Maps & Courses

*** Meet Info 2-pager and Meet Notes Are Now Posted in our Resources section ***

Map & Course Notes
All venues feature typical Mid-Atlantic ridge and valley terrain, varying in the amount of contour detail, with generally open, runnable woods. All venues are embargoed until the competition, as explained on the 'Rules and Awards' page. Competitors wishing to remain eligible for awards should refrain from visiting Oregon Ridge Park and Hemlock Overlook and Fountainhead Regional Parks before the event, except for participating in the model events and, for Fountainhead, using the mountain bike trail network (see Rules and Awards page for details).

Preview maps
Older versions of maps for the Long Day's Night venues can be found in two places. JPEG images can be found on the Resources page of this site; and RouteGadget links to both courses and maps are listed below.

Oregon Ridge Park (Routegadget) - last used for an October 2013 local event including the Susquehanna Stumble.  The competition maps will feature relatively minor updates to capture new rootstocks, changes in vegetation and deadfall, etc.

Hemlock Overlook Regional Park (Routegadget) - last used for a May 2014 local event.  This was a work-in-progress version of the middle distance competition map.

Fountainhead West (Routegadget)/Fountainhead East (Routegadget) - last used for a March 2012 and a January 2013 local event respectively.  These are 1980s vintage maps with only minor updates since then; the UltraLong competition will use completely new maps of the same terrain.

Distances listed are approximate and subject to change.

 Course  White  Yellow  Orange  Brown  Green  Red  Blue
 Age Classes F10
M/F white
Course  White  Yellow  Orange  Brown  Green  Red  Blue
NightO, km  2.4 2.5  4.1  4.2  5.7-5.8  8.3   10.1
win time, min





Middle, km  2.0 2.1  3.2  3.2-3.3  3.6-3.7  4.2-4.3  5.2 
Middle: win time, min  






UltraLong, km  1.9 3.1  7.2  7.6  11.8  15.2  20.0 
UltraLong: win time, min  






There will be only one White, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Red and Blue course each day.  Classes running Green courses will be split into Green X and Green Y for the Night-O and Middle Distance, but not for the UltraLong, as follows:

Green X = M50+, M55+, M60+
Green Y = M-18, M-Green, F-20, F35+, F40+, F45+, F50+ and F-Green

We reserve the right to modify these class/course splits based on registration numbers to balance the number of participants in the XY pairings.

Map/Course Notes
General map notes:  All maps will have 5 meter contour intervals. All maps will be oriented to magnetic north.  A separate legend applicable to all maps will be available at registration. Competitions maps will not have legends printed on them. Clue sheets will be printed on the front side of all maps, and will also be available separately; for the longest clue sheets (Blue courses), the lengths will be 7.2, 6.1 and 7.1 inches for the Night-O, Middle and UltraLong courses.

Oregon Ridge - Night-O

The map will be printed at a scale of 1:10,000 for all courses except white and yellow (which are 1:7500). The safety bearing for all courses is north. There will not be water on the White or Yellow courses. The Model Map for this event/park can be downloaded from here or from our Resources webpage; the model map area is shown at both 1:7500 and 1:10000 scale.

General Terrain Description: the mapped terrain is dominated by a single large hill mass, rising from 110 m above sea level at the lowest point within the park to 194 m, carved by erosion into broad spurs and reentrants, covered almost uniformly with extremely runnable, high visibility mature deciduous forest, with a moderate trail network. To the north and northeast of the hill, the park is more developed for recreation, with parking, open areas and shelters for picknicking, areas of thicker vegetation, a denser trail network, playgrounds, buildings, a disused ski hill, and the remains of small scale quarrying and mining operations dating to the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Detailed Map & Course Notes
The forest at Oregon Ridge is generally open, with mature deciduous trees and little deadfall or undergrowth, and will afford very fast running. Denser vegetation is concentrated along the bigger creeks in the southern half of the park and it consists mostly of mountain laurel that can be passed through. Dark green areas are often masses
of convoluted deadfall and will slow runners significantly. The popular network of hiking trails stretching over ridges and along creeks is typically easy to identify. However, trails on flatter ground often receive sufficient leaf accumulation to make them practically disappear, this is especially true for smaller trails.

The park is divided roughly in thirds by two gas line rides overgrown with tall grass, oriented from SW to NE. The rides offer fast running on trails but steep inclines.

The park features large and frequently shallow reentrants, there are very few narrow ones. Therefore, runners won't have problems getting in and out of the reentrants. The main point features used for controls are root stocks, knolls, and rocks/cliffs. The knolls are mostly fairly small, ranging from 0.5 to 1 m in height. Cliffs and boulders are also below 2 meters in height.

