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Calero County Park

Date: (Sun.) Feb. 11, 2024
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 707.567.3496
Course Setter: John Richardson
Type: B; Standard, 7-course, Classic-distance event for beginners through advanced orienteers; beginners are welcome and can learn about orienteering at free Beginner Clinics (unlike last year, this will NOT be a National Ranking Event [NRE])

Course Setters’ Notes

By John Richardson


Welcome to this year’s orienteering event at Calero County Park! The park covers a large expanse of hilly terrain with a mix of grassland and deciduous forest typical of the local area. The park is scenic and highly runnable at this time of year, making it the perfect venue for the second BAOC event of the year. We are lucky to have a fantastic new map, the fruit of many weeks of work by Misha Kreslavsky. A wide range of courses is available across seven levels of navigational and physical difficulty.

This year’s courses have relatively moderate climb for Calero. That is partly because the less-steep parts of the park can now be used for more technically interesting legs thanks to the freshness and level of detail of the new map.

The assembly area is the trailhead parking lot at the usual McKean entrance (coordinates: 37.1749,-121.7611). There is a walk of roughly 1 km (60 m climb) to the Start; expect it to take around 15 minutes at walking pace. The Finish is a 5-minute walk to the assembly area.

Please follow the marked route to the Start. If you are aware of the “shortcut” that was used for previous events, please do not take it. Ignoring this guidance could jeopardize our ability to continue using the park.

Due to park restrictions, no water will be provided at the registration area or on the courses. Please bring any refreshments that you will need.

Note that there are many streamers around the park that have nothing to do with the courses, even though they might be near the control sites; it’s best to ignore them.


We are offering the usual seven color-coded courses, as follows:

White (Beginner): This course is entirely on trails and suitable for new orienteers. There is some moderate climb in the first section, then the route becomes flat or downhill all the way to the Finish.
Yellow (Advanced Beginner): Most controls are off-trail but can be approached easily from nearby trails. Suitable for adult beginners and orienteers who have completed a White course.
Orange (Intermediate): This course starts off at Yellow difficulty, and builds up to require more off-trail navigation skills. It will be helpful to take compass bearings and check vegetation/contour features to be confident of distance traveled.
Brown (Advanced): This course is designed to maximize technical difficulty while avoiding steep sections. It invites common errors and will test the full toolkit of navigational techniques!
Green & Red (Advanced): Similar to Brown in difficulty, but with considerably more distance and climb, allowing for some longer legs emphasizing route choice.
Blue (Advanced): The most physically challenging course. There is a loop that visits the same control twice — make sure to punch it both times.

The course details are as follows:

    Course   Distance     Climb     Controls  Map Scale  Navigation
    White     3.1 km    80 m  2.6%     10      1:7,500   Beginner  
    Yellow    3.0 km   105 m  3.5%     10      1:7,500   Adv. Beginner
    Orange    3.2 km   185 m  5.8%     10      1:7,500   Intermediate  
    Brown     2.9 km   145 m  5.0%     10      1:7,500   Advanced  
    Green     4.8 km   230 m  4.8%     11     1:10,000   Advanced
    Red       6.3 km   320 m  5.1%     12     1:10,000   Advanced
    Blue      7.3 km   355 m  4.9%     17     1:10,000   Advanced

Beginners should be aware that the course 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).


Misha has completely recrafted the map, and it is worth coming to the event just to feast your eyes on it. 😊 In particular, the following major improvements have been made:

The main exception to standards is that there are a couple of marked boulders that are smaller than the generally accepted minimum size of 1 m. All boulders used as control locations have approximate heights (in meters) in the descriptions.

Streams are mostly dry. The “small watercourse” symbol is used both on the map and in control descriptions for improved readability, but in practice these are closer to small gullies.

Maps are printed at 1:7,500 scale for the White, Yellow, Orange, and Brown courses; the Green, Red, and Blue courses are printed at 1:10,000 scale. The map paper is not waterproof, but plastic map cases will be provided as needed. There are no legends printed on the maps, but they will be available at Beginner Clinics. Separate control-description sheets will be available at the Start.


The courses do not venture into the steepest parts of the park. However this is still Calero, and so it is advisable to prepare for some steep sections, particularly on Green, Red, and Blue. There may also be soft and slippery ground from recent rainfall, so cleated shoes or hiking boots are highly recommended. Beware of rocky patches that can also be wet and slippery.

There is some poison oak, mostly only in areas with light/dark green coloring, but it is still very young and low to the ground. Long pants and/or gaiters are recommended for the advanced courses. You will not be surprised to hear that there are plenty of burrs/stickers/grasses to enjoy picking out from your socks after the event.

The park is currently closed to horses and bikes, but just in case you see any, make sure to give way and pass horses carefully.

The park is home to plenty of wildlife. The chance of encountering the more ferocious-looking beasts (mountain lions, rattlesnakes, coyotes) is rather low, but the much more likely (and potentially dangerous) fauna are ticks, which can carry Lyme disease. I found some on me on multiple occasions, so please be sure to check yourself and wash carefully after the event. You will likely spot plenty of birds, deer, and fellow orienteers.

Final Words

I would like to call out Misha Kreslavsky as the real hero of this event. The excellent new map has made setting courses a lot easier than in previous years, and I am also indebted to him for vetting the control locations and providing valuable feedback on the courses.

The event would also not have happened without our Event Director, Graham Brew (), who secured a permit weeks before the event. He is actively looking for volunteers for the day itself (hint, hint). Please sign up if you have not already — there is something for everyone, even if you have no experience!

This event was originally planned to be at Almaden Quicksilver, a venue BAOC has not used in many years. Graham and Misha also spent a considerable amount of effort exploring permitting and mapping options for this potential new venue, although in the end it did not turn out to be viable.

Please reach out to Graham or me () if you have any questions about the event. Calero is a great venue, and we have done our best to set fun, challenging, and fair courses for everyone. See you there, and I hope you have a great day in the woods!