Clopper Lake

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February 11

Seneca Park streamOrienteer on terrain that is still relatively new near the Clopper Lake section of Seneca Creek State Park (Gaithersburg, MD). There will be eight courses to choose from (2 beginner, 1 intermediate, and 5 advanced), and course notes are now posted below, all thanks to course setter Michael Dickey.

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. Driving directions are below; for those using ride-sharing services, this event is within the DC metro coverage area of Uberpool.

Event timing will be standard: register anytime between 10:45 - 1:15, start between 11 - 1:30, and be back before the controls start being picked up at 3pm.

Other event notes:

  • Park entrance fees are $3/per person or $5/per person (MD vs out-of-state residents) at the entrance gate. Children in safety seats enter at no charge.
  • Registration will be at the Blue Jay Pavilion, towards the west end of the parking area shared with the Nuthatch Pavilion. Carpooling is encouraged. A park map is here; the Blue Jay Pavilion is way down in the lower left (southwest) edge.
  • If we overflow the parking lot, we are allowed to park along the NW side of the road leading to it, i.e. the right hand side of the road as you drive in.
  • Bathroom facilities are located at the east end of the parking area.
  • Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.
  • There is a disc golf course in this park (see the DNR map cited above for it's location).
  • Map scales will be: White, 1:5000; Yellow, Orange, Beige, Brown 1:7500; Green, Red, Blue, 1:10000.

Have some time to volunteer? Contact the event director by clicking on her name below to send her an email. No experience necessary!

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.


Seneca Creek State Park, Clopper Lake, Blue Jay Pavilion, Gaithersburg, MD (Classic)

RegistrationNo advance registration required. Just show up and have fun!
Start TimesYou may start your course at any time during the start window listed below for your event.
ScheduleSunday, February 11
11:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:Heidi Onkst
Course Designer:Michael Dickey
Location Details

Seneca Creek State Park
Clopper Lake, Blue Jay Pavilion
Gaithersburg, MD
Google Map

From I-270, Gaithersburg, MD, take Exit 10 west on Rt 117/Diamond Ave. which becomes Clopper Rd. Go west about 2 miles and turn left into the park entrance. Proceed straight passing the first intersection and a parking area. If the event is being held during a time of year when it's collected, pay $3/pp or $5/pp (MD state, vs out-of-state) at the entrance gate, then bear right at the next intersection. You may see the lake on your left. After about 0.5 mile, just before the road crosses the dam, turn right onto the small road heading to the Blue Jay and Nut Hatch Pavilions. Both pavilions are in the woods south of their shared parking lot; Blue Jay is to the west. Please carpool if possible. If the lot is full, you may park on the NW shoulder of the road leading to the parking lot.
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 2.88511
Yellow 3.210012
Orange 5.819014
Beige 3.71658
Brown 4.818511
Green 6.221514
Red 8.832517
Blue 10.638522
Course NotesClassic

White has a couple of off-trail options after controls #7 and #11. Mapped features are easily visible from the controls. The Yellow course will require some off-trail navigation but there are appropriate linear features to assist. Orange runners will have a course a bit longer than usual, but worth running to enjoy a circumnavigation of Clopper Lake. There is a Beige course option for runners who don’t want to take on the Brown that is longer than normal in order to get into some terrain that Brown hasn’t been to before.

Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses will cross Riffle Ford Road. There are no controls placed to mark the road crossing, but there is generally not much traffic. Logical crossings will be in areas of good visibility.

All courses will enjoy open runnable woods. Mapped vegetation and features are generally very accurate, but runners may find some unmapped rootstocks or vegetation that has expanded beyond mapped areas. Red and Blue runners will see green slash on rough open and should expect to find some large, nasty briars in those locations. All advanced courses will cross areas of the disk golf course. Please be respectful of players and do your best to not disturb their game.

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
  • If you wish to become a QOC member you should join online in advance via this webpage (which also explains the member benefits). Membership is completely optional.
  • 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.