The safety bearing is North for all courses: Once you reach a gas line ride, you can follow it NE or continue North until you reach the Shawan Rd or houses just South of that road."

Hemlock Overlook - Middle

The map will be printed at a scale of 1:10,000 for all courses except white and yellow (which are 1:5000) and Orange (1:7500). The safety bearing for all courses is west, in order to relocate (or wait) at the Occoquan shoreline. A Model Map for both Saturday and Sunday's events can be downloaded from here or from our Resources webpage; the model map area is shown at both 1:15000 and 1:10000 scale.

General Terrain Description: typical Mid-Atlantic spur and reentrant terrain, rising from 37 m above sea level at the Occoquan River shoreline to a high of 100 m, with moderate contour detail, some rock detail and a moderate trail network, denser in the northern third of the terrain where an outdoor education business offers ropes courses and similar challenges.  Vegetation is varied with areas of light and medium green and deadfall but the terrain has good runnability and visibility overall.

Detailed Map & Course Notes:
The Middle Distance event will be held at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, located near Clifton, Virginia. The park is bordered on the west and south by Bull Run Creek, which continues southeast towards Fountainhead Regional Park, the UltraLong venue. Access to the park is via Yates Ford Road, which enters from the east. Hemlock Overlook terrain is characterized by numerous closely spaced ridges and valleys, typical of  Mid-Atlantic orienteering venues. 

The advanced courses, and most of the Orange course, run through the roughly two-thirds of the park that lies south of the entrance road. The forest in this part of the park is generally open, with mature trees and little deadfall or undergrowth, and will afford very fast running. There are only a few trails in this area, which are well traveled and should be visible even with the recent new leaf accumulation. On these courses, climb is approximately 5% of distance traveled. The climb is an inherent feature of this terrain, although some small amount of climb may be avoided by navigating around large reentrants rather than through them. Even so, the courses avoid the steepest terrain, and unless there has been an unusual amount of rainfall, you should not have undue difficulty getting in and out of the reentrants. 

The White and Yellow courses are confined to the area of the park north of the entrance road. The forest can be quite dense in this area, but there is a good trail network, and a variety of large features and handrails. There are many large objects in the woods constructed of wood and rope, and marked with the X symbol on the map, and a few of these are used as control features. There may be temporary shelters or teepees erected in the open fields, which are not mapped. 

There are two starts: one for White, Yellow, and Orange, and the other for Brown, Green, Red, and Blue. The White-Yellow-Orange start is a short (500m) walk from registration, accessed by walking north along a power line/cut from the entrance road just west of the parking area. The start for the advanced courses is approximately 1.5 kilometers from the registration building. The walk to the start includes about 1.2 km along a trail that crosses a small creek and has about 30 meters of climb. Allow 20-25 minutes depending on your walking pace.

You may hear gunshots when you are out on your course. You can safely ignore them. The rifle range is located across the river from the park, and poses no hazard to runners. There is no hunting allowed in the park itself on the day of our event.

Fountainhead - UltraLong

The map will be printed at a scale of 1:10,000 for all classes except F-21+ and M-21+ (both at 1:15000) and those on White or Yellow courses (both at 1:5000). Classes running white or yellow courses will have interval starts. All other classes will have a mass start. The safety bearing for all courses is south, in order to relocate (or wait) at the Occoquan shoreline. A Model Map for both Saturday and Sunday's events can be downloaded from here or from our Resources webpage; the model map area is shown at both 1:15000 and 1:10000 scale.

General Terrain Description: typical Mid-Atlantic spur and reentrant terrain, often fairly steep, rising from 37 m to a high of 93 m above sea level on the north side of a reservoir formed by damming the Occoquan River. Generally high to extremely high runnability and visibility, with patches of thicker vegetation and deadfall in varying quantities and of varying size. Trail network varies from sparse in less visited portions of the terrain, to moderate, to very dense, particularly in a section containing ~10 miles of twisting singletrack for mountain bikers.  Moderately intricate contour detail in small portions of the terrain but topography is mostly characterized by distinct, large to very large spurs and reentrants with subtler contour variations indented here and there into their sides.

