TrailCross: A Trail Run With Some Fun Twists!

Don't worry about missing turns on the course... put yourself in the driver's seat with a marked course map to find 10 to 20 marked checkpoints along the trails of your favorite parks!

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What Makes A TrailCross?

2014 TrailCross Schedule

2013 TrailCross Schedule

Want even more wilderness fun? Check out the BAOC Wilderness Scramble Series.

Note to Event Directors and Course Setters: Be sure to review the Event Planning Checklist for "regular" orienteering events and the TrailCross Series Guidelines.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

Runs in the wilds of beautiful parks. On and off trail. You can take whichever route you think will get you to the checkpoint the fastest. Kinda like the original Dipsea.

Will there be mud?

Yes. There will also be majestic natural landscapes, forests and meadows, wildlife, and views out to the ocean, weather permitting.

Do I need to be an expert navigator?

The better you navigate, the faster you finish. You can cover most of the courses by sticking to trails, but if you figure out the shortcuts, you'll triumph over your less-navigation-savvy friends.

Can I bring my GPS?

GPS is allowed, as are altimeters and any and all additional navigational aids that you desire.

Do you publish the course map in advance?

Each event features a unique course designed just for the occasion; following years will feature mostly or entirely different trails, new checkpoint locations, and possibly even different start/finish locations and an updated map. The course is revealed to the runners at the instant of the start.

Can I follow someone?

Yes. But beware that they might not be taking the best route!

Can my friends and I participate as a team?

Certainly. However, each runner must register individually.

How many aid stations, and what's at them?

At least one or two aid stations on the 10 km and 10 mi courses, plus ample snacks at the Finish. Aid stations & the Finish will feature a variety of treats, including some or all of the following: candy, chips, energy bars or energy gels, pastries, water, sports drink.

Is the distance measured as the crow flies, or along trails?

The published course distance is measured along what the course designer thinks is the optimum route, staying entirely on trails. The winner is most likely to cover a shorter distance, taking a few shortcuts. You might cover slightly less or a lot more, depending on your choices.

Are the courses physically difficult?

We aim for the physical difficulty to be about the same as for well-known trail-run series in the Bay Area. If you can finish a 10-mile run by Coastal or PCTR, you can certainly finish a 10-mile TrailCross.

Will I get lost?

Unlikely. In case you are, find your way to the nearest trail. It's also wise to determine a Safety Bearing before you start your course​—​for instance, "If I just keep going west I will hit a road."

Do I need a compass? What other gear do I need?

Each runner will be given a map at the Start. A recent copy of the map will also be available at check-in.

You should carry a bottle or other container that can fit at least 0.5 liters (a pint) of water. You are required to carry a whistle for emergency signaling; you can get one for free at check-in.

Shoes with good traction will help. Although "proper orienteers" often wear special clothing that can protect them if they intend to bash through unpleasant vegetation, no such bashing is expected at TrailCross. Dress as you would for a trail run, plus perhaps gaiters or calf sleeves to cover your lower legs.

The race is electronically timed. We will have SPORTident electronic tags available; the price of the rental is included in your entry fee. If you own one, you are welcome to bring and use it! A compass is useful, but not necessary. We have compasses to lend, also included in your entry fee.

To cover all bases, you might wish to bring a watch so that you know how fast you are going, some salt tablets (especially if you plan to be out for longer than 3 hours), and a space blanket.

Can I start early or late?

TrailCross is chip-timed. You are welcome to start early if we are ready; please contact the Event Director for the event to find out if that would be possible. You can also start later than the mass start if you have volunteer responsibilities or if the event director is offering it, and if you promise to be back by the course closure time and to meet all aid station cutoff times.

How do I enter?

Registration will be on Event Register ( by Orienteering USA, except that registration for the Golden Gate Park event is here (

Do you give refunds?

Event fees are transferable in full to a future TrailCross event. Unfortunately, we aren't able to give refunds.