Photo gallery image (click to enlarge)

Golden Gate Park

Event #3 of 6 in the BAOC 2018 Summer Series

Date: (Sun.) Jun. 17, 2018
Location: San Francisco, CA
Event Director: - 510.779.8808
Course Setter: Petr Horcicka
Type: C; Beginner and advanced courses; part of the BAOC 2018 Summer Series

San Francisco Recreation & Parks logo

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

Can someone be "acting event director" for an hour?

Although I think I have enough help now for a (barebones) event, it just crossed my mind that I'll be out in the field placing controls Sunday morning, starting at 8:30 AM. I'll be putting out about 10 units, so I hope I'll be back well before 10 AM, when the actual event will get underway. In particular, I plan to handle starts for the rest of the event. (The Finish will more than likely be unmanned, unless someone wants to volunteer there.)
But just in case there are any problems, is there anyone who plans to arrive at the event site by 9:30 AM or so, that I could count on to handle any issues that might arise while I am out? Hopefully that would involve no more than just explaining what is going on to any newcomers, since there probably won't be any banners or signs up, by the conditions of our permit. It would make me feel a little more comfortable to have someone there who is officially "in charge" at all times.

This is the third event in the BAOC 2018 Summer Series. Summer Series points will be awarded to anyone who competes on the Orange Course (see below).

While this is the third of six events in the 2018 Summer Series, we want to emphasize that everyone is welcome to come out and do one (or more) of the courses, regardless of whether or not you attended the previous Summer Series events, or plan to attend later events. Beginners new to orienteering are welcome, and the navigational difficulty is significantly eased by the setting, so anyone should be able to complete the beginner courses.

The event will be at the Old Speedway Meadow parking lot, which is in the western half of the park near the southern edge. The driving directions are below.

Although the event is turning out to be more of a last-minute affair than is usual for our club, we're confident this event will be up to our usual quality standards. (Steve Gregg agreed to be the event director less than a week ago [otherwise the event might not have happened at all], and the courses had to be altered at the last minute as well, due to restrictions we were not aware of concerning which parts of the map we could use.)

If anyone would like to volunteer, please see the opportunities listed below.

We hope to see many of you on Sunday.

Out-of-Bounds Areas

Please respect all the out-of-bounds areas indicated on the map. This is an important condition of our permit. Please see more comments below.


Beginner clinics will be available to introduce orienteering. They are short, repeating sessions that explain orienteering maps and the process for completing a course. Of course, it's up to the participants to be able to read their map and navigate to the controls on their course. That should not be too difficult at this feature-rich venue.


  9:00 AM – Registration opens; you can register anytime until noon (no latecomers please!)
  9:30 AM – Beginner's clinic instruction available (free)
10:00 AM – Starts open, you can start on courses anytime until 12:30
 2:00 PM – Courses close, checkpoint 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)).

Beginner's clinics will continue until about 10:30 (they could stop earlier if there is no more demand).

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. At 2:00 PM we will also start taking down controls, so there's no point in staying out longer (other than to cause us worry).

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


The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for juniors (age 8 through 20) on the White (beginner) or Yellow (advanced beginner) course
  $8 for adults on the White (beginner) or Yellow (advanced beginner) course
  $5 for juniors on the Orange course  
$12 adult member price for the Orange course
$18 adult non-member price for the Orange course
  $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 (i.e., completing the course together), add $5 per adult on a beginner course or $7 per adult on the intermediate course (with lower prices for juniors).

If you have the inclination (and can start before 12:30), you can do a second (or third) course for a much-reduced fee.

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.

What to Bring

For the beginner courses, comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.

For the longer course, although it's not an absolute requirement, long pants may give you comfort when running on narrow, overgrown trails, and occasionally stepping off-road. You might also want shoes with some extra grip on the soles (but be aware that you might be running on roads a lot).

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 required for each team​—​they rent for $5. (Use of the "E-punch" system is easy. You can learn how at the event, or read about it here.)

Note: The Orange course requires a high-capacity fingerstick, because it has more than 30 controls. The rental E-sticks are high capacity. Make sure your personal E-stick has adequate capacity (see here for reference). High-capacity loaner E-sticks will be available for people with low-capacity E-sticks.


There will be three courses offered at the event:

    Course     Length    Controls
    White      2.1 km        9  
    Yellow     2.9 km       13
    Orange     5.3 km       31

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 might actually go, change "km" to "mi" (e.g., for a "2.1 km" course, you might travel up to "2.1 mi").

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 people with some orienteering experience, or who are good at reading maps.

We are restricted to exactly the same portions of the map that we used for our previous two events here, and if you attended one or both of those events, the terrain will feel familiar. Nonetheless our course setter Petr has done a fine job setting a long course that will provide some new route-choice challenges​—​and with 31 controls to be found, you will need to keep your wits about you until the very end.

Since the Orange course has 31 controls, a high-capacity E-stick will be needed. (High-capacity loaner E-sticks will be available for people with low-capacity E-sticks.)

The Orange course will earn points for the Summer Series (see below).

Important Notices

Here are some important notices that are required of us by the park. In particular, note that there will be no food provided at the event, so please bring your own snacks and/or lunch.

