This year’s event will again take place mostly north of the main trail head parking. There will be white, yellow, orange, green and red courses.  Event day will be Sunday, November 16, 2014.

There are still plenty of cactus and mean shrubs, as well as some clingy weed and grass seeds.  Parts appear open, but other parts have quite a bit of brush.  There are not many trails to make use of, but there are dry washes and some horse trails that can be used for some routes.

Agua at Catalina State Park
Agua at Catalina State Park (Photo by Daniel Lobo) 

The white and yellow courses will mostly be along trails south and east of the group camp.  The more advanced courses will be in the areas north of the campgrounds and main trail.  The Tucson motala combines the yellow, orange, and red courses.  Almost all of that part of the mapped area will be used.  The elevation in this part of the park is lower, so you don’t get views of Tucson, but the mountains to the east will be in plain sight most of the time.  You may get to cross Southerland wash, depending on which course you run.  In mid October it was flowing and some folks got wet feet crossing it.  It may have dried out by November, depending on rains.  Monsoon rains made the weeds grow, but they don't seem to be as tall this year.  There will still be weeds, grass seeds, and some catclaw to contend with so be sure to wear leg protection.

The color map for the longer courses will be 1:10,000 scale with a 5 m contour interval.  The white and yellow courses will be at a larger scale, probably 1:7500.

Large Groups:  If you are planning to bring a large group of more than five people, please let the course setter John Pascal at pascaljl (-at-) q (-dot-) com know so that we can reserve enough maps for you.

Youth Groups: All participants under 18 must provide a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.  If your group plans to bring a minor without their parent/guardian, then please download a copy of the Waiver and Permission to Participate form from our Documents, Guides, and Forms page (look for it under the "For Orienteers" section) and have it completed and signed by a parent/guardian before you bring it with you to the event.  For more details, see our article about the waiver form for minors.

Directions:  The GPS coordinates for start/finish are 32.425399, -110.908360.  The entrance to Catalina State Park is located on Oracle Road (Arizona 77), six miles north of the intersection of Oracle Road and Ina Road. If you come on I-10, take Exit 248 and drive east on Ina for five miles to its intersection with Oracle. Visitors from Phoenix, take the Pinal Parkway to Oracle Junction, from there it is approximately 10 miles southbound on Arizona 77 to the park entrance. The State Park day-use fee is about $7 per car.  Start and finish will be at the north end of the big parking lot for the trail head.  Follow the O signs.

Motala: The Tucson Motala is a three-stage course that will test and develop both your navigation and endurance skills.  The stages may be run in any order desired and consist of a ~3-4k on/off trail loop (or “Yellow” loop), a more navigationally challenging ~4-5k off trail loop (Orange) and a more difficult ~5-6k off trail loop (Red).  We recommend that you start the first stage no later than 9:15 a.m. The latest time to start the last stage is 11:30 a.m. (Red loop), 11:45 a.m. (Orange), or 12:00 p.m. (Yellow).  Motala fees for members of the Tucson or other recognized orienteering club are $10/person + $5/each additional team member for each event.  Nonmember fees are $15/individual + $10/each additional team member for each event.


  • Classic courses - members of any recognized orienteering club: $5/individual, $8/team.
  • Nonmembers: $10/individual, $15/team.
  • For motala fees, see the special section above.
  • 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.  For details and restrictions, click here.


  • 8:30 a.m. Beginners' clinic starts.
  • 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Registration.
  • 9:00 a.m.  Courses open.
  • 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Route choice reviews.
  • 1:00 p.m.  Courses close.  Everyone must be back by then.  Begin control retrieval (orienteering practice).

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.

Newcomers: Go directly to Registration.  Ask for instructions and introductory information.  To attend the free beginners’ clinic, arrive between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

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.