Patuxent River Park

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December 10

PatuxentPre-registration is required and will open on Monday, December 4 at 6pm and will close at noon on Saturday December 9, the day before the event.
There will be no day-of registration.

Welcome to one of our most favorite, least steep parks! Our course setters Pam and Mike Dvorsky have prepared an exciting group of courses, including Short and Long (White, Yellow, and Orange) through Blue and every other color course in between that QOC normally has available.

Because we have the additional White/Yellow/Orange Courses, we’re also offering the opportunity to do a second course and cover some new ground. See full course details below.

Scoring for this event will be normal, but we’re excited to offer an opportunity to test the LiveLox software at this event. Key features for those who orienteer with their cell phones include:

  • Live Tracking during the event
  • Automated track upload for analysis (in addition to Route Gadget)
  • Increased participant safety
  • Learn more here
In the far southwestern corner of Patuxent River Park, you may come across some signs saying it is open for bow hunting. You can safely ignore these signs as there is no hunting of any sort allowed on the weekend of our orienteering meet.

As always, please be off the course no later than 3 pm and remember to download at our e-punch station even if you did not finish. We want to make sure of everyone’s safety and status.

Also, make sure to check out our Your First Event and Orienteering Techniques For Beginners webpages, and if they don’t answer any remaining questions you have, just use our Contact and ask.

Come join us! A group of QOC orienteers and volunteers will meet at a Panera's, located here, north of Patuxent River Park, close to the intersection of US 50 and 301.Chocolate Chip Cookie

Group Leaders: please see our For Group Leaders webpage and then contact the Event Director so we can get you registered in advance and contact the event director to apprise them of your plans.

Other Notes:

  • Beginner Instruction will be offered.
  • Pets are allowed in Patuxent River Park but must be on a leash at all times.
  • there is no water on the course. Participants are responsible for their own hydration. A very limited supply of bottled water for emergency use will be on hand with the Event Director; but it is vital to stay well hydrated. Please come prepared!
  • there are no snacks offered by QOC.


Patuxent River Park, Barn parking area, Upper Marlboro, MD (Classic)

RegistrationRegistration for this event opens at 6pm on Monday Dec. 4 via this link. Registration will close at 12 noon on Saturday Dec. 9 (the day before the event). Pre-registration is mandatory.

Who's Registered? Check by clicking here.

Start TimesStart times will be by windows (to be defined for this event before registration opens).
ScheduleSunday, December 10
10:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:Craig Shelden
Course Designer:Mike Dvorsky
Course Designer:Pam Dvorsky
Location Details

Patuxent River Park
Barn parking area
Upper Marlboro, MD
Google Map

From the MD. Rt. 4 Capital Beltway exit, head south/east on Rt. 4 for 3 miles. Exit onto Woodyard Rd (Rt. 223) south. Immediately turn left at the light onto Osbourne Rd. After 3 miles you'll reach a traffic light and a junction with US Rt. 301. Turn left on 301 then immediately turn right at the next light onto Croom Rd. (Rt. 382). Signs for Patuxent River Park begin at this turn. After 3.5 miles, turn left on Croom Airport Road and continue for 2 miles to the park entrance, passing the junction with Duvall Rd. on the way. At the park entrance, continue straight towards the Group Camp Area (do not turn left towards the park's visitor center). Turn right onto the driveway leading to a barn and picnic pavilion when you reach a large field on the right hand side of the road. The parking, registration, start and finish areas are shown below on the arena map.

Alternatively, from the Capital Beltway (I-495), take Exit 11A, (Pennsylvania Ave), Route 4 east for 8 miles. Take Route 301 south for 1.7 miles. Turn left on Croom Station Road and continue for 1.6 miles. Turn left on Croom Road (Route 382) and proceed for 1.5 miles. Turn left on Croom Airport Road and proceed to the park entrance as described above.

