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Calero County Park

Date: (Sun.) Sep. 24, 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.599.9709
Course Setters: Tapio Karras, Anastasiya Gordeeva
Type: B; Regular 7-course B-meet with courses for beginners through advanced

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

What is Orienteering?

An adventure! Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! You can explore a course by yourself or go as a team with your friends. You will get a highly detailed orienteering map, probably unlike any map you have seen before. The map will have a lot of detail on it, such as fences, boulders, lone trees, vegetation boundaries, and anything else you might see. Your course will be printed on the map.

Orienteering is easy to learn, a challenge to master, and incredibly fun!

Note about the photos on this page: They show various scenes in Calero Park, which change each time the page is drawn. You can click on a photo to see a larger image, and you can click on that image to see a really large one.

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  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

At registration, all juniors must be accompanied by parents or legal guardians, or bring with them a waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian (the registration form is available here (PDF/100KB)).

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, but please don't show up earlier and expect to be served).

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.

Please note that everyone must return to the Finish by 2:00 PM, and check in at E-punch, even if you don't complete your course. We need to account for all participants, because otherwise we must organize a search party for you.

After you finish, stick around and socialize with other participants!

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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.


The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for juniors (age 8 through 20) on beginner's (White) and advanced beginner's (Yellow) courses
  $8 for adults on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
  $5 for juniors on intermediate (Orange) and advanced (Brown, Green, Red, Blue) 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 one-year BAOC membership (optional)  

Note: We are able to accept payment only by cash or check​—​no credit cards or electronic payments.

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

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More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ. All the prices are also shown on the standard entry form (PDF/100KB), which you can print and fill out in advance to save some time at the event. (You will need one entry form for each group of people going on a course together.) Please note that the form has a second page for signatures of group members.


This year, in addition to the regular seven courses (White through Blue), we also offer a shorter and less physical Brown-Y course. Here are the course statistics:

                                        Water  Navigational    Terrain, Physical
    Course    Length   Climb  Controls  Stops  Difficulty      Difficulty       
    White     3.4 km   105 m     11       1    Beginner        Trails, Easy         
    Yellow    3.1 km   145 m     10       1    Adv. Beginner   Mostly Trails, Easy
    Orange    3.1 km   215 m     11       2    Intermediate    Off-trail, Hard
    Brown-Y   2.1 km   145 m      8       1    Advanced        Off-trail, Moderate
    Brown-X   3.3 km   215 m     12       1    Advanced        Off-trail, Moderate
    Green     4.7 km   310 m     13       2    Advanced        Off-trail, Hard
    Red       5.7 km   410 m     16       2    Advanced        Off-trail, Very Hard
    Blue      7.0 km   500 m     18       2    Advanced        Off-trail, Very Hard

Beginners should be aware that the lengths shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer. To estimate how far you will actually go, change "km" to "mi" (e.g., for a "2 km" course, you might travel up to "2 mi"). The climb numbers represent the amount of ascending that would be done on the "optimum route" (in the Course Setters' 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".

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

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 sole. The courses will be steep!

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 each entry/team needs to have a SPORTident fingerstick. If you don't have your own, you can rent one at registration for $5. (Use of the "E-punch" system is easy. You can learn how at the event, or read about it here.)


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, do not "burst out of the woods" onto a trail if there's a horse nearby.

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Volunteers Needed

A big thanks to those who have volunteered to help at the event. As of Thursday, Sept 21, we still need a few more people to help:

If you would like to help with the event, we need many volunteers. In particular, we could use a few people for these tasks:

9:30–10:30: Beginners' clinics
10:00–2:00: Starts & finishes (~1-hour shifts)
11:00–1:30: E-Punch (~1-hour shifts)
2:00–3:30 (or so): Control Pick-up

No previous experience is needed (except for beginners' clinics). We will train you! And you can do a course before or after your volunteer duties.

Please send Event Director an email if you can help.

Driving Directions

The event assembly area is at the usual McKean Entrance Picnic Area in Calero County Park. Because everyone uses GPS for driving directions these days, we will only have one orange/white orienteering directional sign at the junction of McKean Road and the park entrance, about a half mile SE of the Bailey Road junction and about 1.3 miles SE of the Calero Reservoir Boat Launch. For GPS navigation, the address is 23205 McKean Road, San Jose. (The approximate coordinates are 37.174928,-121.761078.)

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.


There's a large parking lot next to registration.

Please note that you must not park in the back of the lot​—​the part furthest from the road. Horse trailers park there, and we need to give them plenty of room to maneuver.