The real treasure behind the Utah Treasure Hunt

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Founders of the Utah Treasure Hunt Dave Cline (left) and John Maxim (right) show the $5,000 from the first hunt in 2020. The hunt for this treasure did more than just get people out into the mountains, it brought people together and gave them hope during dark times. (Photo courtesy of Utah Treasure Hunts)

The Utah Treasure Hunt kicked off on Friday, June 3, and will have people heading to the mountains to search for a prize of $20,000.

The Utah Treasure Hunt was started in 2020 by two Utah real estate agents. The purpose of the hunt is to get people to explore the beautiful Utah mountains and to give them a chance to win a monetary prize by finding a treasure. The initiative has grown in popularity since its foundation and this year’s hunt is set to be the biggest yet, according to its founders.

Since its foundation more than two years ago, the hunt has had more than just a monetary impact on its participants.

The treasure hunt has revealed a real treasure founders Dave Cline and John Maxim never saw coming: the positive impact the hunt had on its participants.

Maxim and Cline said people have reached out to them with stories of hope, friendship and fun which came from participating. They have had stories of people in dark places who found the hunt, got involved, met new friends and had their life turned around.

“The real treasure actually is all these other things, only one person is going to get the money but everyone is being impacted positively,” Maxim said.

The two real estate agents have continued doing the hunts since 2020, by burying their own money and dedicating their time to creating this experience because of the impact it has on people.

“It was just so positive and everyone had so much fun,” Cline said.

Cline and Maxim have heard stories of repaired relationships from embarking on the hunts and about hunters becoming friends from meeting on the trails. They share these stories with followers on their social media under the highlight “RealTreasure.”

“It was after the second hunt we found out that it really had a positive impact on people’s lives, other than just getting them out hiking, it really picks people up,” Maxim said.

To the treasure hunt founders, the impact the hunt has had is a powerful side effect they didn’t foresee.

This huge hunt began in 2020 during the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine when Cline had the idea to bury money in the mountains.

“Everyone was locked in their houses, but it was beautiful outside,” Cline said. “So I had this crazy idea to just do a treasure hunt.”

Cline went through his phone looking for someone who would be crazy enough to do this with him when he stumbled across a name of a friend he had only met a few times before. Cline gave Maxim a call, and he was in.

The two friends then started the first hunt which only lasted four days. Since then, they have continued doing different kinds of treasure hunts which create a fun experience for interested hunters.

They have really enjoyed creating these hunts which focus on being free and open to anyone. Maxim said that ideally, they would love to keep this going for as long as they can.

“In a perfect world we would love to do this forever, but obviously we can’t keep giving all our money away,” Maxim said.

Maxim said that as they continue to try to create more hunts, they are looking into sponsorships to continue funding them.

Cline and Maxim hope people can continue to make friends and get out into the beautiful Utah mountains as this year’s new hunt kicks off.

“The whole purpose of this hunt is to have an excuse to rekindle a love for these world-class mountains we have in our backyard,” Cline said.

This year’s hunt is for a prize of $20,000. It’s still not too late to participate, the hunt will continue until the treasure is found. Those interested in participating can find details here.

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