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Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park

Date: (Sun.) Jan. 28, 2024
Location: Gilroy, CA
Event Director: - 650.906.9672
Course Setters: Theo Verhoeven, Tom de Vre
Type: B; Standard 7-course event for beginners through advanced; back at the Coyote Lake side of the park as in previous years; beginners are welcome and can learn about orienteering at free Beginner Clinics

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

January 26th Update

This Sunday, we will be welcoming over 50 Navy JROTC cadets from four high schools at Coyote Lake. They are holding their own event within our event. The only things that will look different is that the cadets will have bib numbers, and will have a start queue next to, but separate from ours. As you approach the Start banner, Cadet starts will be on the left, club starts on the right. Starts will be staggered so that we won't have two people going out on the same course at the same time.
I am still looking for a person to staff the club start from 11–12:30, and more help with control pickup.
Thanks, Nick ()

Everyone is welcome to attend this event. We especially love beginners. There will be beginners clinics at the event to get you started.

Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch is a beautiful wilderness park near Gilroy with some wonderful views. In January the park will be green and lush. The terrain is typical oak woodland. It is interesting and somewhat steep. Course designers Theo Verhoeven and Tom de Vre will set the standard seven courses.

The conditions in the park are perfect: emerald green hills, soft footing, and breathtaking views.

Important Note
We will not be using the parking lot at Harvey Bear Ranch (off of San Martin Avenue) that we used for the 2022 event. Instead, we will park at the boat launch accessed from the “Coyote Lake” entrance to the park (which we used in previous years). Driving directions are below.

The park’s website is here (

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 open
                   2:00 PM: Courses close, checkpoint control pick-up begins
Note: At registration, all juniors (under age 21) must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or bring with them a waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian (the registration form is available here [12KB PDF]).

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 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: Beginners are given their White- or Yellow-course maps at registration. You should get your map before joining a beginner clinic.

Note that everyone must return to the Finish by 2:00 PM, and then promptly go to the download tent, even if they have not finished their course. Please do not leave without checking in! 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! Beginners should use this opportunity to ask any questions they have.

Costs and Registration

The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for each junior on Beginners (White) and Advanced Beginners (Yellow) courses
  $8 for each adult on Beginners and Advanced Beginners 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 (optional, but each team will need one to complete the course)
$15 for the lowest-cost individual one-year BAOC membership (optional)  
  • Individual entrants can register at the event or online before the event (see below).
  • Groups going on a course together must register at the event. (The online registration system can’t deal with groups. 🙁)
  • At the event, we can accept payment by only cash or check. We will not be able to accept credit/debit cards (or electronic payments — e.g., PayPal, Venmo) at this event.
  • 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., Intermediate or Advanced after Beginner).
  • Members of other orienteering clubs can pay the “member” fee. (We hope your club would do the same for our members. 🙂)

Note: In addition to the above costs, there is a $6 per-car park entrance fee. Pay at the entrance kiosk (cash or credit cards accepted). If paying with cash, please try to bring exact change.

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).

Park Rules

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.

Venue Facilities

The assembly area (registration and E-punch) are on the south side of the parking lot. The driving directions are below.

There are restrooms in the parking lot, and a few picnic tables down by the lake. Water fountains are available in the parking area.

Cell phone service is spotty at best, but there is a pay phone(!) behind the restrooms, for outgoing calls only.


Please bring your own lunch and beverages. Due to park restrictions, we will not serve snacks at this event.

What to Bring

For the beginner 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 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 standard set of courses, from beginner to advanced, will be available at this event. The course details are below.

