Big Basin, Boulder Creek

Sunday, Aug. 29, 1999

by Kent Ohlund, 408-777-8309

This year's event at Big Basin State Park is in August. The previous event here was the two-day Western States Champs and A-meet, held in November 1998.

For those of you who have not been to Big Basin, this is one of the best orienteering areas in the Bay Area. Due to the redwood-covered slopes, the visibility is limited, which challenges your navigational skills more than usual. Although the terrain and vegetation is similar to that in Nisene Marks, another Santa Cruz Mountains park, Big Basin has no poison oak. This is one of the few parks in the Bay Area where you can enjoy orienteering without any worry about poison oak.

If this is your first time to Big Basin, take a walk around the old-growth redwood grove right next to the Visitors Center. If you have not seen mature coastal redwood trees, which are thousands of years old, this is a real treat! The dimensions of these trees are mind-boggling. The tallest tree in the grove is more than 300 feet tall.


All 7 standard courses will be offered: White, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Green, Red, Blue.

The White and Yellow courses are slightly longer than recommended but are mostly flat. The rest of the courses are probably a bit on the short side, especially the Blue course. However, there are many controls and visibility is pretty low, so I don't expect many runners to have clean runs - maybe you will prove me wrong. Climb is fairly typical for Big Basin, maybe slightly less than average.

Course statistics:

Course 	Dist	Climb 	Cntrls	Expected Winning Time

White	2.6 km 	15 m 	11 	40 min
Yellow 	3.0 km 	30 m 	12 	45 min
Orange 	3.0 km 	150 m 	11 	55 min
Brown 	2.6 km 	165 m 	10 	60 min
Green 	3.4 km 	240 m 	12 	65 min
Red 	4.9 km 	280 m 	17 	80 min
Blue 	6.4 km 	400 m 	24 	90 min

Directions & Parking

Take I-880 or I-280 to Highway 17, and go south over the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Exit at Mt. Hermon Road in Scott's Valley, and go right for 3 miles to Highway 9. Turn right, proceed about 6 miles to the town of Boulder Creek. Turn left on Highway 236, and go 9 miles to Park Headquarters.

From the South Bay, a shorter, scenic, and winding alternative is to take I-280 to the Sunnyvale-Saratoga exit, go south 5 miles to Highway 9, turn right, and follow this 2-lane road up, over, and down the mountain, about 13 miles in total, to the north end of Highway 236. Go right and follow 236 about 8 miles to Park Headquarters.

August is a busy time at Big Basin, so please carpool if possible. We don't have any parking spots reserved for the event; it's strictly first come, first served. To maintain good relations with the park rangers, please follow directions for where to park. If the main parking lots fill up, you may have to park 1/2 to 2 miles away and walk back. The day-use fee $6 per vehicle.

The registration and finish area will be at the first picnic area on the right-hand side along the road turning to the right at the Visitor Center (past the day-use fee booth). The picnic area is 200m from the fee booth. (This is the spot we have used many times in the past, and which was used by the IMAX filming crew last year.)