Gunston Hall

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October 13

Gunston Hall Welcome to a Columbus Day weekend orienteering event at Gunston Hall. Daniel Heimgartner and Keg Good will be providing a full set of classic courses, as we enter the prime time of the year for orienteering.

The terrain at Gunston Hall includes forest of varying density, open fields, historic structures, and bluffs along the Potomac shore east of Lorton, VA, and we have a full set of seven courses (details below). Event timing is standard: register any time between 10:45 - 1:15, start any time between 11 - 1:30, and be back before 3pm.

The entrance to Gunston Hall (see directions below; overview map here) is about 600 meters beyond the Pohick Bay Regional Park entrance on Gunston Road. Please drive with particular caution as you enter Gunston Hall. The first 300 meters of the entrance road is curvy and hemmed in by vegetation reducing the visibility of oncoming vehicles. Parking will be in the lot adjacent to the visitors center. The parking lot and the registration site right across the entrance road from it will be easily discernible as you drive in. Rest rooms will be available inside the visitors center and also in a separate outbuilding adjacent to the mansion itself.

Note that the hedge/garden area immediately behind (south of) the mansion is under repair and reconstruction and is off limits to all orienteers. It is not a very big area and we don't send runners through it anyway, so the effect is small. There will also be a program going on in and right around the mansion, so please be aware of that activity.

Training Opportunity: Jon Torrance will host an intermediate level terrain walk, aimed at people who feel like they have mastered yellow courses and are ready to try orange courses, people who are currently doing orange courses but don't feel as though they've mastered them yet, and anyone in between. Participants will walk around a short course made up of the controls in the woods for the day's event and discuss the set of skills and techniques needed for intermediate level orienteering as they apply to that course. If you'd like to take part, please click here to email Jon to let him know. Plan on getting to the event early so you can be done with your usual course and assembled at registration by 12:55pm. The walk will hopefully begin promptly at 1:00pm and take up most if not all of the time until courses close at 3pm.

Guided Tour Included: At registration QOC will collect a $5 surcharge in addition to the regular meet fees. This surcharge covers Gunston Hall grounds fees for each participant, and it entitles participants to take one of the guided tours of the Hall offered during the day at no additional cost. [Gunston Hall staff would appreciate it if you would sign up before your orienteering run for a later tour so they know when to expect you.] Tours will be available on the hour and half hour starting at 10am, with the last tour at 4:30pm; just present your course map (before or after your run) at the front desk inside the visitors center to sign up (max tour group size ~20). To learn more about Gunston Hall, the home of the principal designer of the Bill of Rights, George Mason, visit the Gunston Hall website.

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.

Additional notes:

  • Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash at all times.
  • Spikes are not allowed in the Visitor Center.
  • Please respect the out-of-bounds areas shown on your course map.


Gunston Hall, Main parking area, Lorton, VA (Classic)

RegistrationPre-registration will be available for this event, closer to the event date.
Start TimesStart any time between the specified times (usually 11am - 1:30pm).
ScheduleSunday, October 13
11:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:James Chaplin
Course Designer:Daniel Heimgartner
Course Setter:Keg Good
Location Details

Gunston Hall
Main parking area
Lorton, VA
Google Map

From southbound I-95, take exit 163 (Lorton). Go left ontoLorton Rd at the end of exit ramp. Go under the 2nd overpass and turn right onto Lorton Market St (Z-pizza is in the shopping center on the left), then go about 1.5 miles to the traffic light at Route 1. Go straight through light (the road name changes to Gunston Rd) and go about 4 miles to the entrance to Gunston Hall on left (identified with orienteering sign; overview map here.)
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 1.5106
Yellow 2.2158
Orange 3.67511
Brown 4.1809
Green 5.412011
Red 7.719016
Course NotesClassic

All courses:
Please respect the stripped out-of-bounds areas on your map. Definitely use repellant against Chiggers and shower afterwards. Avoid sitting on the ground. Greenbriar in some spots. Keg didn't eat all the spiderwebs. Avoid yellow jacket ground hole near one water stop. In that case, it is signed and the control flag has been shifted

Advanced Courses:
There is no Blue course due to the size of the mapped area (the out-of-bound areas seem to keep growing). The road at the southern boundary is off-limits. Due to the season and lack of frost, Green (vegetation) is green (most times more so than expected). Green could not be avoided. If a control is in the middle of it, it is hung high. Controls are on point features surrounded by similar unmapped point features. Only really necessary map updates were made (incl. rootstocks, dot knolls, rocks). For the most part, the ground is hard.

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) can be purchased from online vendors 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.