Balls Bluff

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November 19

Balls Bluff Fall FoliageThis Sunday event requires pre-registration, opening Monday Nov. 13 at 6pm and closing Saturday Nov. 18 at noon. There will be no day-of registration.

Welcome back to Ball's Bluff Regional Park for a prime mid-autumn orienteering event along the high bluffs overlooking the Potomac River near Leesburg, Virginia. This year, registration, start and finish will all return to the pavilion at Edwards Landing, a small municipal park that sits adjacent to Ball's Bluff Regional Park near its southern end (see this locator map).

The event will be hosted and staffed by the cadets of the Loudoun County High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps who finished second in the nation at the Navy National Orienteering Championship last March. QOC's Tom Strat is designing a full set of classic courses for the meet.

As a reminder, the southern part of the area in which we will be orienteering at Ball's Bluff is actually private land adjacent to Ball's Bluff Regional Park, though the boundary is only sporadically marked on the ground. Because of the gracious permission of the landowner, we are able to use this section of his property for this event. White and Yellow orienteers will be using a trail segment at the very southern end of the map that runs not far from one of the houses on the property. Please keep this in mind so we can continue to use this excellent terrain.

Parking: Make sure to read these driving and parking directions carefully. Please do not park in the small Edwards Landing Park parking lot unless you are a meet volunteer, nor on Powhatan Court, the narrow cul-de-sac immediately outside of Edwards Landing Park.

We prefer that you park at Ball's Bluff Elementary School as indicated here on this overview map. Buses and cars can drop participants at the mouth of Powhatan Court before proceeding on to the Elementary School if desired. A shuttle bus will run between the elementary school parking lot and Edwards Landing from 9:30am to 3:30pm. A one-way trip takes about 5-10 minutes.

Public parking along the wide through-streets running near the park (Hunton Place, Graywood Way, and Wood Edge Drive) is also permitted as long as driveways are not blocked or the local residents otherwise inconvenienced.

For those who are interested, here is an overview of the Battle of Ball's Bluff, fought on October 21st, 1861.
Balls Bluff ReenactorsFree Battlefield tours are conducted by expert volunteer tour guides from the group, Friends of Ball's Bluff, every Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1pm from early April through the end of November, so orienteers can take part in a guided tour out of the park main parking lot (not Edwards Landing) either before or after they run their courses. Tours include about one mile of walking on woodland trails and last from one to two hours. Those wishing to take tours on their own may pick up a brochure at the visitor's kiosk in the main parking lot.

VanishCome Join Us! A group of QOC orienteers & volunteers will meet after the event at the Vanish Farmwoods Brewery, located here, just 8.7 miles north of Balls Bluff off of Route 15. Vanish serves a great selection of pub grub - bar snacks, wood fired pizzas, BBQ, burgers, oysters plus more - and features both wine and 20+ beers brewed on site with local ingredients. See the Vanish website for more information.

Keep in mind:

  • All participants must pre-register; after registering, make sure your payment went through.
  • No food items will be provided.
  • Participants are responsible for meeting all their own hydration needs before, during and after their courses.
  • As always, please be off the course no later than 3pm and remember to download at our e-punch station even if you did not finish.
  • Beginner's instruction will be available.
  • For those new to orienteering, make sure to check out our Your First Event and Orienteering Techniques For Beginners webpages, and if they don't answer any question you have, just use our Contact Form and ask.
  • Group Leaders (of larger groups): please contact the Event Director so they are aware of your plans.
  • Port-a-johns will be located next to the Edwards Landing Park pavilion.
  • Dogs are allowed in the park but must be on the leash at all times.


Balls Bluff Regional Park, Edwards Landing Pavilion (School Parking), Leesburg, VA (Classic)

RegistrationRegistration for this event opens at 6pm on Monday Nov. 13 via this link. Registration will close at 12 noon on Saturday Nov. 18 (the day before the event). Pre-registration is mandatory.
Note: PayPal is currently flagging many payments for review; if your payment says "pending", don't worry - we expect all of these payments to be processed to completion in time.

Check That You Paid! Check by clicking here. Payments generally post within minutes; if your name isn't listed or if your registration keeps showing "Unpaid" you will need to re-register.

Start TimesStart times will be by windows (to be defined for this event before registration opens).
ScheduleSunday, November 19
10:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:Bill Johns
Course Designer:Tom Strat
Location Details

Balls Bluff Regional Park
Edwards Landing Pavilion (School Parking)
Leesburg, VA
Google Map

Take the Dulles Toll Road or Rt. 7 to the Rt. 15 by-pass in Leesburg. Turn right for about a mile to Battlefield Parkway and then turn right. Balls Bluff Elementary School will be on the right after 0.7 miles. The direction links below will take you to the school parking.

Directions to Edwards Landing from the school: From Battlefield Parkway southbound, turn left near the south end of the school to go east on Hunton Place for 0.3 miles, then turn right at the intersection with Graywood Way/Woods Edge Drive and go 0.1 miles before turning left on Powhatan Ct. The entrance to the small Edwards Landing parking area is on the right side of the turnaround circle. Note to those walking: it's just 0.6 miles, but please be especially careful crossing Battlefield Parkway. Click here for an overview map.
Google Maps Link
Apple/iPhone Link

Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 1.74010
Yellow 2.27011
Orange 3.614511
Brown 4.11709
Green 5.221511
Red 6.323514
Blue 7.732019
Course NotesClassic

White and Yellow courses are steep in places, rocky, and could be slippery if it has rained recently. Use caution on the trails. There are dangerous cliffs and children should not go out unaccompanied.

I have done my best to avoid unnecessary climb but all courses are steep. Consider routes that minimize climb. Runnability varies from very fast, to undergrowth and fallen trees, to patches of greenbriar. Most areas of thick vegetation are unmapped but can be avoided if you use your eyes.

Some trails are indistinct, especially with the fallen leaves. Rootstocks are mapped with a brown X, but mapping is varied – some have been updated, some have not. Some recently fallen rootstocks have not been added to the map. Some rootstocks on the map may have disappeared entirely.

Avoid private property, which is denoted with the olive green color on the map.

Entry FeesIndividual Entries

Note: juniors = under 21

Club Member, adult Club Member, junior Non-Member, adult Non-Member, junior
$10 $5 $20 $5

Group Entries

Participants are welcome to orienteer together as a group (up to the maximum for that event; usually 4). Each member of a group is charged their individual rate as shown above, up to a group total of $30 (maximum), and each receives a map. A group receives one epunch. Individuals or groups desiring to compete on a second course after completing their first can do so for a reduced fee of $2/map subject to approval at the event by the Event Director.

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 will be loaned one 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 (such as car keys) when borrowing a compass or epunch.
  • In addition to the at-event beginner instruction, beginners are encouraged to watch relevant videos such as this one created by QOC's instructional guru David Onkst