Come join us for classic courses on December 14 at Ironwood Picnic Area, located in the Tucson Mountains west of the city.  Course setter John Little has set for your enjoyment White, Yellow, Orange, Green, and Red courses.  We will also offer a Tucson Motala.  Brad and Yvonne Poe will direct this event.

Please note: This meet will be on the second Sunday of the month, rather than our standard third Sunday, to minimize conflicts with the holidays.

Site Description: The site is unique among our usual venues, in that it is almost entirely flat. Terrain features are subtle. The course setter has refreshed his compass and pace-counting skills, and recommends that participants on the Green and Red courses do the same. For these courses in particular, it is also strongly advised to stay in touch with the map.


Runnable Desert Terrain
Very-Runnable-But-Easy-to-Get-Lost Desert Bajada Terrain (Photo by John Little) 

Directions: The GPS coordinates for start/finish are 32.197774, -111.134512. From Exit 257 on I-10 drive west on Speedway Blvd. After approximately 5 miles Speedway Blvd. becomes Gates Pass Rd.  Continue another 5 miles through Gates Pass until reaching the T-intersection with Kinney Rd.  Turn left on Kinney Rd and drive south 1.5 miles until reaching the entrance gate to the Ironwood Picnic Area on the right.  Follow the orienteering signs to the event registration area, which is at the end of the road. Take care with the speed bumps!  The trip time from I-10/Speedway Blvd to the event site is about 30 minutes.

Parking:  Limited parking is available at the turnaround at the end of the road; otherwise, park at turnouts along the road. Carpooling is highly recommended due to limited parking.

Large Groups:  If you are planning to bring a large group of more than five people, please let the course setter know at johnlittle042 (-at-) gmail (-dot-) com 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.

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 still 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 AM Beginners' clinic starts.
  • 8:30 AM to 11 AM  Registration.
  • 9:00 AM Courses open.
  • 11:00 AM Last start time to start a course.
  • 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 before 8:30 AM, when the clinic starts.

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.