Skip to main content

Wisconsin Parent

Midwest Travel: Geocaching in Galena, Illinois

Jul 13, 2014 08:49PM, Published by Julie Henning, Categories: Travel



Galena, Illinois has been on my Midwest Travel bucket list for quite some time. So, when we found ourselves with an open Sunday and the perfect weather for a summer road trip, we headed down to the Northwest corner of Illinois to see why so many people love this historic river town.

In researching some family-friendly stops in the region, we turned to the folks at Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau for some suggestions. And while trolley tours, historical homes, and a trip out to the alpine slide at the nearby Chestnut Mountain Resort all sounded fine, I found Geocaching.com an equally-valuable source of information.

Truly the best way to head off the beaten path and see some of the hidden gems the region has to offer, we structured our day around finding geocache containers  that have been assigned with 30 or more "favorite points" (spoiler alert: If you want to find these geocache containers on your own, have someone read this story to you. Don't look at the photos!).

Here's how our adventure went down:

Following the signs leading us into the historic part of town, we felt lucky to secure a parking spot along Main Street in the heart of the downtown shopping district. (This is when driving a Ford Fiesta comes in nice and handy!)

Downtown GalenaTwo things struck me right away: the number of shops, cafes, and boutiques is impressive and so are the number of peak-season tourists. Traveling with three boys, this was not the time for me to find a scented candle or sample some regional wine, but I can see why Galena is popular for girlfriend getaways and couples on a romantic "no kids" vacation. Identifying three geocaches within walking distance, we first found this sneaky little red-headed woodpecker.

Woodpecker CacheHeading a block towards the direction of the Galena River, we found ourselves poking around the Old Blacksmith Shop. Two blacksmith were hammering iron, but stopped long enough to give us the geo-hint necessary to find the cleverly-disguised container nearby.

Blacksmith ShopWe then headed up the bluff to Prospect Street in the search of the Old Galena High School. On the walk, I marveled at the architecture, while the kids reminded me of my promise to take them swimming at the Alice T. Virtue water park a short drive out of town. Historical Home GalenaWe were feeling thirsty, but this "water spicket" only offered one kind of relief.

Spicket FindThankfully, the old school stairs brought led us down, down, down in a hurry. (This photo was taken looking up from the second landing up from the base of the stairs. I wouldn't want to tackle a winter ice storm in this town.)

StairsAs promised, we found the community swimming pool—admission is $3/person and is a bargain price if it means your kids can cool down instead of having a melt down.

PoolAlso at this location is a large playground and equally-impressive skate park.

PlaygroundTruly the highlight of our day was the alpine slide at Chesnut Mountain Resort. We purchased our ride tickets from the Chestnut Adventures store on Main Street. Purchasing your tickets here gives you a free pass to play miniature golf or disc golf at Chestnut Mountain (this it not a "perk" offered to people purchasing tickets from the booth at the top of the alpine run). Admission cost are $8/adult and $7/children 12 and under, but different unlimited ride tickets and group rates are available and will bring this cost down.

SlideDropping down 2,050 feet of track to the banks of the Mississippi River, the trip up the chair lift was just as fun as the ride down the mountain.

Alpine SlideI loved the view.

View from ChairliftDespite begging to ride again, I couldn't compel myself to spend another $29 for a second round (next time, we would splurge for the unlimited ride package and plan on staying a few hours). Galening Tower of PizaAnother geocaching gem is the West Street Sculpture Park at 620 S. West Street (an ideal stop either "going into" or "on your way out of" town.) Falling into my absolute favorite type of road trip "find" (you know, the whimsical kind that gives you hope for mankind), the park features the work of local artist John Martinson.

LostAdmission to the park is free (but donations are gladly accepted for park maintenance and funding new creations) and lists one structure kids can climb. Built into a maze of deciduous forest, the gnats and mosquitoes had us flailing our hands on a hurried "power" trip through for purposes of taking photos.

CubesI would love to go back here in the fall to see the secret path and bridge (where the second part of a puzzle cache is most likely hidden - wink) and take it all in.

Thanks to the hard work and creativity of the geoocahing community in Galena. You have a town to be proud of!

