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Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Date: (Sun.) Sep. 14, 2014
Location: Boulder Creek, CA
Event Directors: - 650.906.9672, - 831.439.9822
Course Setters: Nick Corsano, Nick Giori
Type: B; We return to this beautiful park, after a long absence, for point-to-point courses for beginners through advanced

Please note that fees and time limits apply. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

BAOC will celebrate National Orienteering Week amid the glorious forests of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. For the first time in nine years, BAOC returns to this venue, California's first state park and home to some of the most magnificent groves of Sequoia sempervirens found anywhere.

What is Orienteering

An adventure: Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! Teams of 1 to 5 find checkpoints in parks and wilderness areas using specially-produced maps. All are welcome at our events​—​runners, joggers, hikers, and walkers.


  9:00 AM – Registration opens
  9:30 AM – Beginner's clinic instruction (free)
10:00 AM – Starts open, you can start on courses anytime until 12:30
  2:00 PM – Courses close, checkpoint pick-up begins

Everyone must check in at the Finish by 2:00 PM, and report to the E-punch tent, so we can have everyone accounted for and start checkpoint pick-up on time so those volunteers can get home.

Enjoy free snacks and refreshments from BAOC after you finish.


We will be offering six courses, the usual menu except for Blue. Subject to last-minute tweaking, here are the course statistics:

   Course     Length    Climb   Controls
   White      2.1 km     80 m      10  
   Yellow     2.3 km     90 m      11
   Orange     3.6 km    210 m      15
   Brown      3.9 km    235 m      15
   Green      4.7 km    290 m      18
   Red        5.8 km    380 m      21

Be sure to read the Course Setters' Notes for more information.

All the courses have the same Start and the same Finish. The Start is a brisk one-kilometer uphill walk from the assembly area. The Finish is a short stroll back to the assembly area.

Beginners should be aware that the lengths shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer. The climb numbers represent the amount of ascending that would be done on the "optimum route" (in the Course Setter's opinion), without regard for any descending.

The White course is for beginners and young children. This is a great warmup if you're trying orienteering for the first time. You get to see the map before the start and experience how everything works.

The Yellow course is for "advanced beginners". It provides a bit more navigation challenge. Beginners can do this course after the White course (if they complete the first course before noon).

The Orange (intermediate) course, and the Brown, Green, and Red (advanced) courses explore the forests, meadows, hilltops, and valleys for a fun, challenging navigation experience. The advanced courses all involve difficult navigation.

What to Bring

For beginners' courses, comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.

For intermediate and advanced courses, leg cover or gaiters are recommended, as well as shoes with some extra grip on the soles.

A compass is not necessary, but can be helpful. We have compasses available for a $1 rental fee.

We time the courses with the SPORTident system, so a SPORTident fingerstick is needed for each team. If you don't have your own, they rent for $3. (Use of the "E-punch" system is easy. You can learn how at the event, or read about it here.)

Venue Facilities

Picnic tables, piped water, and flush toilets are available, so please feel free to bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy after you finish your course.


The intermediate and advanced courses will traverse some steep areas.

For participants on the intermediate and advanced courses, the park has some poison oak which you will want to avoid. It looks like this. Washing clothes and shoes and bathing exposed areas with dish-washing soap or a commercial product such as Tecnu is recommended (i.e., to remove the irritant oil).


  $3 for juniors
  $6 for beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
$10 member price for intermediate and advanced courses
$15 non-member price for intermediate and advanced courses
$15 for the lowest cost individual year BAOC membership (optional)
  $1 for a compass rental (optional)
  $3 for an electronic fingerstick rental (if you don't own one, you'll need one to complete the course)
$10 per vehicle day-use fee ($9 for seniors 62+)

For extra people on a team, add $5 per person for intermediate and advanced courses or $3 per person on beginner’s courses.

The day-use fee is collected at the parking lot entrance or at the park headquarters building.

More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ.

Location within the Park

The assembly area is a short walk beyond the main parking lot.

Request for Volunteers

September 6 Update: We could use some more volunteers. Mainly for starts, finishes, E-punch, and beginner clinics. A hearty "Thanks" to those of you who have already "signed up" to help!

If you're planning on coming to the event, your help would be greatly appreciated! I love that folks offer to help when they show up at the event, but it helps the flow of the event to have people scheduled in advance for key things like starts, finishes, registration, ... We will have some scouts attending, and they will need beginner's clinics. Help with control pick-up is also adored by your Event Director and Course Setters.

Please email with what you'd like to volunteer for. You may also call my cell phone at 831.236.3055 to volunteer, or if you have any questions.

Driving Directions

Take I-880 or I-280 to Highway 17, and go south over the Santa Cruz Mountains. Exit at Mt. Hermon Road in Scotts Valley, and go right (NW) 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 the park headquarters. Then proceed to Gazos Creek Picnic Area.

There is no shortage of alternative routes. Some favorites are listed here.

Here's an advisory for folks whose preferred route to Big Basin goes through Saratoga: In the spring of 2014, Caltrans began a two-year project to upgrade sections of Highway 9 between the town of Saratoga and Highway 35. Currently, one-way traffic control is in effect on two short stretches of this road. Figure on this adding 5–10 minutes to your drive time.

After you arrive in the park, enter the main parking lot and pay the $10 day-use fee ($9 for seniors 62+). Drive straight ahead through the parking lot. Our assembly point is the picnic area on the right-hand side of the road, opposite the bridge over the creek. If the small parking lot there is full, continue straight ahead and park along the side of the road. (Please be considerate of others, and park closely.)

The picnic area has tables, barbecues, and restrooms with flush toilets and running water. Groups who may want to spread out a little more can drive across the bridge, and claim one of the picnic areas on the other side.

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