Great Falls MD

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December 5

Welcome to our 2010 Great Falls event! The woods are very open, so plan on a brisk run or walk. This year, we have permission to conduct 3 courses in this classic QOC terrain; set by (course setter) Nadim Ahmed, they are:

  • Beginner: 2.7km in length, ~75m climb, 7 controls. This course can be navigated by White course level participants. All controls are on trails and can be navigated using the trails.
  • Intermediate: 5.2km, ~175m climb, 13 controls. This course is most like an Orange course. There are handrails and catching features if you watch for them, however, there is a control or two that is a good deal harder than what QOC Orange level runners might be used to. Less capable Orange runners, those not up to a challenge, and those doubting their skill, will want to stick to the Beginner course. More capable navigators wanting this distance will save time by keeping off the trails and other handrails.
  • Advanced: 8.9km, ~330m climb, 20 controls. The Advanced course will challenge technical and physical capabilities, and is set most like a Blue course in distance. Careful navigation near the controls and contact with the map along the way will be needed. Map updates have been made for vegetation, new rootstocks and some other items. The course is somewhat loopy so if someone really needs to shorten it they can — however, skipping controls will result in a DNF. Red runners will need to pace themselves to go the extra distance. It will be a struggle for some less physically able Green runners and it is definitely not recommended for Orange level or below runners.
  • For this event, please note the following:

    • Anyone with their own epunch (SI-card) can reduce their wait time at registration via a completely optional courtesy pre-registration; just email Valerie Meyer by 2pm Saturday your name, the course you'll do, and your SI-card number.
    • GROUP LEADERS: Please pre-register your group following the guidelines on our 'For Group Leaders' webpage and via the form mentioned in the Registration section (on that webpage). Email the information directly to this event's Meet Directors.
    • New Offering!: If you are interested in joining a group that will have a QOC guide to lead you to several controls in the woods and share orienteering tips, please email the Meet Directors indicating (1) your name, (2) which skill level group you'd like to join (beginner/white/yellow or intermediate/orange), and (3) the group departure time from the registration area that would work best for you - the choices being 11am, 11:30, or Noon. We will send email confirmations to all participants.
    • Even Newer Offering!: QOC members interested in borrowing (at no cost) a Garmin 205 GPS-watch to record their routes should see Jon Torrance at the registration table. We'll even enter your route into RouteGadget for you!
    • Road construction is taking place along the Park Entrance Road, but park staff have indicated it should not interfere with traffic. Nonetheless, please take care as you drive to the (main) park entrance. After paying entry fees at the park entrance kiosk, park in the main large lot to the north of the Great Falls Tavern.
    • The registration area will be behind and to the east of the Tavern. You will probably walk by the separate building that is the (relatively new) bathroom facility, which will be open.
    • The Visitor Center at the Great Falls Tavern (built in 1831) will be open from 9am - 4:30pm; it provides a (free) glimpse of the history of the canal and also has a small bookstore.
    • Dogs are welcome. Park regulation requires that all pets be leashed AND be under physical control at all times while in the park. Owners must remove pet droppings from park. Pets are not permitted on Billy Goat Trail Section “A” or on the Olmsted Island Bridges.
    • We are not allowed to process membership payments at this event; however, we will pass on any envelopes containing new or renewing membership materials that we receive at the event to our membership secretary. Of course, you could just take care of it all online right now via this page.
    • As has been the case for the last several years, our event will be monitored by Park Staff. Please be as respectful as always and report any issues to the Meet Directors.
    • Great Falls Tavern


      C&O NHP (Great Falls MD), Great Falls Tavern, Potomac, MD (Classic Courses)

      ScheduleSunday, December 5
      11:00 am - 1:00 pmClassic Courses: Start Window
      Event Director:Greg Lennon
      Event Director:Kathleen Lennon
      Course Setter:Nadim Ahmed
      Location Details

      Classic Courses
      C&O NHP (Great Falls MD)
      Great Falls Tavern
      Potomac, MD
      Google Map

      From I-495, Maryland: Take exit 41 (Carderock/Great Falls, MD), follow Clara Barton Parkway to the end. At the stop sign, turn left onto MacArthur Blvd. Follow MacArthur ~3.5 miles to the park entrance booth. MacArthur Blvd. ends at the park.

      From I-495, Virginia: Cross into Maryland over the American Legion Bridge (beltway inner loop) and take exit 41 (Clara Barton Parkway) Westbound, staying left at the fork. Follow Clara Barton to the end. At the stop sign, turn left onto MacArthur Blvd. Follow MacArthur Blvd ~3.5 miles to the park entrance booth. MacArthur Blvd. ends at the park.

      After paying the park entrance fee, park in the large lot to the right (north) of the roundabout, then walk south back past the roundabout and beyond the Tavern to find our registration area.

      Printable detailed maps showing the parking/registration area and the route to the Pizza Palooza are available here.

      Course DetailsClassic Courses
      Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
      Beginner 2.7757
      Intermediate 5.217513
      Advanced 8.933020