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Joseph D. Grant County Park

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 11, 2018
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 650.604.3760
Course Setters: Derek Maclean, Kim van Berkel, Jitka Hiscox
Type: B; Standard 7-course event for beginners through advanced

Course Setters' Notes

By Derek Maclean, Kim van Berkel, Jitka Hiscox

Join us for springtime orienteering in this beautiful park in the shadow of Mount Hamilton. We have designed courses to experience a diversity of terrain and navigational challenges. The advanced courses will visit areas that have been rarely used for orienteering in recent years.

Registration will be open from 9:30 to noon. The earliest start is at 10:00; the latest start at 12:30. The courses close at 2:00.


Here are the details of the courses:

                                          Navigational   Physical  
    Course    Length    Climb  Controls   Difficulty     Difficulty
    White     2.3 km     50 m     10      Easy           Easy   
    Yellow    3.5 km    150 m     13      Easy           Easy
    Orange    3.8 km    200 m     15      Moderate       Moderate
    Brown     4.4 km    190 m     16      Hard           Moderate
    Green     5.6 km    250 m     16      Hard           Hard
    Red       6.5 km    330 m     21      Hard           Very Hard
    Blue      7.9 km    360 m     25      Hard           Very Hard

Note that the course Length is simply the sum of the straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer, and will depend on your route choices (and any errors you make). (A rough rule of thumb is to mentally replace "km" with "mi", so a "2.3 km" course might cover 2.3 miles.)

Climb is an estimate of the cumulative "up" that would be encountered on the optimum route, with no regard for any "down" along the way. As with course length, the actual climb you encounter will depend on your route choices (and errors).

Course Comments

The Start for the White and Yellow courses is close to the assembly area.

The Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses have a remote Start 2 km from the assembly area, mostly flat on road and trails. Allow 25 minutes to get there.

The Finish for all courses is near the assembly area.

The White course is on roads and well-surfaced trails. It is likely suitable for rugged strollers.

The Yellow course is mostly on trails with some off-trail options. Controls are near, but not typically on trails.

The Orange course is mostly off-trail, but using large features for navigation.

The White, Yellow, and Orange courses visit different areas, so if you have time and energy, enjoy trying a second course (or third?).

The Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses are as technically difficult as possible in this terrain. Almost all off-trail, and sometimes challenging control locations.

Special Requests from the Ranger​—​please be aware of the following, to ensure our future access to the park:

Map and Terrain

The map is 1:10,000 scale with 5 m contours. Most of the area used was updated in 2015.

The terrain is a mix of grassy meadow, fast open forest, and somewhat thicker forest with occasional dense bushes. Green areas on the map are generally less dense than the map implies, although bushy areas have sometimes expanded in extent.

There are areas of star thistle and other spiky vegetation. While not at its most aggressive this early in the season, full leg cover is recommended for all competitors, particularly for advanced courses with substantially off-trail routes.

Poison oak (PO) is widespread, but should not yet be in full growth at the time of the event. It occurs in low-growing and large-bushy forms. Take appropriate precautions, including knowing what it looks like and avoiding it where possible, and washing exposed skin following the event. The Yellow and longer courses may encounter PO, proportional to amount of time spent off-trail.

The Orange and advanced courses may cross gullies that can be deep and steep. In general, the map represents quite well the difficulty of crossing. Gullies with solid brown lines will usually be crossable near the desired route. Where earthbanks are indicated (i.e., by ticks on contour lines), gullies can be harder to cross.

On the advanced courses, clearings are often used as control sites. Distinct clearings are mapped with dotted boundaries on the map, and are typically larger with a more open canopy. Clearings shown on the map as indistinct are smaller, but still evident on the ground.

Any group of two or more trees whose canopies overlap are marked as open forest (white). Some lone trees on the map have fallen. We have updated these near controls. Sometimes newly-fallen trees affect the apparent shape of mapped clearings or forest boundaries. Fallen trees in forested areas have not been mapped.

Boulders over 0.5 m high are usually mapped. In generally rocky areas, only the more prominent rock features may be shown.

We have tried to minimize fence crossings. On most occasions where passing a fence is required, there will be a good route that uses a gate. If crossing is necessary, crawling or rolling under the lowest strand is recommended.

Wildlife: Lots of turkeys and deer have been spotted. You may encounter cows, although they have not been in the courses area during planning. Feral pigs are active in the park, although they are not typically seen during the day.

Driving Directions

Take the Alum Rock exit from I-680 in San Jose. Follow Alum Rock 2.2 miles east (towards the hills), and turn R onto Mt Hamilton Rd. Follow Mt Hamilton Rd 7.6 miles to the park entrance on the right. Be careful to look for bicyclists along twisty Mt. Hamilton Rd. (The main event page has more information about driving options.)

A $6 fee must be paid on entry to the park. Please bring correct change. If the entrance booth is unattended, a ticket machine is located just beyond the booth​—​it accepts credit cards or cash.


There is ample parking adjacent to the assembly area. Follow signs from the park entrance.