group of children search for clues on an EscapeTrail

At EscapeTrails we know one or two things about creating great clues for our themed trails. We often get asked by friends and team building businesses what the formula is to create great scavenger hunt clues. So here we have decided to put together some of the secrets we use when we are deciding on our final ideas.

Before thinking about the actual clue tips below the first thing is to understand who will be doing your scavenger hunt. This will allow you to gauge the level of difficulty. On an EscapeTrail we aim to make our clues and puzzles accessible to all and something an average group will be able to solve (albeit with a little head-scratching first and a hint if needed!).

We feel the following 5 tips hold true whatever age, area or ability your scavenger hunt will cater for.


The first part of creating great scavenger hunt clues actually has nothing to do with the clue itself. The route holds the key to allow your participants to explore new areas or old areas in new ways. You need to plan a route carefully where there are unusual things you may not see every day. This helps create some great clues and help your participants be a little more mindful about their surroundings, especially if they think they are familiar with them already.


It is likely that the scavenger hunt will be a group experience (after all this is more fun!), therefore you have to have clues that have different levels of difficulty that will keep everyone engaged.


Having a variety of clues (or tasks) on a scavenger hunt is vital to maintain the level of interest of participants so don’t focus on one type. Think photo clues, riddles, directions, QR codes, monuments, collection of objects. There are lots of ways you can leave clues and puzzles so why just limit yourself to one!


After the initial excitement of being together and collecting the answers to the first clues, unless your team is uber competitive the motivation of the group may subside a little. This is why on an EscapeTrail we adopted themes for our adventures which mean the groups have a shared end game to work towards, whether this is to solve a crime, save the world or find some treasure!


If you have more than one group do not make the route linear. Have some clues that might need to be solved before you can complete others but make sure there is some choice about the order that the groups complete some of the tasks as this will prevent bottlenecks and clues becoming too obvious because you have seen another teamwork it out before you. Some other ways to do this is to stagger the start time (but this depends on group numbers as then some groups will be waiting a long time to start or waiting for everyone to finish at the end). Finally, dividing the tasks into sections with each group covering the same route but in different orders with the routes fanning out like flower petals from the start.

Find out how we did following our own formula by booking an EscapeTrails experience. Whether it is for a small group of friends or a large team building event with 200 or more people, you will have fun, explore the city and have a chance to be social in a whole new context.