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Letterboxing

Discover a fun new outdoor activity combining treasure hunting with rubber stamping. Visit any of the websites listed below to learn more so you can start your adventures!

At the Tacoma Nature Center you can head out on our trails for your first find. Or, during our workshops, learn how to create a letterbox, make your own stamp and passport, and then head outdoors to discover the secret treasures of Snake Lake. If there are no workshops currently scheduled, you can book one for your group of 10 or more by calling 253-591-6439 and asking for Brianna.

What is letterboxing?
Small boxes are hidden in various locations and you use clues to go out and find them. Each letterbox has a logbook inside that you log into and a unique (often hand-carved) stamp that you can stamp into your own logbook as a record of all the letterboxes you've found. If you carry your own unique stamp you can then stamp that into the logbook inside the letterbox so that others that come later can see that you were there.   

Where are letterboxes hidden?
Letterboxes can be hidden almost anwhere - indoors or outside - in publicly-accessible areas yet out of sight of anyone not looking for them. Click on the letterboxes below to get the clues to find Tacoma park locations. Check back here for new locations as they are added. Coming soon! Special limited edition letterboxes - found only on this page - will rotate regularly.   

Can I plant a letterbox?
Yes, anyone can do it! Be sure to get permission before planting a letterbox on private property. And, there are a few common sense/common courtesy rules to follow:

  • avoid environmentally sensitive areas
  • leave the area just as you found it
  • don't approach, disturb or feed the wildlife
  • avoid unsafe areas and be alert to animals and other people around you
  • don't make the letterbox look suspicious and avoid looking suspicious when you are out searching for letterboxes to respect others that are unfamiliar with the sport

What do I need to letterbox?

  • clues (see places to find clues below)
  • signature stamp (you can hand-craft one) - to stamp in the logbook you find in the letterbox
  • logbook - so you can record all your finds with the stamp found in the letterbox
  • ink pad
  • something to write with in the logbook you find in the letterbox
  • compass - many boxes require a compass to find
  • gloves - in case you need to reach your hand into a deep, dark hole
  • water, snacks, sunglasses, hat, mosquito repellent, cell phone, flashlight, first-aid kit and anything else that would ensure your safety and comfort

What is a signature stamp?
Create or find a unique stamp that represents yourself so that you can stamp into logbooks you find to show you've been there. You can always use your thumbprint if you don't have another stamp with you.

Do I need a trail name?
For personal safety and security, you can come up with your own unique trail name to put in logbooks instead of your real name. It can be something fun but don't start using something that you may regret later.

Where do I find clues?

  • Atlas Quest - www.atlasquest.com/boxes/
  • Letterboxing North America - www.letterboxing.org
  • Geocaching website - www.geocaching.com (choose "Letterbox Hybrid" from the "All Geocashes" drop down menu)
  • Smart phone applications
  • Individual letterboxers may keep personal websites that you can search for that list their clues
  • Interacting with other letterboxers through e-mail and message boards is important to gather the widest variety of clues - clues may be hidden in plain sight, embedded into otherwise innocent sounding posts on talk lists or in a picture link
  • Some clues may be by invite only (word-of-mouth or WOM clues)