From the junction of Route 50 and Route 301, take Route 301 south for 15 miles. Turn left onto Croom Station Road and go 3.5 miles before turning left again onto Croom Airport Road. Follow it to the park entrance and proceed as described above.
Google Maps Link
Apple/iPhone Link

Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White Short 2.3309
White Long 2.63010
Yellow Short 33011
Yellow Long 3.33011
Orange Short 3.910012
Orange Long 5.512512
Beige 3.61158
Brown 4.817012
Green 6.618017
Red 8.319518
Blue 10.119517
Course NotesClassic

The map scales are:
1:10,000 for the Blue, Red, Green, Brown, and Orange Long courses
1:7,500 for the Beige, Orange Short, and Yellow courses
1:5,000 for the White Courses

Contour Interval: 5 meters (16.7 feet)

The map has been updated in 2023 after major revisions to the park’s trail network. Vegetation is generally accurate.
The courses were also used for the NJROTC Regional Championship held on Saturday, December 9th. Hence there is a wider variety than normal of courses for you to choose from.
There will NOT be drinking water available on any course. Bring your own water to drink while on your course (camelback is recommended), and make sure you do not leave any water bottles in the woods!
The compass and terrain-to-map matching skills will be your best friends on these courses.
Additional Note: There has been beaver activity southwest of Riverside Field (start/finish area). Though park rangers are trying to deal with them, there is currently a significant beaver pond about 300 meters south of the start area. No trails are affected (yet), but some route choices may be impacted.
Approximate location of the pond is mapped on the course maps, but beavers are clever creatures that build quickly so the mapped pond should be taken with a grain of salt. The pond and associated marsh area may be significantly bigger or smaller on the day of the meet. Just beware!
You may see some (maybe hundreds) of streamers in a cornucopia of colors in the woods. Usually, they mark invasive vegetation to be removed, and illegal bike and horse trails. Rest assured they have nothing to do with orienteering and should be ignored. If you find some bow hunting area signs in the far southwestern corner of the park, they can also be safely ignored as this weekend is a no hunting weekend.
You are allowed to run across any field drawn as a dark yellow area. You are NOT allowed to cross into private property, which is clearly shown on the map by a DASHED PURPLE LINE and CROSS-HATCHED PURPLE LINES. These areas are OUT-OF-BOUNDS and shall not be entered. There are many large rootstocks in the woods, but none are marked on the map, and none are used for controls. Do not rely on rootstocks for navigation.
The black “X” on the map and control clue indicates a man-made feature. Often these are remnants of the days 50-100 years ago when this area was an airfield and farms. Items such as a junked car, rusted appliances, stacks of tires, etc. would be marked with a Black “X”.
In general, the woods are fairly open. The light green tends to be areas with saplings and closely spaced trees, some deadfall, and some minor areas of thorns. The darker green tends to be areas of denser fallen trees, briars, or mountain laurel (a woody evergreen bush with stiff branches that is not hard to get through, though you may have to zig and zag around the stiff branches, so sometimes it is easier to go around them than to try to push through). The visibility even in the dark green is fairly good for the most part though it would be difficult to plow your way through mapped dark green areas.
The terrain is classic ridge and valley, with broad, flat ridges and deeply incised watercourses. Along the streams are many side reentrants. The hills here are not large, but they are steep and can be as many as four contours high. These steep slopes may be slippery if it is or has been raining or snowing. Marshy areas and reentrants may be bone dry or boot sucking mud depending on the amount of rain we get during the weeks prior to the meet.
All trails are clear and good condition, though all trails are covered with fallen leaves and can be more difficult to see this time of year, especially the indistinct trails. If there is recent heavy rain, many flat areas and trails may be wet, muddy and marshy. Please make sure to tighten your orienteering shoes or you might lose them in the mud. The park trails get a fair amount of horse, mountain bike and foot traffic, which churns up the trail. Several trails are marked as indistinct. If you are on an indistinct trail, you can follow it fairly well if you pay attention, but if you run across it, you may not notice it. You may also come across an unauthorized Mountain Bike Trail that isn’t mapped. Don’t trust that an unmapped trail goes where you think it goes. Several just end and go nowhere, leaving you stranded.
All advanced courses cross several small streams. Many are narrow enough to step across or at most jump across. Most are shallow and if you can’t jump them, you’ll get just your feet wet. But some may be better crossed by a trail or bridge. USE COMMON SENSE! Sometimes it is better to go a bit out of your way to cross a bridge.
This area was an Airfield in the 1930s, a Nike anti-ballistic missile site in the 1950s-60s and was farmed many years ago. You will likely see remnants of human activity and may actually see an old airplane—Riverside Field was an airfield for years and a few planes didn’t make it to the landing strip.
The British Army also marched through this area during the War of 1812 on their way to burn the White House. Enjoy, and may the forest be with you.

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