Photo gallery image (click to enlarge)

Sunol Regional Wilderness

Date: (Sun.) Apr. 19, 2009
Location: Sunol, CA
Event Director: - 925.462.2254
Course Setters: Theo Verhoeven, Luc Poppe
Type: B; Standard 7-course event

Please note that fees and time limits apply, unless otherwise mentioned below. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

Important Note About Water

The water table at Sunol has sunk below the level where it can be tapped. All the wells, fountains, and faucets at the park are bone dry. We plan to have two 5-gallon jugs of water at the Registration area on Sunday, for people who have just finished running their courses. And, of course, there will be water on the courses themselves.

But ... please bring your own water or other drinkables for general use. The forecast calls for 80+ degree temperatures on Sunday.

Fortunately, there is a functioning restroom at Sunol, right next to the Registration area.

You know you want it. You know you'll need it. By the time our annual event at Sunol Regional Wilderness rolls around, the full rush of spring will be enough to intoxicate you. Shiny green leaves, sometimes in groups of three, will be bursting forth from every stalk and twig. Across every lush hillside, through each copse and meadow, will be seen lusty herds of orienteer bounding, climbing, scratching wild and free.

Yes, it's time once again for our spring romp at Sunol. We plan to provide the "standard 7" courses: White and Yellow courses at the beginner level, an Orange course for intermediate level navigators, and the usual Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses for the experienced competitors. Electronic punching will be used on all courses. Beginner's clinics will also be provided for newcomers to orienteering.

Registration and E-punch download will be located very close to the park ranger station. The White and Yellow courses will begin at a small Start area right near the Registration area. All the other courses will begin at a remote Start about 300 m from the far side of a major footbridge next to Registration. Allow yourself about 10 minutes to saunter over there. All courses will finish in the large open area that's ringed by the paved roads southeast of Registration.

Event registration will be open from 9:00 AM until noon. We'll hold a beginner's clinic around 9:30 AM, and we'll try to hold another one around 10:30. Start times will be available on all courses from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. All courses will close at 2:30 PM. Please be sure to return to the Finish by this time, even if you do not complete your course.

NOTICE: At 1:30 PM, the BAOC Annual General Meeting will be held near the Registration area. This meeting is open to all members of BAOC. Highlights of the past year will be discussed, and club officers will be elected for the coming year.

Sunol Regional Wilderness is a land of moderate and steep slopes, half of them covered by open grassland and the other half covered by generally sparse forests of oak, bay laurel, and madrone. Patches of underbrush occur in denser parts of the forest and blanket a few hillsides (which will not lie on anyone's best route between controls). It's a little too early in the season to tell how prevalent the poison oak will be, but Sunol in the spring can be quite rife with shiny little leaves. All courses are certainly being engineered to avoid known areas of lush poison oak growth, but long sleeves and long pants are strongly recommended to avoid direct skin contact if a brushup does occur.

NOTE: If you think you might participate in this event, please pre-register for E-punch here ( You can come to the event without pre-registering, but it's helpful to the E-punch crew if you pre-register.

Course Statistics

                                         Technical      Physical
  Course    Length    Climb   Controls   Difficulty     Difficulty
  White     2.0 km     70 m      10      Novice         Easy
  Yellow    2.8 km    120 m      12      Beginner       Easy
  Orange    4.0 km    235 m      15      Intermediate   Moderate
  Brown     3.8 km    195 m      15      Advanced       Moderate
  Green     5.4 km    270 m      16      Advanced       Hard
  Red       6.5 km    340 m      16      Advanced       Very Hard
  Blue      7.1 km    420 m      19      Advanced       Very Hard

More information about the courses is available in the Course Setters' Notes.

Driving Directions

Sunol Regional Wilderness is in the East Bay. Take highway I-680 to the Calaveras Road exit near Sunol. Go south on Calaveras Road about six miles to Geary Road. Turn left onto Geary and continue a couple of miles to the park entrance. Pay the entrance fee (see below), and follow the O' signs to the Registration area. (Park only in designated parking areas. The rangers do give tickets.)

Be prepared to pay a park-usage fee of $5 per car. Most likely a ranger will be on duty at the entrance kiosk to accept your payment, but if not, you may have to grapple with a rather temperamental ticket machine that takes only $1, $5, and $10 bills.

There's a map here that shows the location of the park.