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Joseph D. Grant County Park

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 12, 2023
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 650.941.8251
Course Setters: Derek Maclean, Kim van Berkel
Type: B; Standard 7-course event for beginners through advanced; free introductory instruction for beginners

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

March 11th Update

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at Joe Grant tomorrow.
  • Remember to put your clocks forward Saturday night.
  • Bring exact cash change if possible for the $6 park entry fee. There are machines that accept credit cards, but cash will be faster and should help avoid lines at the entrance.
The rains were not as bad as feared this week, and seem to have largely stopped in time for the event. There might be a few showers tomorrow, but there should be excellent conditions for orienteering.
Conditions in the park are not significantly different from last week, so the Course Setter’s Notes posted earlier remain valid (with the additional comments below).
Regarding the Stream Crossings
  1. Near the Start (Orange and advanced courses), the stream remains crossable, but please take care. One at a time, and walk, don’t run. We may make a few modifications to facilitate.
  2. Near the end (advanced courses only): No change from the original notes. The map is accurate in that area, and locations that appear to be suitable for crossing should be OK, with water up to 1 foot deep, less in most sections.
Road Access
The Caltrans website indicates no restrictions on Mt Hamilton Rd, but there is a sign at the bottom indicating Road Closure ahead, and Google Maps suggests using Quimby. Quimby is fine, but we have also been up and down Mt Hamilton Rd, and it is open (no signage on the way down), with only a 100 m one-way section with stop signs where the road has partly washed out.
We are testing three different types of water-resistant paper at this event. The paper is widely used in Europe for top-level orienteering. No map cases are required! We have subjected them to stress testing with no impact to structure or readability. We will appreciate your feedback.
If anyone is available for an early start (~8:30), to check the courses and report any issues, please let us know.
See you there!
– Derek & Steph Maclean ()

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.

Please be aware that there are cows grazing and horses being ridden in the park, which might be in the area of the courses. Keep distance from cows, and never get between a calf and its mother! When encountering horses, slow to a walk and talk to the riders so as not to spook the horses and to let them know you are a human and not a cougar, and to know how the riders want you to proceed.

Be sure to read the Course Setter’s Notes for more information.

The park website is here (

Remember that Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 AM the day of this event (i.e., be sure to “spring forward”).

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! You can read more about orienteering here.


  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 are open for all courses
                  2:00 PM: Courses close, checkpoint control pick-up begins
Note: There is a 10-minute walk to the Start.

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 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 short (10–15 minutes), 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 promptly go to the download table, even if you do not finish 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!

Costs and Registration

The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for each junior on Beginner (White) and Advanced Beginner (Yellow) courses
  $8 for each adult on Beginner and Advanced Beginner courses
  $5 for each junior on Intermediate (Orange) and Advanced (BrownBlue) courses  
$15 for each adult member on Intermediate and Advanced courses
$20 for each adult 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)  
  • At the event, we are able to accept payment only by cash or check​—​no credit cards or 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., an Advanced course after a Beginner course).
  • 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.
  • You can see who is registered here ( (but keep in mind that others will register at the event.

Venue Facilities

The assembly area (E-punch download, registration, snacks, and restrooms) will be at the Stockman’s Group Area (i.e., our standard location). The driving directions are below.

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.

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 as 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 E-punch 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 course statistics are below. Be sure to read the Course Setter’s Notes for more information.

                                             Technical       Physical  
    Course    Distance    Climb   Controls   Difficulty      Difficulty
    White      2.1 km      20 m      10      Beginner        Easiest  
    Yellow     2.9 km     155 m      15      Adv. Beginner   Easy
    Orange     3.9 km     210 m      16      Intermediate    Moderate  
    Brown      3.8 km     185 m      16      Advanced        Moderate  
    Green      4.7 km     245 m      13      Advanced        Challenging
    Red        5.5 km     290 m      16      Advanced        Very Challenging
    Blue       6.7 km     385 m      20      Advanced        Really Challenging

Beginners should be aware that the distances shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. 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. 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).

The Start for all the courses is about 800 m from Registration, along park trails, with minimal climb. Allow 10 minutes to get there.

The Finish for all the courses is adjacent to Registration.

Note: Horses always have the right of way. If you encounter a horse, you must stop running and respond to the rider’s direction.


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 with dishwashing soap or a commercial product such as Tecnu, is recommended to remove the irritant oil. (Note that you can be exposed through clothing, and that stalks without leaves are still a risk.)

Deer ticks are found in this area, and they might carry Lyme disease.

Park Rules

Fence gates must be left closed, except if they are fastened open.

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.

Request for Volunteers

As always, we need volunteers for this event. Please consider volunteering to help in one of the ways below. Even part of a listed session will help!

Please sign up by emailing Stephanie Maclean, the Event Director ().

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.

Carpool Sites

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).