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Joseph D. Grant County Park

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 17, 2019
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.878.5073
Course Setters: Derek Maclean, Kim van Berkel
Type: B; Standard seven-course event for beginners through advanced; sanctioned as a 1-day National Ranking Event (NRE)

Please note that fees and time limits apply. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.
The Course Setters' Notes were updated Saturday evening. (March 16th)
In case you've been wondering, the park permit has (finally) been approved! (March 15th)

Everyone is welcomed to attend this popular annual event. We especially love beginners. There will be beginner’s clinics at the event to get you started.

March in the foothills of Mount Hamilton should be perfect conditions for springtime orienteering. The grass will be green, the ground will be soft and ideal for running. Why not join us to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day in the emerald-green foothills near Mt. Hamilton.

The seven normal courses will be offered, with a range to suit all abilities, including complete beginners. Short instruction clinics will be offered periodically in the morning to show beginners the basics.

Please be aware that there are cows grazing and horses being ridden in the park, which might be in the area of the courses. When encountering horses, slow to a walk and talk to the riders so as not to spook the horses and let them know you are a human and not a cougar.

This event will be BAOC's annual single-day National Ranking Event (NRE), which means the results will be counted toward each competitor's Orienteering USA national ranking ( However, that does not mean there will be anything different about the details of the actual event​—​participants of all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, are welcome. (More information about NREs is below.)

Online registration is now closed, but it is not required.

Please consider supporting our Club by volunteering 15 minutes of your time. Help will be needed for various tasks as listed below.

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!


  9:00 AM – 11:59 AM: Registration open
  9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Beginners' clinic instruction (free)
 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM: Starts open
                   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/90KB)).

Note that you can register and start on courses anytime during the open 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.

Note that you must return to the Finish by 2:00, and then go to the download tent, even if you have not finished your course. If there are unaccounted people after 2:00, we must initiate a search for them.

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


BAOC has a new fee structure for 2019. The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for each junior (age 8 through 20) on beginner's (White) and advanced beginner's (Yellow) courses
  $8 for each adult on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
  $5 for each junior on intermediate (Orange) and advanced (Brown, Green, Red, Blue) courses  
$15 for each member on intermediate and advanced courses
$20 for each non-member on 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)  


  • Online registration is now closed. It is not required​—​you can register at the event. Individuals and groups might want to register in advance to simplify check-in at the event. Credit cards are accepted for online registration. (Also, advance registration helps us predict the needed maps.) You can see who has already registered online here (, but note that others will register at the event.
  • At the event, we are able to accept payment only by cash or check​—​no credit cards or electronic payments.
  • There is no charge for a second (or more) course.
  • There is no longer a discount for "additional people" on a team.

More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ. All the prices are also shown on the standard entry form (PDF/90KB), 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.)

In addition to the above costs, there is a $6 per-car park entrance fee. Pay at the entrance kiosk.

What to Bring

For beginners' courses (White and Yellow), comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.

For intermediate (Orange) and advanced (Brown through Blue) courses, leg cover or gaiters are recommended, as well shoes with some extra grip on the sole.

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.)

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 park does not want us serving open containers of food and water at the event. We will have a selection of sealed food items, and some small individual water bottles. However, it would be a good idea to bring your own water and reusable bottle.


All seven regular courses will be available. Here are the final course statistics:

    Course    Distance    Climb  Controls  Stops  Description
    White      3.8 km      70 m     15       1    Beginner   
    Yellow     4.1 km     145 m     18       1    Advanced Beginner
    Orange     3.7 km     190 m     15       1    Intermediate
    Brown      4.3 km     170 m     16       2    Short Advanced
    Green      5.6 km     255 m     15       3    Intermediate Advanced
    Red        6.6 km     310 m     21       4    Long Advanced
    Blue       7.8 km     385 m     23       4    Extra-long Advanced

Beginners should be aware that the course lengths shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer. For a rough estimate of how far you will actually go, mentally change "km" to "mi" (e.g., for a "2.3 km" course, you might travel about "2.3 mi"). 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.

There is an 800 m walk, along a flat trail, from registration to the Start location​. Allow 10–15 minutes to get there.

Be sure to read the Course Setters' Notes for more information. They were updated Saturday evening!


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).

Deer ticks are found in this area and may carry Lyme disease.

Park Rules

All fence gates must be left as they were found.

Please note that horses always have the right of way. If you encounter equestrians while running on a multi-use trail or road, please walk until you are clear of the horses. A startled horse could throw and injure the rider. Also be careful not to jump onto a trail when horses are nearby.

National Ranking Event

We've received approval from Orienteering USA to have the results of this event count towards national rankings. This is under a new program, begun in 2017, where each U.S. club gets to have one "free" National Ranking event per year. ("Free" means no additional sanctioning fees are due to OUSA, not free for participants. 😉)

This event will be just like the other high-quality local events we've held at Joe Grant in years past. In particular, entry fees will be exactly the same as for any of our other standard local BAOC events. Hours, registration, starts​—​everything will be just as for any of our standard local events. The only difference will be that everyone gets a chance to have a day that counts towards national rankings. There's no reason for anyone to shy away from this event.

You can see the national rankings here ( You receive a ranking score for each day you participate in a national ranking event (e.g., like Joe Grant, or the upcoming GCO event at Deer Creek Hills ( Your overall ranking score is the average of your four highest scores in the preceding 12 months. So, Joe Grant will give you an opportunity to improve your ranking, or, if you don't have four ranking days already, to get closer to the four needed to qualify officially.

(Anyone interested in the Orienteering USA philosophy regarding National Events can read about it here (

Request for Volunteers

As always, we need volunteers for this event. Please consider volunteering to help in one of the ways below.

Please send email to if you can help.

Driving Directions

The approximate coordinates for the assembly area are 37.3357,–121.7159.

To reach the park, take I-680 to the Alum Rock Avenue exit in San Jose. (From southbound Hwy 101, it's easiest to go past Alum Rock Ave, exit onto I-680, and then exit to Alum Rock Ave.) Head east on Alum Rock to Mt. Hamilton Road. Take a right onto Mt. Hamilton Rd and proceed about 7.5 miles to the park entrance on your right. Be careful to look for bicyclists along twisty Mt. Hamilton Rd.

Here's an alternative route choice (after all, orienteering is all about route choice): Quimby Road is believed to be faster, with a shorter (but steeper) windy road, than Mt. Hamilton Rd from Alum Rock. Some people (and Google Maps) recommend this route even for those coming from the north on I-280 or Hwy 101. In that case, from 101 South exit at Tully Rd, and head east (toward the hills). Turn right onto Quimby Rd (just before East Ridge Shopping Center); take this up and over the hill until it meets Mt Hamilton Road. Turn right and go a few hundred meters to the park entrance on your right.

From the south, coming up 101, take the Capitol Expy exit and head east (toward the hills). Go about 1.5 miles, turn right onto Quimby Road, and follow the directions just above.

At the park entrance, pay the $6 park entry fee (if the entrance booth is unattended, use the ticket machine, which accepts credit cards or cash), and go about 0.6 miles to the parking area designated by the O' signs.

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

Carpool Site

People sometimes meet at the junction of Alum Rock Ave and Mt. Hamilton Rd, where there is plenty of parking. That might seem so near the park as to not be helpful, but it does save the twisty drive up Mt. Hamilton Rd, and the park entrance fee for the cars that are left below.

Similarly, people taking the Quimby Rd route could meet at East Ridge Shopping Center (at Tully and Quimby).