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Calero County Park

Date: (Sun.) Apr. 2, 2023
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.688.4482
Course Setter: Rich Parker
Type: A; Standard, Classic-distance event for beginners through advanced orienteers; this will be our annual, 1-day, National Ranking Event (NRE) with standard fees (i.e., not normal NRE fees)

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

The following items were found at the recent Joe Grant event: a pair of glasses (they look like they could even have been lost at last year’s event!), and a nice compass. Contact Stephanie Maclean () if they are yours, and she will take them to Calero on Sunday.

This will be a standard Classic-distance event with 8 courses for beginners through advanced orienteers.

Spring is in full bloom at Calero, and it’s gorgeous out there: trees and bushes leafing out, all kinds of flowers appearing, and lots of birds and animals around. It’s a lovely park to visit any time of year, but it’s especially nice now, with everything so fresh and green. This scene provides an example:

2023 Calero Scene

This year, we will have the added “treat” of this being the club’s annual, 1-day, “free” National Ranking Event (NRE). Note, however, that this does not mean the courses will be more difficult than at our normal events. The differences from a normal event are that people will be able to earn national ranking points ( so this event will count toward the four events needed to have a national ranking.

(Don’t get too excited. “Free” in this case means free of the normal, elevated NRE fees. Our normal fees will apply.)
Note: Since this event will be an NRE, Calero County Park is embargoed until the competition is finished. Per OUSA competition rules ( (section A.7.4), any attempt to survey or train in the competition terrain is forbidden. Individuals or groups visiting Calero, while embargoed, can still participate in the event, but are not eligible for competition results or rankings.
OUSA has approved the NRE sanctioning and named a course consultant for the event.
There will be three additional NREs in the Bay Area as part of CalOFest ( (which starts July 17, 2023), so the Calero event is your chance to collect four NREs without ever traveling outside the Bay Area. (Four NREs within a 12-month period are required for an OUSA National Ranking.)

Comments from the Course Setter:

Spring is in full bloom now at Calero. It’s gorgeous out there: trees and bushes leafing out, all kinds of flowers appearing, and lots of birds and animals around. It’s a lovely park to visit any time of year, but it’s especially nice now, with everything so fresh and green. This is an excellent opportunity to come out and enjoy a great venue and some really good courses (written modestly by the course setter 😉).
Please, please read the Course Setter’s Notes! They contain a great deal of important information, which you should definitely be aware of if you might be considering joining us for this event. This is important; I cannot emphasize this enough. Orienteers who have not read these Notes could seriously jeopardize our ability to hold events at Calero in the future.

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.

COVID-19 Precautions

Please be mindful that COVID-19 is still with us. Please observe the following:

We will monitor any relevant regulations from Santa Clara County or the park administration, and announce them here if they impact our event.


    9:00 AM – 11:59 AM: Registration open
    9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Beginner clinics 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 1.2 km walk (100 m climb) to the Start, which is shared for all the courses. It should take around 20–30 minutes at a walking pace to get there.

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 Beginners (White) course.

Note: At "normal" events, beginners are given their White- or Yellow-course maps at registration, and beginner clinics use the White-course map during the discussion. However, since this is an NRE event, we will not hand out maps for beginners at registration ​—​ maps will be available only at the Start for all classes/courses. Beginner Clinics will use old Calero maps. We will not collect maps at the Finish but ask people not to share their maps with those that have yet to start.

Note that you must return to the Finish by 2:00 PM, and then promptly 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.

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 member on Intermediate and Advanced courses
$20 for each non-member on Intermediate and Advanced courses
  $1 for a compass rental (optional)  
  $5 for an E-punch fingerstick rental (if you don’t own one; each group will need one to complete their course)
$15 (and up) for one-year BAOC membership (optional)  

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.)

  • You can register at the event, or possibly 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​—​e.g., Intermediate after Beginner).
  • Members of other orienteering clubs can pay the “member” fee. (We hope your club would do the same for our members. 🙂)

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 (registration, E-punch download, and toilets) will be at the McKean Entrance picnic area (i.e., our standard location). The driving directions are below.

Picnic tables, piped water, and portable toilets are available, so please feel free to bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy after you finish your course.

Note: The park will not let us serve food or water at the event. So, bring any snacks you will want to eat after your run. You can either bring your own water or fill your water bottle from the taps.

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.)


