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Vasona Lake County Park

Event #5 of 6 in the BAOC 2022 Summer Series

Date: (Sun.) Aug. 14, 2022
Location: Los Gatos, CA
Event Director: - 415.456.8118
Course Setter: Taylor Pospisil
Type: C; This is the fifth event of the 2022 Summer Series. Beginners are welcome!

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

August 11th Update

The courses are complete, the maps are printed, the permit is in hand, and the weather should be gorgeous!
Please plan on coming out and enjoying this picturesque park.
I could still use one or two more helpers for starts and clinics. Please let me know if you can spare an hour or two.
One sad note: the Park won't let us provide food or drink, so please bring your own refreshments. There will be water, and the bathrooms are nearby, but no after-course snacks will be available.
Hope to see you on Sunday!
– Scott Aster, Event Director ()

For the fifth event in the 2022 Summer Series, we are pleased to present the second event on Bob Cooley’s recently updated Vasona Park map, now mapped to the ISSOM standard.¹ Check out what has changed at the park over the past few years. We have put together three courses that will be fun for beginners to try and for advanced orienteers to cruise through at Sprint pace.

Note: Everyone will be welcome at this event, even if they have not attended any of the previous events in the Summer Series. In particular, beginners are encouraged to attend this event to learn what orienteering is about.

You can see information about Vasona Lake Park on its website ( Lake Vasona and its neighbor, Oak Meadow Park, have many things to do to keep you there all day. There’s a boat launch where you can rent kayaks, pedal boats, and more. There’s a miniature train that runs around the park, and a carousel.

Club members: Please see the request for volunteers below. 😉

Making the case for advanced orienteers to attend this event:
I want to make the case that the Short and Long courses should be excellent choices for advanced orienteers.
First of all, we will be using a new map made by Bob Cooley. Vasona has undergone considerable change over the past several years, so a new map was needed. It’s always exciting to run on a new map! (Note that the new map is an ISSOM map​—​that is, it uses the set of symbols designed for Sprint Orienteering. Those symbols differ from the set used for forest orienteering, including the way roads, paved paths, fences and walls are represented. If you are not familiar with the Sprint Orienteering symbol set, you can acclimate yourself with this document (PDF/600KB).)
While Vasona does not present much in the way of complex contour detail, there are many, many objects in the park (natural and human-made), so detailed map reading is required. Keep in mind that Sprint courses by design have control placements at the Yellow/Orange level. I have not seen the courses nor the new map, but I am looking forward to the challenge presented by high-speed running on a map with many details.
Hope to see you at the event! Vasona is a lovely park with a big lake and views of the mountains.
Dennis Wildfogel [Written for the 2019 event; updated here]  

What is Orienteering?

An adventure! Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! Teams of 1 to 5 find checkpoints in wilderness venues or urban areas using specially-produced maps.


The standard BAOC event schedule will be followed:

    9:00 AM – 11:59 AM: Registration open
    9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Beginner clinic instruction (free)
  10:00 AM – 12:30 PM: Starts are open for all courses
                    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/12KB)).

Note that you can register and start on the 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).

Beginner clinics are 15–20 minute, 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 PM, and then go to the download tent, even if you have not finished your course. Please do not leave without checking in! If there are unaccounted people after 2:00, we must initiate a search for them.

Registration and Costs

The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for each junior on the Beginner course
  $8 for each adult on the Beginner course
  $5 for each junior on the Short or Long course  
$15 for each adult member on the Short or Long course
$20 for each adult non-member on the Short or Long course
  $1 for a compass rental (optional)  
  $5 for an electronic fingerstick rental (optional, but each team will need one to complete the course)
$15 for the lowest-cost individual one-year BAOC membership (optional)  

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

  • You can register at the event or online before the event (see below).
  • At the event, we can accept payment by cash or check (but no electronic payments).
  • Juniors are age 8 through 20 (under age 8 is free).
  • There is no charge for a second course (but you must end up paying for the more expensive course​—​i.e., advanced after beginner).
  • Members of other orienteering clubs can pay the “member” fee. (We hope your club would do the same for our members. 🙂)

More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ. All the prices are also shown on the standard entry form (PDF/12KB), 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.)