Detailed Map & Course Notes:
The mostly wide-open Fountainhead ridge and valley forests are a real joy to run through.  However, up-front so that you don’t miss it, here are a few words of caution:
  • The advanced courses (Brown, Green, Red, and Blue) pass through a sizeable section of what may be the most popular single-track mountain biking trails in the entire greater Washington, D.C. area.  QOC requested that the park close the cycling trails during the competition as they often do for bad weather, but the trails will not be closed.  Cyclist will have the right-of-way on this dense set of painstakingly mapped, and twisting trails —runners are usually not allowed on these trails.  The courses were not set to encourage use of the cycling trails but using them in your race is permissible.  It is even somewhat unavoidable for short segments.  Be cautious as the cyclists often push their limits riding fast going downhill, on blind curves, and even when going up the hills.  The single-track gets re-routed from time to time and this was the cause for significant re-mapping in September/October—during the competition there could again be some differences from what is mapped.  There are also unmapped obstacles on the trails such as a series of bumps, narrow bridges, ramps and even installed rocks on some of the trails.  These obstacles can reduce the speed/efficiency advantage that trails usually provide.  
  • Not long after the mass start there are some streams to cross.  Two streams have bridges and if you don’t use the bridge for one of them (it’s fairly obvious which one from reading the map), you’re likely to get wet feet early.  The bridges are just wide enough for one person at a time.  The courses have been set to reduce the congestion.  
  • Just after the mass start, one course has a low fence to cross.  
  • On some legs, competitors may choose routes that will go very near the northern border of the park.  Crossing onto the private land is strictly forbidden and doing so is grounds for disqualification.  
  • A large area marked out-of-bounds along the main park entrance road is an archery zone.  There are signs and sometimes streamers along the border of the archery zone.  All should keep out.  
  • If it’s cold or rainy, be on the guard for hypothermia and wear appropriate clothes.  Advance course runners can at least drop off unneeded clothes at the spectator control/second food stop area at the main parking lot.
  • Advanced course runners not past the spectator control after 4 hours will be pulled from the course.  
Advanced and Orange Course Notes:
  • The advanced and Orange courses have a remote mass start.
    • The bus ride is approximately 10 minutes from the main parking lot.
    • After transport, competitors should wait or warm-up in the fields near the bus drop-off.
    • Clue sheets, Clear and Check epunch boxes, drinking water, and a few portable toilets will be available at the bus drop-off area.  Please use the Clear and Check epunch boxes when you get off of the bus.
    • Runners may leave clothes at start (after the bus ride).  They will be returned to the main parking lot.
    • Don’t wait for the last bus to get to the remote start—you’ll only have 5 minutes after drop-off to do the above.
    • At about 8:45am competitors will start a 5 minute walk from the bus drop-off area, to a remote start triangle.
    • Signs will be placed at the start triangle for common course competitors to gather around.  This will speed the handing-out of the maps.  Advanced course maps are two-sided.  Be sure to pick-up the map for your course and not one for another.  Don’t look at your map until after the start.  Volunteer course officials will help you check a map if needed.
    • Any final announcements will be made before the 9:00am mass start.
    • To alleviate bunching delays, a second epunch box will be available for the first control of select courses.
  • The courses emphasize route choice.  Not taking the optimal route can significantly change how much one climbs.
  • The low vegetation symbols, both slow running and difficult running, have been used to represent nearly all kinds of deadfall across the map.  These symbols are the dominate greens on an otherwise predominantly white forested map.  The low vegetation is very well mapped, however the worst of these areas are essentially unpassable and not all that low.
  • Most of the park is surrounded by the Occoquan Reservoir.  The water levels vary and were mapped higher than what the actual late October water level was.  This should be taken into account if attacking a control from the water.
  • Advanced courses will have two food stations.  One of the stops is well beyond the halfway point at the main parking lot.  Runners can leave their own labeled food or drink there before boarding the bus if they choose to.  Other food & drink will be provided at the stops.  No personal food or drink will be transported to the remote food stop.
  • Depending on the route choice, some advanced course and Orange course runners may see a sign near a T-intersection indicating private property.  This driveway/road is actually open to use until much further ahead where a park border is marked on the map.
  • The bottoms of reentrants can be steeper than they may appear on the map.
  • Mapped cairns can be low.  There are many rock piles that are below the cairn threshold that did not make it onto the map.  However, some such piles are mapped as stony ground.
  • Some mapped rides are old road beds and are good to run on.  Most of these are easily distinguished having been eroded or cut into the terrain, but some below threshold examples may not be mapped at all or have become ditches.
  • There is a marked route across a road beginning at the spectator control and the food stop, at the main parking lot.
  • The finish area and event arena are somewhat compact.  Non-competitors may cross the long finish chute in designated areas however competitors should be given the right-of-way.  Some non-orienteers that may not be paying attention will be in the park so finishing competitors should also be cautious.  
White and Yellow Course Notes
  • The Yellow course encourages short legs of off-trail navigation while still having longer handrail route options.
  • There are several steep hills on the courses.