Hemlock Overlook

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionPDF versionPDF versionShareThis

November 24

Hemlock photo by Jan AllbeckExactly 160 years ago today (November 24 th 1859) Charles Darwin published Origin of the Species. Darwin may have had orienteering in mind when he said ‘it will not be the strongest or most intelligent that survive, but the one most responsive to change.’ Unlike baseball, and every other major sport, orienteering does not have a prescribed field, court or playing field dimension, every course is different, and we love it that way. Are those who orienteer more adaptive to change than others and better equipped to survive in today’s world? Could be! Come out this Sunday and test your skills in Hemlock Overlook Park.


Update: This event is no longer an NRE event.

For this season's Hemlock Overlook event, we will be operating out of the pavilion (not the lodge up on the hill as with last winter's bumble). The pavilion is 200 meters straight inside the Hemlock main gate on the left and easy to find. Event timing is our usual: register any time between 10:45 - 1:15, start between 11 - 1:30, and be done before 3pm.

This event is also the venue for this year's course setter training course. Our course setter students, Tavia Sullens, Paul Morris, Rob Field, and Mark Thomsen have designed and set a full set of classic courses under the tutelage of Andrew Komm. So feel free to provide them with feedback when you are done with your course; course data and course setter comments are now posted below.

Note that the start location is 250 meters from registration.

Parking is always slightly complicated at Hemlock Overlook because of the configuration of roadways inside the venue. Please drive slowly, be patient and look out for pedestrians.

The rest rooms are just up the hill from registration, less than 50 meters away.

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.


Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, Hemlock Pavilion, Clifton, VA (Classic)

RegistrationNo advance registration required. Just show up and have fun!
Start TimesStart any time between the specified times (usually 11am - 1:30pm).
ScheduleSunday, November 24
11:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:DennisAndHelen Doherty
Course Designer:Andrew Komm
Location Details

Hemlock Overlook Regional Park
Hemlock Pavilion
Clifton, VA
Google Map

From Clifton VA, take Main Street (route 641) south for 1 mile. Then go right onto Yates Ford Road and drive to the end (about 2 miles). Note: Please drive carefully along Yates Ford Road - it is narrow in some places, and one section has a 15mph speed limit.
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 1.8757
Yellow 3.11259
Orange 3.517010
Brown 3.312010
Green 5.121011
Red 7.226013
Blue 9.334018
Course NotesClassic

The courses were designed and set by the members of the 2019 Virginia Course setting class. One of the course features the group decided to include was a common spectator control that is shared by all courses. Overall, visibility in the park is very good. The leaves have fallen and are quite slick. We recommend footwear that provides increased traction for the intermediate and advanced courses. Generally, the vegetation boundaries marked on the map are not as discernible on the ground as you would be led to believe. We did not place controls on vegetation boundaries that are not obvious. There are areas of unmapped ruined fencing and wire in the northern portion of the map. We streamered areas that participants might encounter, but please be cautious. As is common with parks in the region, there are more root stocks present on the ground than what are mapped. All root stocks that are used as control locations are obvious on the ground and are mapped appropriately. The Blue course transits the far southern portion of the map. In this area, the vegetation is generally one shade thicker on the ground than what is mapped. Also, the vegetation boundaries are not reliable for navigation. The point placement in this area accounts for the difficulty in the vegetation.

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.