Cabin John

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March 3

Photo by Andrew GastwirthWelcome back to one of our family-friendliest orienteering venues - and one that still has plenty of navigational challenges for all levels. White through red courses (beginner through advanced) will be available, and course setter comments are now posted below. Note that the registration area for this event will be Pavilion A, on the northeast side of the large parking lot marked '1' on the locator map posted below.

Event timing will be standard: register at the event anytime between 10:45am - 1:15, start anytime between 11 - 1:30, and make sure to finish and check back no later than 3pm. Electronic timing will be used, so make sure to return borrowed timing chips at the download/finish station.

This is a small and relatively heavily used area, but it has a number of nice pockets of forest and will present challenges for beginners and experienced orienteers alike.

As usual, youth groups and other large groups planning to attend this event should contact the Event Director well in advance 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.

Reminder: Do Not Drink From the Water Containers. It is unsanitary. Use the cups that we've placed at each water stop. We don't care if it does take you a few extra seconds (you're not racing for a medal anyway!). And if you see someone putting their lips on an open water jug, feel free to report it to the Event Director, who at their discretion may speak with (and disqualify) the offender.

Additional information:

  • Please make sure to read the course setter comments below.
  • Course maps scales will be 1:5000 for white and yellow, 1:7500 for orange and brown, and 1:10,000 for green and red.
  • Watch out for the Train! Yes, given dry enough weather we expect that the quite popular miniature train ride will be running, and although you can run faster than it goes, and you might even be able to leap over it, it's still poor form to scare kids by rushing out of the woods at them as they ride the train. On the other hands, if you're bringing young kids, read up about this ride on this page.
  • Carpooling is encouraged as a courtesy to other park users.
  • Dogs on leash are welcome, but must stay off athletic fields and tennis courts. There is also a fenced doggy exercise area in another area of the park.
  • GPS watch loaner program continues, for anyone interested in trying one out. See Jon Torrance at the event.
  • Feel free to use our Contact Us form if you have any questions!

Cabin John PlaygroundsCabin John Train

Pavilion Locator Map


Cabin John Regional Park, Playground Parking Area, Bethesda, MD (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 3
11:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:Florence Tan
Course Designer:Don Fish
Location Details

Cabin John Regional Park
Playground Parking Area
Bethesda, MD
Google Map

From the East: Take I-270 North from the I-495 Beltway, exit at Old Georgetown Rd (going north), and then immediately work your way left on Old Georgetown to turn left on Tuckerman. Turn left into the park after the underpass. From the South: Take I-270 North from the I-495 Beltway, exit at Democracy Blvd, going west. Turn right on Westlake (at the Exxon/Shell station), then eventually left on Tuckerman. Turn left into the park very soon after the left turn onto Tuckerman. From the North: Going south on I-270, exit at Montrose Rd (west). Turn left to go south on Seven Locks, then eventually left (east) on Tuckerman. Turn right into the park before the second traffic light (and before the underpass).
Google Maps Link
Apple/iPhone Link
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 1409
Yellow 2.13011
Orange 46015
Brown 4.211018
Green 5.315019
Red 7.623528
Course NotesClassic

We will have a nearly full set of courses at Cabin John Regional Park this weekend. We’ve made the Red course a bit longer than normal to make up for the lack of a Blue course. Due to the long and narrow nature of Cabin John, nothing in the park is very far from a trail. For that reason, we have removed the trails from the Brown, Green and Red maps. This has been done to add a bit more challenge for our advanced runners. The beginner course maps (White and Yellow) and the intermediate Orange course maps include the trails.

Due to the extreme amount of rain we have received over the past year, most of the low-lying terrain is somewhat thicker than usual. In general, respect the green areas of the map and beware of difficult running even in some areas mapped as white. I’ve done my best to keep us out of the worst areas, but you will probably encounter disagreeable vegetation. Protective gear is recommended.

The Green and Red courses will each cross Cabin John Creek twice, once in the northern area of the park and again in the south. Unless you have wings or a pole vault, you will get wet, so consider bringing dry clothes and shoes to change into after your run.

The large playground area just to the west of the main parking lot has been marked as out of bounds. The trail just to the north of the playground and the area between the playground and the park offices to the south are available to runners. On weekend afternoons there are usually a lot of little kids at the playground, and the last thing we would want is for a little one to get run down by an orienteer who has his head buried in his map as he barrels through the area. For your own safety, it would also be a good idea to look up from the map while crossing park roads and parking areas.

Finally, all advanced and Orange runners must cross busy Tuckerman Rd. to reach the northern section of the park and again to get back to the southern section. There will be mandatory crossing points on your maps with controls on each side of the road that you will punch. Your crossing times will then be deducted from your total time. The bottom line is that there is no competitive incentive for taking chances with traffic while crossing the road. There are frequent breaks in the traffic as dictated by traffic signals on either side of the park, so please wait to cross the road when it is safe to do so.

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.