China Camp, San Rafael

Sunday, Sept. 12, 1999

by Bill Papendick, 415-479-4262

Our China Camp meet will be held late this year. All seven courses will be offered: White, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue.

The terrain is typical of the Bay Area: relatively steep, with oak, bay, and eucalyptus forests. The lower sections have some open grassy hills that will be dry with considerable foxtails. The upper portions of the park are blessed with some redwood groves and wonderful vistas of the North Bay. There is poison oak present, but it should be a brilliant fall color of red, so you can easily avoid it. Precautions should be taken against poison oak contamination and ticks.

There are barbecue pits, toilets, and lots of picnic tables near the start/finish area, so hang around after you complete your course and have a picnic lunch with your fellow orienteers. Unfortunately, there is no public water available.

Mountain Bike-O

New this year will be a Mountain Bike-O. China Camp is a favorite place for mountain bikers, so this is an opportunity for them to try adding orienteering to a bike ride. The Bike-O will be modeled after a Trail-O, with all of the controls accessible from a trail. The challenge will be the route choice and the ability to ride the steep hills. And of course, not to get lost or to ride too fast past a control.

All rules pertaining to bicycles must be followed at all times. The speed limit is 15 mph with slower speeds in limited-vision areas. Bicycles must yield to all other users on the trails: equestrians, runners, orienteers, and pedestrians.


China Camp State Park is located 15-20 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge and a few miles northeast of San Rafael. Exit HIghway 101 at North San Pedro Road near the Marin County Civic Center (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), and travel east for 3.5 miles to the Miwok Meadows picnic area.

If you arrive late in the day, the lot may be full, but you may park on North San Pedro Road and walk or ride in to registration.