Mason Neck

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March 10

Mason Neck WoodsWelcome back to the distinctive orienteering terrain of Mason Neck State Park, where the flat coastal woodlands and relatively few easily identifiable features provide a great opportunity to improve your compass work and pace counting. And the 2.5m map contour interval (rather than the standard 5 meters) will give orienteers the chance to develop a heightened appreciation of terrain subtleties. In early March, we'll avoid the onset of the greenery that makes navigating at Mason Neck even more of a challenge!

Ken Walker Jr. has designed a full set of classic courses (white through blue; stats below - and climb is minimal) on the Mason Neck map that received a major updating last season thanks to Jon Torrance. As usual, we will set up the registration site right off the main parking area. Rest rooms are immediately adjacent.

Event registration will be from 10:45am - 1:15pm. Start your course anytime between 11am - 1:30pm, but be back before the courses close at 3pm. There is an entrance fee for the park ($5 (in state) or $7 (out-of-state) per car).

Park Information: Mason Neck State Park is also a great place for exploration on the water or by bike (a very smooth and family-friendly bike path runs through much of the park). Of note:

  • Make sure to set your clocks ahead 1 hour for Daylight Savings Time on Saturday night!
  • There's an extensive playground adjacent to our registration area.
  • Dogs are welcome in the park, but must be on a leash of length 6 feet or less at all times and "with a human on the other end", as a park ranger said.
  • April through October: kayaks and canoes may be rented for an hour or all day to explore Belmont Bay and Kane's Creek. It's a great way to see eagles; details are on the park website.
  • Tundra Swans
  • Alaskan tundra swans over-wintering nearby may still be seen (WashPost article about them is here). The best parking to see them is just before the entrance station to the State Park on the left. It is a mile walk on a dirt path to the best outlook to view them. The other parking lot is straight head on the road past Pohick Bay and Guston Hall, several miles after the turn off to the State Park on the right. The walk is 1 km on a paved trail to another overlook which is further away from where the swans are this winter. {thanks to Sid Sachs for this suggestion}
  • Nature Programs for Kids & Families: There are three programs on March 10th at Mason Neck--11am (Ranger at the Blind), 1pm (Wily Coyotes), and 3pm (Rockin' Raptors); details are here.
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.


Mason Neck SP, Mason Neck SP, Lorton, 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, March 10
11:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:James Chaplin
Course Designer:Ken Walker, Jr
Location Details

Mason Neck SP
Mason Neck SP
Lorton, VA
Google Map

From southbound I-95, take exit 163 (Lorton). Go left onto Lorton Rd at the end of exit ramp. Go under the 2nd overpass and turn right onto Lorton Market St., 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 5 miles to the right turn on High Point Road (it's about 1.2 miles after the Pohick entrance). Once in the park ($7 in-state or $10 out-of-state entrance fee per vehicle on weekends), follow the signs towards the Visitor Center. The registration area will be to the left just before the Visitor Center; look for the banner.
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 29
Yellow 3.29
Orange 4.311
Brown 4.510
Green 6.512
Red 8.115
Blue 9.718
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.