Optional Online Registration

Online registration has closed, but you can still register at the event.

  • Online registration is not required​—​you can register at the event. Individuals might want to register in advance to simplify check-in at the event.
  • You can see who is registered here ( (but keep in mind that others will register at the event and through the Summer Series Discount Package).

What to Bring

Comfortable outdoors attire and walking shoes are fine for those who will walk their course.

For runners, any comfortable running shoes (without metal spikes) are appropriate. The courses will include lots of pavement and concrete, and some off-trail legs. Because this is an open park, leg cover or gaiters are not necessary.

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(s).

Location Within the Park

We hope to be allowed to post direction signs, but in any case, registration, starts, and finishes will be at the Blossom Valley Group Area, which is the second picnic area on the right after you enter Vasona Lake Park. (The approximate coordinates are 37.2360,-121.9710.). There should be a large BAOC club banner visible at the assembly area.

After you enter the park and go past the entrance kiosk, stay on the road about 300 meters. The parking lot will be on the right, just after the Group Area. (This is not the same place as the last event we held at Vasona [though fairly close to it].) A map of the park is available here (1.8MB PDF) (


Here are the course details. All the courses have minimal climb, less than 50 meters.

    Course    Distance   Controls
    White      1.7 km       12  
    Short      2.8 km       12  
    Long       5.2 km       21

Beginners should be aware that the lengths shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. The climb number represents the amount of ascending that would be done on the “optimum route” (in the Course Setter’s opinion), without regard for any descending. Because you won’t travel in straight lines, and might not follow the optimum routes, your actual distance and climb will be somewhat more than what is shown above, and will depend on your route choices (and any errors you make).
Keep in mind that you can earn Summer Series points from the first course you run at the event, and only if it’s one of the ranking courses. That is, you will not earn points if you run the Beginner course first and then one of the ranking courses.

Course Setter’s Comments

The map scale is 1:4000. The contour interval is 2 meters.

There is construction on the southwestern side of the park​—​this area is not accessible. To transition from the west section of the map to the southwest section requires crossing the bridges.

Crossing the river is not allowed, except on bridges.

Be aware of vehicles on the main road through the park.

There is a small amount of poison oak in the park, although you will not need to go through it. Please be familiar with the appearance of this three-leafed plant.

Gaiters are not needed.

Request for Volunteers

We need a few people to help set up, do beginner clinics, and staff the Start.

This is a great venue for people just starting out in orienteering, and we want enough people to give them a great experience.

If you can help, please contact Scott Aster, the Event Director ().

Driving Directions

The approximate coordinates of the park entrance are 37.2345,-121.9729. The address of the park is 333 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos.

To get to Vasona Lake, take Highway 17 South from San Jose. Exit at Lark Avenue and turn left (east, over the highway at the light). At the first traffic light, turn right (south) onto Los Gatos Boulevard. Turn right again (west) at a traffic light onto Blossom Hill Road. After crossing over Highway 17 again, the park entrance will be on your right.

There is a $6 park fee per car, which you pay at a kiosk. The machine accepts credit cards.

After paying the entry fee, follow the directional signs on the park roads to Blossom Valley Group Area (see above). It will be the second picnic area on the right. (The approximate coordinates are 37.2360,-121.9710.)

Please be careful driving on the park roads. In addition to orienteers, there could be many other park visitors.


¹ ISSOM = International Specification for Sprint Orienteering Maps (which is available here (PDF/284KB)). A newer edition of the Specification (ISSprOM 2019-2) is available here (PDF/1.2MB)). A one-page list of Sprint-map symbols is available here (PDF/600KB).