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Indian Valley College

Date: (Sun.) May. 5, 2024
Location: Novato, CA
Event Director: - 415.895.6039
Course Setter: Petra Sundstrom
Type: B; Orienteering returns to the verdant hills around the Indian Valley College campus after a 7-year hiatus, with a new map; there will be the standard 7 courses (White through Blue); free introductory instruction for beginners, who are very welcome

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

Welcome to orienteering at Indian Valley College on Sunday, May 5. BAOC has held orienteering events at Indian Valley for around 30 years, starting back in the days when we still used punch cards and we had to make our own map corrections (on the clock!). The College of Marin more recently launched a multi-year major reconstruction project at their Indian Valley campus, and then COVID intervened. As a result, BAOC has taken an eight-year hiatus. But construction is now (mostly) complete, we have a new map thanks to Bill Cusworth, and we are returning to this lovely venue in 2024.

Important Notes:
  • Registration and E-punch will be at a new location this year. See the description below.
  • Highway 37 will be closed to east-bound traffic because of repaving. This should not affect anyone coming to the event Sunday morning, but might impact you when leaving if you are returning to Vallejo/Sacramento or possibly to the East Bay.
Highway 37 Update: The road will not be closed this weekend after all.
Comments from the Event Director (May 1, 2024)
I spent the morning today vetting at Indian Valley. There are loads of wildflowers abloom, lupine of course, but many other varieties as well. In the meadows, the grass can be somewhat long, but it is still green and not “stickery” yet. I saw rabbits, deer (including a new-born fawn), turkeys, squirrels, lots of lizards. In the steep southern hills, contouring can be difficult, but finding and following animal trails makes a huge difference.
The latest weather forecast for Indian Valley on Sunday is sunny, with a high temperature of 63°F.
Indian Valley is magical this time of year. I hope everyone has a chance to experience it.

The course setter, Petra Sundstrom, is new to BAOC, but not to orienteering. She is an accomplished orienteer from Sweden. She has been in the USA with her family for over two years, and loves the change. Petra has designed the traditional seven courses — White through Blue (but no Silver). Course lengths and climbs (and more) are in the Course Setter’s Notes, which you should make sure to read.

The mapped area has the college campus in the center, which is mostly flat but with a network of deep ravines. To the south is an area of typically steep and wooded Bay Area hills with few trails, while to the north are gentler hills interspersed with meadows and a trail network. Spring flowers are out! Poison oak is abundant in places, but the courses avoid the worst of it.

Please consider volunteering to help at the event. No matter what your skill set or experience, we can use you! We need somebody to help at late starts, an additional person for beginner clinics, and more people are needed for control pickup. See below for more information.

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 is open
  9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Beginner-clinic instruction is available (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 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 (15–20 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! For beginners, this is a good time to ask questions.

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)  
  • You can register at the event or online before the event (see below).
  • At the event, we can accept payment by cash, check, or credit/debit card (but no electronic payments — e.g., PayPal, Venmo).
  • 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., the Intermediate course or 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).

Location at the College

Registration and E-punch will not be at the "normal" spot, adjacent to the old college swimming pool. Instead, they will be next to the "FARM", which is a big, red building with the word "FARM" on it in big letters. The building is next to the ball fields, and close to the end of Parking Lot 6 (look for BAOC directional signs).

Both the Start and the Finish are short, level walks from Registration/Epunch. The driving directions are below.

Venue Facilities

There will be an open bathroom near Registration, with an outdoor water fountain.

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

    Course    Length    Climb  Controls  Navigation
    White     2.6 km     90 m     10     Beginner      
    Yellow    2.9 km    120 m     10     Advanced Beginner
    Orange    4.2 km    185 m     12     Intermediate  
    Brown     3.7 km    190 m     12     Advanced      
    Green     4.4 km    260 m     14     Advanced
    Red       5.6 km    235 m     12     Advanced
    Blue      6.8 km    290 m     13     Advanced

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 Setters' 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 and Finish for all the courses are short walks from Registration.


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. So, please be sure to check yourself carefully after the event.

Volunteers Needed

As always, we need volunteers for this event. Please consider volunteering — we have these positions available: early setup, beginner clinics (1 more person needed), starts (1 person for late shift), and control pickup. No experience is necessary for any of the tasks — just send email to Gary Kraght, the Event Director ().

Driving Directions

Note: We will be parking at a different lot than in the past.

To get to the Indian Valley campus, take Highway 101 through Marin County to southern Novato, and exit at Ignacio Blvd (exit 459 or 459B).

Note: For people coming from Highway 37 to Highway 101, Ignacio Blvd is one exit to the south of the 37/101 interchange.

Coming from the south, you will turn left onto Nave Dr, then left onto Ignacio Blvd.

Go west on Ignacio Blvd as far as you can go, where it terminates at the College of Marin Indian Valley campus entrance. Follow the campus road to its end, and park in Parking Lot 6 (approximate coordinates 38.07677,-122.58272), with overflow parking in nearby Lot 5.

Note: There are signs about parking fees, but they do not apply on Sunday.