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

    Course   Length   Climb    Controls  Map Scale  Navigational      OUSA Winning-Time
              (km)   (m)  (%)                       Difficulty         Guideline (min) 
    White     3.0    135  4.5     12     1:7,500    Beginner               20 – 30  
    Yellow    3.0    115  3.8     12     1:7,500    Advanced Beginner      25 – 40
    Orange    3.3    140  4.2     11     1:7,500    Intermediate           35 – 50  
    Brown-Y   2.5     80  3.2      8     1:7,500    Advanced               40 – 50  
    Brown-X   3.1    100  3.2      8     1:7,500    Advanced               40 – 50
    Green     4.5    165  3.7     12     1:10,000   Advanced               45 – 55
    Red       5.8    290  5.0     13     1:10,000   Advanced               60 – 75
    Blue      7.4    375  5.1     16     1:10,000   Advanced               70 – 80

There is a 1.2 km walk (100 m climb) to the Start, which is shared for all the courses. It should take around 20–30 minutes at a walking pace to get there.
Beginners should be aware that the lengths 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).
At "normal" events, beginners are given their White- or Yellow-course maps at registration, and beginner clinics use the White-course map during the discussion. However, since this is an NRE event, we will not hand out maps for beginners at registration​—​maps will be available only at the Start for all the courses. Beginner clinics will use maps from a previous Calero event.
At "normal" NRE events, maps are collected from finishers up to the time of the last starter (i.e., to prevent a late starter from being able to see a map before starting). At this event, however, we will not collect maps at the Finish​—​we will ask people not to share their maps with those who have yet to start.
If you are entering as an individual, and want to receive national ranking points at this event, we need to know your birth year (not month and day). If you did not register online (which asks for your birth year), please tell the people at on-site registration.
The event results will be published by course and by age/gender class (see below). The by-course results will include everyone that ran the course, both competitive (ranked) and recreational, which will give you a chance to compare your result with everyone else on your course.

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

Competition Classes

The competition classes for National Ranking Events are defined in section in the OUSA competition rules ( Here is a summary of the classes and their official course assignments:

White: F–10, F–12, M–10, M–12, M/F-White
Yellow: F–14, F-Yellow, M–14, M-Yellow
Orange: F–16, F-Orange, M–16, M-Orange
Brown-X: F–18, F55+, F60+, F65+, F-Brown, M65+, M70+, M75+, M-Brown
Brown-Y: F70+, F75+, F80+, F85+, F90+, M80+, M85+, M90+
Green: F–20, F35+, F40+, F45+, F50+, F-Green, M–18, M50+, M55+, M60+, M-Green
Red: F–21+, M–20, M35+, M40+, M45+, M-Red
Blue: M–21+
A minus sign [–] before an age means that age “and younger”. A plus sign [+] after an age means “and older”. Gender classes contain “M” for male and “F” for female. Classes containing the course color are open to any age. The M/F-White class is open to any age or gender [but does not earn ranking points].
The M80+ class might be assigned to the Brown-X course at this event. The F-Brown and M-Brown classes are normally assigned to the Brown-Y course.
Ranking points are not awarded for a course that has fewer than five successful finishers (three for White and Yellow courses).

Park Rules

Did we mention 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

We still need volunteers to help run the event. I’m looking for pre-runners for the Advanced courses, and a team for control pickup. Additional help with setup and cleanup will be appreciated as well. All volunteers will be able to participate in the event.

Here’s what the volunteer schedule looks like as of Friday afternoon, March 31:

Please let me know if you are willing to help.

Tapio ()

Driving Directions

The event assembly area is at the usual McKean Entrance picnic area in Calero County Park (i.e., not at the boat ramp). Because everyone uses GPS for driving directions these days, we will only have one orange/white orienteering directional sign at the junction of McKean Road and the park entrance, about a half mile SE of the Bailey Road junction and about 1.3 miles SE of the Calero Reservoir Boat Launch. For GPS navigation, the address is 23205 McKean Road, San Jose. (The approximate coordinates are 37.1749,-121.7611.)

From the Peninsula, take Highway 85 south to Almaden Expressway. Head south 5 miles to the end of the road. Turn right onto Harry, and then immediately left onto McKean. The main park entrance is 5 miles south on McKean. Go past the boat ramp, and turn instead at the entrance marked "Calero County Park; Park Office; Equestrian Center; All Trailheads".

From the East Bay, take Highway 101 south past San Jose and exit at Bailey Ave. After 3.2 miles west, Bailey ends at McKean. Turn left and go south 0.7 miles to the park entrance.

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There’s a large parking lot next to registration.

Please do not park in the back of the lot​—​i.e., the part farthest from the road. Horse trailers park there, and we need to give them plenty of room to maneuver.