Lake Needwood

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April 9

Glen Artney stream Welcome to Lake Needwood! This will also be our sixth event ever at Lake Needwood, and it will feature a full slate of beginner through advanced courses. Course lengths and detailed course setter comments are now posted below. Event timing will be our standard: register between 10:45 - 1:15, start any time between 11 - 1:30, and be back before 3pm.

As with all QOC events, we will have free newcomer instruction at this event. A QOC member will show you how to read a map, teach you how to use a compass with your map and give you hints on how to navigate your choice of course. Besides that, just wear a smile and the clothes you would for a hike or run in a local park. Bring a compass, if you have one, or borrow one at the event. And dogs (on leash) are welcome at Lake Needwood too. Driving directions are below; we will be in Shelter C (just up from A).

Please be aware that Lake Needwood and its environs have, in the past, been susceptible to the development of microcystin, a toxin produced by algae that may grow in the lake. Although primarily an issue in late summer when water temperatures rise, we want everyone to be fully aware of the issue. The park authorities recommend not letting dogs swim in the water and of course, nobody should drink the water. Here is a link to last summer's information (dated August, 2016) from Montgomery Parks.

Any youth or large groups attending, please contact the Event Director so that we can coordinate pre-registration for your group; the group registration and waiver form is part of the information on our Group Leaders page.

FYI: Pre-registration for next Sunday's advanced-orienteer-only event at Cunningham Falls is required and is now open (see that event's webpage for details).

Nearby attractions include:

  • Scenic Lake Needwood itself - for a panoramic photo by mapper Nadim Ahmed of part of the lake, click here
  • Park map - a Rock Creek Regional Park trail map with plenty of amenities can be found here, and a brochure here
  • A Go Ape treetop adventure course is also in this park.

Urban BBQ

Post-Race MeetUp: It's a deal for us at this favorite spot - 10% off your bill - when you head to this family friendly restaurant after orienteering. Urban BBQ is located at 5566 Norbeck Rd, in the shopping center just east of the Rock Creek overpass; driving directions from our event are here.


Lake Needwood, Circle Parking Area, Derwood, MD (Classic)

RegistrationNo advance registration required for this event (but it is required for next week's advanced-only event).
Start TimesYou may start your course at any time during the start window listed below for your event.
ScheduleSunday, April 9
11:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:Don Fish
Course Designer:Russ Damtoft
Location Details

Lake Needwood
Circle Parking Area
Derwood, MD
Google Map

Get to Avery Rd from either Norbeck Rd (Rt 28) or Muncaster Mill Rd (Rt 115). From Avery Rd, turn onto Needwood Lake Dr, go 0.3 miles, then turn left on Beach Dr. The first right then leads to Needwood Lake Circle, and by continuing to follow QOC signs you should be led to the pavilion/shelter in use for the event, most likely towards the S end of the lake.
Google Maps Link
Apple/iPhone Link
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 1.64010
Yellow 2.36012
Orange 414014
Brown 3.310010
Green 4.817514
Red 7.826022
Blue 10.341527
Course NotesClassic

The woods are open and quite runnable – there are only a few spots where there are brambles. The map is in great shape, although it has been a few years and you should exercise a healthy skepticism about rootstocks. The ones that are mapped are pretty old and rotten now, and there are a great many new ones that aren’t mapped.

Red and blue courses will cross Rock Creek at the south end of the map. While the map-maker graciously indicated a crossing just north of Route 28, don’t count on it being a dry water crossing. When the course was set, it looked like an up-to-the-shins crossing. Route 28 is usable but the shoulder is narrow and the traffic is fast, so it is not recommended. The blue course also passes near the “Go Ape” ropes course location. It’s marked as out-of-bounds; please give it a wide berth.

Entry FeesIndividual Entries

Note: juniors = under 21

Club Member, adult Club Member, junior Non-Member, adult Non-Member, junior
Epunch Owner $5 $5 $10 $5
Epunch Borrower $10 $5 $15 $10

Team or Group Entries

Participants are welcome to compete together as a single team entry. Teams containing one or more nonmembers are charged the nonmember individual rate. Teams containing one or more adults are charged the adult individual rate. For teams to receive member or junior rates, all members of the team must be members or juniors, respectively. Each extra team map beyond the first is an additional $2. Individuals or teams desiring to compete on a second course can do so for a reduced fee of $2/map.

Important Notes
  • At the event, we can only accept payment in cash or check; online, you may use a credit card or PayPal account.
  • If you have access to a smartphone, you may become a member at the event by joining online via this webpage (which also explains the member benefits). Membership is completely optional. If you wish to join or renew, we strongly recommend joining (or renewing) online before the event rather than at it to save time and because it's easier.
  • Most of our events use an 'epunch' timing chip for electronic timing. Individuals or groups without their own epunch pay a higher entry fee (see above), which includes the loan of an epunch for that event. Loaned epunches that are lost incur a $40 replacement fee. Epunches (also known as SI-cards or finger sticks) are usually available for sale at each event as described here.
  • Former QOC members who have let their membership lapse pay non-member fees.
  • Compasses are available at no charge, but if lost incur a $15 replacement fee.
  • Please provide collateral (driver's license or car keys) when borrowing a compass or epunch.
  • For additional safety, whistles are available for sale at $1/each.
  • Free beginner instruction is always available - just ask at the registration table.