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

    Course   Length      Climb    Controls  Stops  Navigation    Map Scale   Map Size
    White    2.4 km   115 m  4.8%    11       0    Beginner       1:7,500    8½"x11"  
    Yellow   3.2 km    75 m  2.3%     9       0    Adv. Beginner  1:7,500    8½"x11"
    Orange   3.8 km   195 m  5.1%    14       1    Intermediate   1:7,500    8½"x11"  
    Brown    3.4 km   130 m  3.8%    11       1    Advanced       1:7,500    8½"x11"  
    Green    4.4 km   215 m  4.9%    13       2    Advanced       1:10,000   8½"x11"
    Red      6.1 km   310 m  5.1%    14       2    Advanced       1:10,000   8½"x11"
    Blue     8.0 km   410 m  5.1%    18       3    Advanced       1:10,000   11"x17"

  • The Start for all the courses is about 0.5 km (with 40 m climb) from the assembly area. Please follow the streamers to the Start area.
  • Maps for the Beginner courses (White and Yellow) are given out at registration, and can be looked at before starting the course.
  • Maps for the Intermediate course (Orange) and Advanced courses (Brown through Blue) are provided at the Start, and must not be looked at before starting the course.
  • Beginners should be aware that the course lengths shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer, even if you don't make any errors. The climb numbers represent the amount of ascending that would be done on the "optimum route" (in the Course Setters’ opinion), without regard for any descending.
  • NJROTC courses: Intermediate Female and Male run the Yellow course; JV Female and Male run the Orange course; Varsity Female and Male run the Brown Course.

The map contour interval is 5 m. Note that the magnetic-north lines on all the maps are not parallel to the edge of the paper — they are at approximately a 15° angle.

The White course is a bit longer than usual, because there are not many available trails. But the Start is within a few minutes walk from the registration area.


Deer ticks are found in this area and may carry Lyme disease. For prevention and treatment of tick bites, see this webpage (

For participants on the intermediate and advanced courses, the park has some poison oak which you will want to avoid. It looks like this when it has leaves. 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.)

In some areas of the park, and for all the intermediate and advanced courses, you will go through terrain with scattered small rocks that can cause a fall or twisted ankle if one is not paying attention or is going at very high speeds.

Most of the wildlife, such as wild pigs, turkeys and deer, that roam these hillsides will not pose a problem, as they will most likely run away when they hear or see you. There are also cows that graze in this park, so please run around groups of cows as to not startle them (and never get between a calf and its mother!).

Request for Volunteers

Here is a list of volunteer tasks we are seeking to fill in order to produce this event.

Set-up: 8:30–9:30
Beginner Clinics: 9:30–10:30
Starts: 2 shifts, 9:30–11:00 and 11:00–12:30
Breakdown: 1:30–2:30
Control Pickup: after 2:00

All volunteers will be able to run a course!

By volunteering you will alleviate the amount of time and effort expended by the other volunteers who are working to make this event a success. Please do not be shy — email Event Director Nick Corsano () today.

Your help will be appreciated.

Driving Directions

The event headquarters will be at the boat launch accessed from the "Coyote Lake" entrance to the park. Do not go to the "Harvey Bear Ranch" entrance to the park — that is, do not go to where we were in 2022!

The approximate coordinates are 37.0926,-121.5425.

From San Jose, go south on highway 101. Allow at least 50 minutes from the junction of 101-280-680. Take exit 357, Leavesley Road/CA-152W (which is before the CA-152E exit), and go east on Leavesley Rd 1.8 miles. Turn left onto New Avenue, and go 0.6 miles to Roop Rd. Turn right onto Roop Rd.

Alternative: You can save about 2 miles (but possibly not much time) by exiting 101 at San Martin Avenue, heading east, following it around the bends until it becomes New Avenue, and going south to the junction with Roop Rd. Turn left onto Roop Rd.

Go 3.2 miles to Coyote Reservoir Rd and the park entrance. (Note: At approximately 2.8 miles along Roop Rd there is an entrance on the left​—​do not take that entrance​—​instead, continue on to Coyote Reservoir Rd.) Once you turn onto Coyote Reservoir Rd, go 1 mile to the entrance kiosk. Pay the $6 entrance fee (by cash or credit card), and then continue 1.3 miles on the main road toward the boat launch parking area.

Parking is in the boat launch parking area. The parking spaces are designed for vehicles with boat trailers. There will not be any boat trailers present, so please park two cars in each of these parking spaces.