If you have heard of orienteering, chances are that you have some ties to either Boy Scouts or a High School JROTC, but this fun, outdoor activity is accessible to all, can be fun for the entire family and is gaining in popularity! A fun race, it is about speed but also about planning out a course to attain the most points, which can make it more like a treasure hunt!
How We Started
My daughter first started orienteering with a friend through Cub Scouts. Each year they attended Cub-O in Bridgeport at Sid Richardson Boy Scout Ranch, and she always had the best time! When my youngest started Cub Scouts, we began going as a family, and soon were searching out more orienteering events!
We attended the NTOC event at Camp Wisdom in Dallas, and then my two oldest completed alone in the night-time race!
How It’s Played
You can attend an organized race, or visit one of the permanent courses and race on your own.
A Beginner’s Clinic is usually offered the morning of the race.
Each race is a little different, but markers are distributed throughout an area, and participants race to find the most markers in a set time, using a map and a compass, and usually punching in on their card when they locate it. The race also includes a level of planning, because some markers are worth more points than others, and the team with the most points in the least amount of time wins!
While most Texas Orienteering Events are done on foot, as you become more advanced there are also Bike-O. Ski-O and even Canoe-O events across the country, and the world!
Click HERE to visit the North Texas Orienteering Calendar!
Know Before You Go
Orienteering is usually done in wooded areas, so dress in long pants and closed-toed, comfortable shoes.
Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, even for those January races!
Permanent Orienteering Courses
These locations have permanent markers in the park. Maps for the courses can be obtained at the park.
Bob Woodruff Park in Plano has an online map. Click HERE for more information.
Tyler State Park map can be purchased at the main gate.
Stephen F. Austin State Park Click HERE for more information.
Bastrop State Park’s course suffered some damage from the fire, but a map can be purchased at the main gate.
Texas Orienteering Clubs
North Texas Orienteering Association Click HERE to visit their website.
Austin Orienteering Club. Click HERE to visit their website.
Houston Orienteering Club Click HERE for more information.
ALTOS Arkansas Louisiana Texas Orienteering Society Click HERE to visit their website.
Youth not affiliated with Boy Scouts or JROTC but who are interested in Orienteering can join an O Venturing Club. Contact your local Orienteering Club for more information.
National Organizations and Websites
Orienteering USA Click HERE to visit their website.
Waymarking.com Click HERE to visit their website.