* For more information on geocaching visit: http://www.geocaching.com/

[nggallery id=9]




geocaching illinois midwest travel Alpine Slide Chestnut Mountain Galena Grant History


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/19/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/20/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/20/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Juneau Community Potluck

    09/20/2017
    06:00PM

    We are celebrating the Juneau community and the healthier choices that people are making every da...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/21/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/21/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Mayville Community Potluck

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM

    We are celebrating the Mayville community and the healthier choices that people are making every ...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/22/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/22/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • 4th Annual Autumn Benefit

    09/22/2017
    05:30PM — 09:00PM

    4th Annual Autumn Benefit to support the Pregnancy Center of Dodge County Dinner buffet featu...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/23/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • The Don Reilly Race the Parks Cardiac Run/Walk is now in its 11th year of honoring the memory of ...


  • Natural Soap Making

    09/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    Instructor: Mary Thomas Location: TAG Center Fee: $15 Per Person Registration Deadline: Septem...


  • Sam Fazio Trio

    09/23/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    Hip, elegant and bold, crooner Sam Fazio puts a wonderful new spin on the Great American Songbook...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/24/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/24/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Purpose Workshop

    09/24/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Research shows that people who know their purpose and can clearly articulate it can add up to sev...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/25/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/19/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/20/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/20/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Juneau Community Potluck

    09/20/2017
    06:00PM

    We are celebrating the Juneau community and the healthier choices that people are making every da...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/21/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/21/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Mayville Community Potluck

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM

    We are celebrating the Mayville community and the healthier choices that people are making every ...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/22/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/22/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • 4th Annual Autumn Benefit

    09/22/2017
    05:30PM — 09:00PM

    4th Annual Autumn Benefit to support the Pregnancy Center of Dodge County Dinner buffet featu...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/23/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • The Don Reilly Race the Parks Cardiac Run/Walk is now in its 11th year of honoring the memory of ...


  • Natural Soap Making

    09/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    Instructor: Mary Thomas Location: TAG Center Fee: $15 Per Person Registration Deadline: Septem...


  • Sam Fazio Trio

    09/23/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    Hip, elegant and bold, crooner Sam Fazio puts a wonderful new spin on the Great American Songbook...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/24/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/24/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Purpose Workshop

    09/24/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Research shows that people who know their purpose and can clearly articulate it can add up to sev...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/25/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/26/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Mom's Unite Evening Meet Up

    09/26/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/27/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Mom's Unite Morning Meet Up

    09/27/2017
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/27/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/28/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Mom's Unite Active Play Meet Up

    09/28/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/28/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Flavors on Main Progressive Dinner Fundraiser

    09/28/2017
    04:00PM — 08:00PM

    Come support a local organization that is making waves, moving mountains & changing the community...


  • Books & Beer with Author Christine Keleny

    09/28/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us as we talk with author Christine Keleny about her historical fiction novel "Rosebloom". S...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/29/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    09/29/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Tour de Marsh

    09/30/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/01/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    10/01/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/02/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/03/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/04/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Senior Movie Matinee

    10/04/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Introducing something new for our WISER friends (60 yrs +)! Every 1st Wednesday of every month, w...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    10/04/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/05/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/06/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    10/06/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Thomas Pandolfi

    10/06/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    One of the most sought after pianists worldwide, this young American virtuoso has been showered w...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/07/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Saturday Science at Discovery

    10/07/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Learn about the creatures right in your backyard, including soil microbes, insects, plants and an...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/08/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Community Art Project Exhibit

    10/08/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    The Community Art Project is intended to raise awareness of the visual arts by reaching out to th...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/09/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • Tour de Marsh

    10/10/2017
    07:00AM — 10:00AM

    It is time to shake the cobwebs out of the Tour de Marsh kick-off ride and make it relevant for t...


  • "A Toast to 70 Strong"

    10/10/2017
    07:30PM

    Happy Birthday Wisconsin Philharmonic! To celebrate 70 years of beautiful music in Waukesha Count...



Special Thanks to These Relaunch Partners


Woodman's Markets - Employee Owned
Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau