generally considered “bad form” to log one’s own physical cache.
2. Basing a challenge cache solely on some aspects of geocaching, such as 5 star terrain, may severely limit the number of cachers who can achieve the challenge.
3. Basing a challenge cache on non-accomplishments, such as DNFs, will likely prevent the cache page from being published.
4. Challenge caches may not require the publication of a new cache as a logging requirement.
5. Challenge caches may not require cachers to log caches that are disabled or archived.
6. An individual's attempt to complete a challenge should be independent of the actions of other cachers. A challenge is supposed to recognize the completion of an achievement, rather than the winner of a competition. (FTF's are an unverifiable competition)
7. Requiring cachers to find an explicit list of caches (rather than a broader category of caches) will likely prevent publication of the cache listing.
8. Using a challenge cache to promote one’s own caches will likely prevent publication of the cache listing.
9. Challenge cache owners may also be asked to outline a long-term cache maintenance plan as caches involved in the challenge by be archived over time.

A challenge cache requires:
1. Geocaching-related
2. Affirmative (no DNF’s or days without a find)
3. Reasonably attainable by the hider and a substantial number of other geocachers. This is two fold, 1. there must be local finders that are at least close to making it, and 2. there are enough local caches that make it at least almost possible
4. Logging requirements are logistically viable.

Handicap Accessible:

If you rate a cache with a Terrain Rating of 1 - this does not necessarily mean it is handicap accessible. Handicap Accessible means the location can be reached in a wheelchair, and that the hide be retrievable from a wheelchair (not on the ground or up high). If you rate your cache a Terrain 1 - please also set the handicap accessible attribute, to either Accessible or Not-Accessible

Cache disabled for an extended period.

The "Temporarily Disable" feature that allows you to disable a cache is meant to be used for no more than a few weeks. A disabled cache will continually show up in search lists, and while there's no cache to be found, it prevents someone from placing a new cache in the area that others can find. I realize that you may not be able to get to your cache right away, so I generally wait to post a note until the cache has been disabled for an extended period or the cache is brought to my attention. If there is no response to my note within a couple weeks, the cache will likely be archived. If there are extenuating circumstances, please post a note to your cache page. I look for notes posted in response to mine before archiving any cache, and sometimes other reviewers may be cleaning up cache listings and wouldn't see any personal e-mail to me.

Reply by e-mail

If you reply to the automatic e-mail sent out by the notification system in response to one of my notes, reviewers will not get your e-mail. Please e-mail your reviewer directly or via their profile.
Please include the GC# when e-mailing.

Reviewer Notes

We do not get automatic notification of Reviewer Notes placed on caches. Please e-mail if you've left a note you'd like us to see.


If you feel a geocache has been so neglected that it has become more litter than cache or if a cache appears to be totally missing and the owner is unresponsive to either an e-mail or posted notes on the cache page, you can bring this to our attention by either
1. E-mailing us the GC# of the cache or
2. Posting a "Needs Archived" type of note on the page. We do get auto notifications of the "Needs Archived" logs.


If you would like to adopt a cache, you must make contact with the cache owner. Have them go to and set up the adoption to you. If the owner is gone (no longer active) and is non-responsive to your e-mail, no longer processes non-consensual adoptions, so it's your choice if you decide to help maintain it. Archived caches cannot be adopted.


If you are planning a cache and wish to verify the location ahead of time, or possibly assemble the cache page in steps, please uncheck the "Yes, it's ready for review" box. If you'd like us to check out the listing before you place the cache, just e-mail us with the GC#. Creating the page ahead of time also has the added feature of "reserving the location" for a few weeks while you complete your cache. Normally, caches are expected to be in-place when they are submitted for review.

Publish at a specific date/time:

If you would like your listing to be published at a special date/time, please be sure to give us at least a full week's notice. We try to accommodate special requests but sometimes things just don't happen as we plan. We can't guarantee a specific time, but we're usually within a couple of hours.

Large series of caches

If you are planning on a large series of caches, please let us know ahead of time. This is so that we can both alert you to potential problems with completing your series and so we can pre-review at least some of them before a mass release date. We ask that caches be submitted far enough ahead of time that we have at least 1 day's notice for every 5 caches you submit.

Relocating a cache

If you relocate a cache, you can change the coordinates up to 528ft (0.1mi) via your cache page. If you need to move it further, please send one of us reviewers a note with the new coordinates and GC# and we can change it for you. Hopefully the new position doesn't encroach on another cache or it's stages, or we may not accept the new location.

Changing cache type

Generally, cache type changes (Traditional -> Multi, Puzzle -> Traditional, etc) are discouraged. Many users are very particular about their statistics, and changing the cache type can cause other issues as well. Often, we recommend archiving the old listing, and creating a new one in the same place with the new type. This has the added benefit of bringing cachers back to the area for the new hide. That said, there are valid reasons for changing a type. Contact one of us reviewers and we'll work through it with you.

Life outside caching

Please be kind. Since we are *highly compensated* by for our volunteer efforts, most reviewers need a *second* job to make ends meet. We make our best attempt to reply to your questions and cache submissions within 7 days. Many times we are quicker, however life often gets in the way of caching and reviewing, and we may sometimes take a little longer to get to you.

Happy Caching!

Iowa Reviewer

About This Guide

The local laws and guidelines for geocaching placement vary from place to place. As community reviewers learn geocache placement policies for a certain location, they can add it here. This site may not be a complete or accurate list of land policies. These policies are made by the land owner or manager, they are neither the reviewer’s nor Geocaching HQ’s. This guide is just for reference, if no policies for the area you’re looking for are listed, that doesn't mean no policies exist. You must still obtain permission to place your geocache from the landowner or land manager,comply with all applicable laws, and follow the Geocaching Listing Requirements.

If you have an update, email the community reviewer(s) listed.

This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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