Is summer in the desert valley getting hot enough for you?  Well, this September you will have an opportunity to race your orienteering friends on a fine map or explore cool pine forests and scenic granite rock formations at Bear Wallow in the Coronado National Forest.

This will be a fun-filled event with a short registration period, mass start, and everybody talking about which fork they took and which control they intentionally missed (which will be allowed).  The courses will be a Billy Goat (long), a Kid (shorter), and a Wild Turkey (for beginners and beginning intermediates).  The Wild Turkey is named for the rafter of ten turkeys that I encountered during one of my field checking visits to Bear Wallow.  If you are going competitive, you are not allowed to help each other, but following is allowed and might even be good strategy!


The Start/Finish Meadow at Bear Wallow

The Start/Finish Meadow at Bear Wallow (Photo by Ludwig Hill)

Courses & Terrain:

  • Billy Goat: 7.2 km long & 500 m climb (could be less if you skip 2 controls), 1 forked leg, 2 non-consecutive skip controls.
  • Kid: 5.2 km long & 360 m climb (could be less if you skip a control), 1 forked leg, 1 skip control.
  • Wild Turkey: 2.6 km long & 200 m climb, similar to a sequential point-to-point yellow course, for beginners and beginning intermediates.
  • Terrain: Mountain slopes, primarily open pine forest with numerous wood-littered and densely vegetated or rocky areas.
  • Map: 1:10,000 scale, 20-ft contours, created and field checked in 2011.

The Billy Goat and Kid courses will have a forked leg, where you must choose to punch either of two alternative controls on the forked leg of the course.  You will also be allowed to skip one control on the Kid and skip two non-consecutive controls on the Goat anywhere along the course as long as it is not the first control, last control, or the controls immediately before and after the forked control.

For the Goat and Kid you should expect to do a lot of traversing on steep and potentially slippery slopes due to loose pine needles coating the ground as well as a much-more-than-usual amount of vertical climb due to the nature of the terrain.    I expect everyone's running times to be maybe 50% (walkers) to 100% (runners) longer than "usual" for the course lengths given, so choose your course accordingly with consideration for the 4-hour limit.

To ensure you get a color map, please email Ludwig Hill which course you would like to run (Turkey, Kid, or Goat) or fill out the optional online pre-registration form by end of Wednesday, September 12.  This information will only be used to determine a rough quantity of maps needed and is not binding in any way on your attendance or course choice.


Steep Sloped ForestClearing EdgeRocky Terrain

Some of the Typical Terrain Types at Bear Wallow (Photos by Ludwig Hill)

Meet director:  Jeff Brucker.   If you have questions about this event call Jeff at (520) 886-2528 or email jeffbrucker (-at-) hotmail (-dot-) com.  Please offer to help out with registration, timing, or control retrieval.  Without volunteers we can't make these events happen!


Directions: From Tucson, take the Catalina Highway approximately 21 miles to Mt. Bigelow Road, about a mile past Palisades Ranger Station.

Turn right on Mt. Bigelow Road and look for orienteering signs.

You will go approximately 1/4 mile to the first junction, near the observatory entrance.

Park along the road.

It takes about 75 minutes to get to the event site from downtown Tucson.


Fees: All courses:  $5/individual, $8/team for members of any recognized orienteering club.  $10/individual, $15/team for nonmembers.  Compasses rent for $1.  Safety whistles sell for $1.  Every person, all courses, all meets is required to carry some type of safety whistle.

Friend-For-Free: Members may invite one guest for free to this event.  To print a voucher and for details and restrictions, click here.


  • 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.  Registration.
  • 9:45 a.m.  Mass Briefing.
  • 10:00 a.m. Mass Start for Billy Goat and Kid.
  • 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 Start window for Wild Turkey.
  • 2:00 p.m.  Courses close.

Everyone must be back by when courses close at 2:00 p.m.  You may get additional orienteering practice by helping with control retrieval.

Check-In: To insure that all are safe, everyone, whether finished with the course or not, must check in formally at Start/Finish before courses close and before leaving the meet site.

Route Choice Reviews: Orienteers love to talk about alternate routes and their advantages and disadvantages.  If you would like to discuss your choices after you do the course, there will be advanced orienteers near the Start/Finish area who would enjoy going over your route with you.