Three days of orienteering in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona!

Plus Junior Training Camp each day!

Spring comes early at Catalina State Park in Arizona. When people still ski in Central Park and snowshoe in the Midwest, the sun warms up the Sonoran Desert.

Welcome to the 2013 Southwest Spring B-Meet during the Washington’s Birthday weekend! Three days of orienteering near Tucson with a full range of courses every day. Saturday we kick off with Long* courses. Sunday we’ll have Middle* distances, and then we will finish the triplet and celebrate Washington’s Birthday with Classic* courses on Monday.


Saguaro Forest

Large Boulder in a Saguaro Cactus Forest.  (Photo by Leif Lundquist)

The courses will be at 2700 feet altitude where the desert meets the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson in Catalina State Park. We’ll run in the foothills among the iconic giant saguaro cacti, palos verde, and mesquite trees, in canyons, and over grassy fields against the backdrop of 9000 feet high mountains. The desert terrain is generally open with scattered trees, cacti, and bushes, sometimes in groves; thickets of thorny cat claw or spiky chollas may occur in smaller patches. From the top of the hills you can see far and wide, but to get where you want to go you may have to pass drainages and go down into the valleys where it’s a challenge to keep track of which side canyon or re-entrant you’re heading for. The area is rich in features orienteers love (or sometimes hate), all on our new map from 2009-2012. Click here for pictures from the area.

Registration on-line is closed. However on-site registration will be available with a $5 surcharge.  Note: No entry fee for juniors under 18.  To see who's already registered, click here.

Visitors: The Catalina State Park ( is just north of Tucson along the old stage coach road to Oracle. It has camping and RV facilities (booking required), and it’s also close to hotels and restaurants of all price ranges. Tucson during the winter season is a lively place. The February weather is generally sunny and pleasantly warm, but there can be the occasional cold and even rainy day. Fly, drive, or come by railroad. Tucson has all levels of accommodations close to the meet site. Historical Tucson, museums and the University of Arizona are near-by.

Those of you who want to camp in Catalina State Park during the Southwest Spring Meet can do so at our reserved group area, called the Large Ramada area. You can arrive from 2PM on Friday Feb. 15th and should leave by noon on Tuesday Feb. 19th. It's a large parking area and there is room for parking campers and possibly a few RVs as well.  Normal park camping fees apply ($15 per day for up to two cars/six adults), but you're right at the meet venue. There are also bathrooms, fire pit, and showers there.

Directions: The entrance to the Catalina State Park is located about 15 miles north of the center of Tucson on Oracle Rd (AZ SR 77) in Oro Valley.

GPS coordinates for the park are: N 32.416777, W 110.937581.

For detailed driving instructions go to the park webpage listed above.  Please note that the park charges an entry fee per car, so carpooling is a good idea.

Competition fees per day: Members $7 per individual, $10 per team for members of any recognized orienteering club. Non-members: $12 per individual and $17 per team. $2 discount for second and third day participation (Sunday and/or Monday). $5 one-time surcharge for on-site registration.  SI-card rental: $1. Compass rental: $1. Safety whistles to keep: $1. Every person, regardless of course, will be required to carry some type of safety whistle.

Maps: Pre-printed for each course, scales 1:10,000 and 1:7,500.

Electronic SI-punching all the way – rental sticks will be available.


9:00 AM: Registration opens.
10:00 AM: First start, Long courses
11:30 PM: Start closes.
2:00 PM: Long Courses close.
9:00 AM: Registration opens.
10:00 AM: First start, Middle courses
11:00 Last start Middle courses
1:00 PM: Middle Courses close.
9:00 AM: Registration opens.
10:00 AM: First start, Classic courses
11:30 PM: Start closes.
2:00 PM: Classic Courses close.

Beginners clinics start at 9:30 a.m. each day.

Junior Training & Team Fundraiser:  Junior meeting/training at 1:00p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, led by the USA Junior Team Coach, Erin Schirm.  All juniors welcome.  Please start your course early enough to finish in time for the meeting.  Activities may include map review, meeting other juniors, games, hearing about the national teams, and training exercises.

Two days of training on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 19-20.  This is a junior team fundraiser open to all advanced orienteers, and run by Erin Schirm.  Please RSVP and send questions to barb (-dot-) bryant (-at-) gmail (-dot-) com.

Control retrieval:   Please volunteer with the meet director!

Check-In: To ensure that all are safe, every runner, whether finished with the course or not, must check in at the Finish before leaving the meet site.

Newcomers: Go directly to the Registration. Ask for instructions and introductory information.

Route choice reviews: Orienteers love to talk about alternate routes and their advantages and disadvantages. If you would like to discuss your choices, there will be advanced orienteers available near the Start/Finish area.

Welcome to the Southwest!

* Long should take a good orienteer well over an hour, Middle should have many controls and take about half an hour, and Classic is in between. Read more here.