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Calero County Park

Date: (Sun.) Oct. 4, 2015
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 650.281.5280
Course Setter: Theo Verhoeven
Type: B; Regular event with courses for beginners through advanced

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

On Sunday, October 4, we'll have our regular annual event at Calero County Park, just south of San Jose, in some of the Bay Area's best orienteering terrain.

More details, including course-setter's notes, will be available here closer to the event date.

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 – Beginners' clinic instruction begins (free)
10:00 AM – Starts open
10:30 AM – Beginners' clinic instruction ends
11:59 AM – Registration closes
12:30 PM – Starts close
  2:00 PM – Courses close, checkpoint control pick-up begins

Note that you can register and start on courses anytime between the open and close times above. Thus, for example, you do not need to be "punctual" at 9:00 (but you can if you want).

Beginners' clinics are short, repeating sessions that introduce the sport of orienteering, and provide enough instruction to be able to complete the beginner (White) course.

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. Note that you must check in even if you don't complete your course.

After you finish, enjoy free snacks and refreshments, and socialize with other participants!


  $3 for juniors on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
  $8 for adults on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
  $5 for juniors on intermediate and advanced courses  
$12 member price for intermediate and advanced courses
$18 non-member price for intermediate and advanced courses
  $1 for a compass rental (optional)  
  $5 for an electronic fingerstick rental (if you don't own one, you'll need one to complete the course)
$15 for the lowest cost individual year BAOC membership (optional)  

For extra people on a team, add $7 per adult for intermediate and advanced courses or $5 per adult on beginners' courses (with lower prices for juniors).

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

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 required, but can be very 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 $5. (Use of the "E-punch" system is easy. You can learn how at the event, or read about it here.)

Location within the Park

The assembly area is at the equestrian parking area, which is the same place as previous years. Details are under Driving Directions below.

Venue Facilities

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


Theo Verhoeven has designed the standard seven courses (White through Blue), with somewhat less climb than last year, and with much less hike and climb to the Starts.

Here are the course details:

     Course     Length     Climb   Controls   Stops
     White      2.8 km      85 m      11        1   
     Yellow     2.7 km     100 m      13        1
     Orange     3.7 km     235 m      14        1
     Brown      2.9 km     175 m      11        1
     Green      4.5 km     270 m      17        2
     Red        6.2 km     375 m      17        3
     Blue       7.4 km     420 m      20        3

The White, Yellow, and Orange courses have a different Start from the Brown through Blue courses​—​make sure you go to the correct Start. The remote Starts are short, mostly flat, walks from the parking lot (750 m for the beginner and intermediate courses, 600 m for the advanced courses). The Finish is 10–15 minutes away.

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, Red, and Blue (advanced) courses explore the forests, meadows, hilltops, and valleys for a fun, challenging navigation experience. The advanced courses all involve difficult navigation, and differ by physical difficulty with Brown "easiest" and Blue "hardest".

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


The intermediate and advanced courses will traverse some steep areas.

For participants on the intermediate and advanced courses, the park has some poison oak that 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).

This is not a hazard, but you must remember that horses have the right of way. If you encounter a horse, you must stop running and respond to the rider's directions. Also be careful about "bursting out of the woods" onto a trail if there's a horse nearby.

Request for Volunteers

Thanks to the people who have already offered to help. However, we still need some more people.

Driving Directions

From the Peninsula, take Highway 85 south to Almaden Expressway. Head south 5 miles to the end of the road. Turn right onto Harry, and then immediately left onto McKean. The main park entrance is 5 miles south on McKean. Go past the boat ramp, and turn instead at the entrance marked "Calero County Park; Park Office; Equestrian Center; All Trailheads".

From the East Bay, take Highway 101 south past San Jose and exit at Bailey Ave. After 3.2 miles west, Bailey ends at McKean. Turn left and go south 0.7 miles to the park entrance.

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