The elusive $25,000 treasure still awaits its discovery, hidden somewhere within Utah’s vast landscapes. Whether nestled in the mountains, the desert, or even the valley, the exact whereabouts remain known only to David Cline and John Maxim.

“We never could have fathomed its immense popularity,” reflected Maxim.

Three years ago, these two friends initiated the Utah Treasure Hunt, providing people with an engaging activity during the pandemic while igniting a spirit of adventure. In its nascent stage, the treasure was valued at $5,000.

“I recall Dave and I chuckling as we concealed the first treasure, pondering whether anyone would undertake the challenge. We envisioned returning in winter to retrieve our hidden gem,” Maxim reminisced with amusement.

However, the Utah Treasure Hunt surpassed all expectations, captivating a wide audience. Since then, Cline and Maxim have faithfully hidden a treasure each year.

With assistance from sponsors, the prize money has grown, although a substantial portion still originates from their own pockets.

“Our aim was to craft a real-life adventure for participants,” remarked Maxim.

The hunt has garnered such fervor that individuals have become adept at deciphering the clues.

“Last year, we were slightly embarrassed. We conducted the hunt, and within eight days, it was discovered,” revealed Maxim.

To counteract this, they dedicated three months to composing a challenging poem encompassing the intricate clues.

“We meticulously deliberated over each line of that poem,” explained Cline. “Given the rise of artificial intelligence, we anticipated people inputting the entire text into AI algorithms to uncover its meaning. Hence, I ran every word and every line through AI to ensure it remained AI-proof.”

Moreover, the duo resorted to disguises when concealing the treasure chest, as their popularity led to increased public recognition.

“At Lagoon or Costco, individuals approached us, exclaiming, ‘Aren’t you the treasure hunt guys?'” recalled Maxim. “Nothing would undermine the treasure hunt more than someone accidentally stumbling upon our hiding spot. Thus, we borrowed cars and switched between them, equipped ourselves with burner phones, and took every precaution to remain unseen.”

Yet, beyond the material prize, Cline and Maxim derive true fulfillment from the impact the treasure hunt has on participants’ lives.

“Initially, we embarked on this venture for adventure and enjoyment, but we continue because of the profound impact it has on countless individuals,” shared Cline. “John refers to it as the real treasure, and he couldn’t be more accurate.”

The extent to which the treasure hunt has brought people together far exceeded their expectations.

“Connections have blossomed. We’ve witnessed love stories emerge from our treasure hunts. Families have reunited. Individuals grappling with PTSD and addiction have found solace,” emphasized Maxim. “Just last night, a woman messaged me. She had experienced a tragic loss in her family, confining themselves to their home for months. Now, she and her daughter have embarked on 25 hikes in search of the treasure. It has rekindled familial joy, bringing them closer together. The impact is immeasurable.”

For those seeking the treasure, the hints, clues, and updated information can be found on their dedicated hints page.

“Pass the grain tower that gazes westward,” “Embark on a hike to the tree standing bare,” and “Depart from the road at the wingless airplane” are among the poetic lines providing insights into the current treasure’s hidden location.

utah current treasure's hidden location

Photo: Mark Less

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