  1. Please stay off of newly planted areas and erosion-control areas marked by signs, as they are sensitive to park maintenance and must not be disturbed. Also, you must not cross areas marked as out-of-bounds on the map. These include the bison paddock and dog-run areas marked by olive green on the map. These should be clear because they are fenced off.
  2. Not so clear while you are orienteering, and also off limits, are the walkways around the angler's casting pools marked on the map with purple vertical lines. Please avoid the casting pools when choosing your route as a condition of our permit.
  3. There is some poison oak in off-trail areas and in low brush, though much less than in most of our Bay Area parks. While there are dog-leash rules, some owners may have their dogs off leash on trails within the park.
  4. Since S.F. Recreation & Parks Department is now requiring a health permit to serve food, please bring your own food for after the race. No snacks will be provided at this event.

Here are some more things to keep in mind:

  1. There will be no direction signs to the event site. Since the conditions of our permit do not allow us to tie any banners to any park objects, manmade or natural, there may not be any BAOC banners at the staging area, either. So make sure you know where you are going! The small parking lot fills quickly, and many of you will have to park on the street, and walk in.
  2. Be aware of the high probability of controls going missing. We are not going to start placing controls in the field until 8:30 AM, but nonetheless, controls can go missing in the blink of an eye at GGP. In fact, last summer's event was the first and only E-punch event I have ever attended at GGP at which every single control remained in place for the duration of the event. So if you get to what you believe is the correct location, but see no bag, the odds are much better than usual that you did not make a mistake, and that the bag has gone missing. Don't waste a lot of time looking for it​—​just move on. But be sure to inform us at the Finish right away, so that we can send someone out to look for it.
  3. Dennis Wildfogel reminded me to inform everyone that we will be using the same ISSOM map that has been used the last two years. This is particularly relevant at GGP, since in ISSOM, ponds and swamps surrounded by a thin, solid, black line are forbidden to cross. (Note: ISSOM maps show other features that are forbidden to cross, regardless of the physical ability to cross them.)
PRO TIP: Near the end of the Orange course, on one leg, you will be sorely tempted to break this rule by crossing a thin strip of pond. The pond is only a few meters wide and about waist deep (don't ask me how I know this), but please follow the rules, and go around in one direction or the other. It will be obvious from the WinSplits if anyone goes straight here​—​don't make us come after you.

2018 Summer Series

Points for the Summer Series will be awarded to all the individuals (but not groups or teams) who complete the Orange course.

Details of the Summer Series scoring system are available here. (Note that we need your birth year if you want to be scored properly.)

Request for Volunteers

I think the idea for these Summer Series events is to not be as formal as our regular events, so I'm happy to go "barebones", and not recruit a lot of volunteer help. Nonetheless, here is the current status of our volunteer positions. Let me know if you can slot yourself in anywhere.

Control placement (starting at 8:30 AM ): Me, Petr, Scott A, Trevor P. This is the most important task at this particular event, and I think we're good to go here. There are 39 controls to place in all. But additional help here would be gratefully accepted​—​you can still run your course afterwards.

Registration: Gary Kraght. I'm guessing Gary would like to be relieved at some point? Also, if anyone can bring a folding table from home, Gary says he could use another one.

Starts: The start triangle is literally right at the staging area, so this could easily go unmanned. I'll be happy to do this myself, though, since I will have nothing else to do during the event, I hope. :-)

Finishes: Right across the street from the staging area, so also could easily go unmanned. But if you're willing to take a shift at the Finish line, let me know.

Beginner's Clinics: None planned as yet. Anyone want to volunteer here?

Control Pickup: Our second most important task at the event, as we want to get all the bags out of the field as quickly as possible after the event, to minimize the possibility of theft and/or vandalism. Volunteers gladly accepted here!

, Event Director

Driving Directions

The approximate coordinates are 37.7662, -122.4990

There's a map here that shows the location of the event. To use that map, drag it to center San Francisco in the panel, then use the "+" button to zoom in. Repeat dragging and zooming to get the desired area shown. You can click on the Satellite button to see an aerial view.

Coming from the Bay Bridge: After crossing the bridge, take exit 1B to merge onto US-101 N toward the Golden Gate Bridge and continue onto Octavia Blvd. Use any lane to turn left onto Fell St. At the west end of the Golden Gate Park "Panhandle", turn slightly left to stay on Fell St. Shortly after entering Golden Gate Park, turn left onto Kezar Dr. That road merges into Lincoln Way. Continue on Lincoln Way to 41st Ave (on the left) and Chain of Lakes Dr E (on the right). Turn right onto the latter. Just past the second stop sign, there is a small parking lot on the right. This is where you should try to park.

Coming from the South: From I-280, take the (left) exit (49B) to 19th Ave. After 0.3 mile, exit onto Brotherhood Way heading west. At the "T" intersection with Lake Merced Blvd, turn right. Stay on Lake Merced Blvd until it becomes Sunset Blvd. Continue on Sunset Blvd into Golden Gate Park, and turn left onto Martin Luther King Jr Dr. Turn right onto Chain of Lakes Dr E. Just past the first stop sign, there is a small parking lot on the right. This is where you should try to park.

Coming from Marin: After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, exit shortly after the toll plaza onto 19th Avenue. Continue on 19th Ave through Golden Gate Park. At the south edge of the Park, turn right onto Lincoln Way. Continue on Lincoln Way to 41st Ave (on the left) and Chain of Lakes Dr E (on the right). Turn right onto the latter. Just past the second stop sign, there is a small parking lot on the right. This is where you should try to park.