Did You Know ...

... that the Tucson Orienteering Club was founded by John Maier in early 1984?

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Come get a dose of vitamin D and enjoy fine desert orienteering in the sun!  We're planning a week+ of fast orienteering and training opportunities in the Tucson and Phoenix areas.  All events are open to everyone, from junior to superveteran!

Fresh updates available at https://southwestspringweek.blogspot.com

LATEST NEWS: Registration open! Register at EventReg.

 Change log:

(10/22) added logistics information
(12/6) updated schedule, include NRE
(12/31) updated Where To Stay

Welcome to the SouthwestRolling Foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains Near Box Canyon (Photo by Max Suter)


Sat Feb 17: Classic courses Kentucky Camp/Greaterville
Sun Feb 18: Classic courses Box Canyon (applying for NRE status)

    Sat pm: add't technical training
    Sun pm: presentation + group dinner

Mon, Feb 19: Handicapped mass-start race at Catalina State Park

Tue, Feb 20: Training races in Tucson Mountains

Web, Feb 21: Rest/adventure day (Bisbee street-o)

Thur, Feb 22: Sprint training x2 in Tucson 

Fri, Feb 23: Training at Catalina / travel to Phoenix

Sat, Feb 24: GPXHO local events at Needle Vista 

Sun Feb 25: GPXHO National Ranking Event at First Water

More details as we make decisions.  

Getting Here

We recommend flying into either Tucson International Airport (TUS) or Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and renting a car. The distance between Phoenix and Tucson is about 100 miles. PHX is a bigger airport and may offer better connections and prices. If you're staying for the whole week then you'll be in Phoenix at the end, too.

Where To Stay

For the Tucson portion of the week (Feb 17-23) we recommend staying in a hotel or rental house in the city of Tucson. The first weekend's venues are south of the city (40-60 minutes drive) and the training events are in or closer to town. The exception is Bisbee, which is about 100 minutes of driving. 

The wide open spaces of Arizona provide some lovely opportunities for camping. While the days will be beautiful, the nights will be cold. 

The area near our Saturday and Sunday events are covered by Forest Service Dispersed Camping Guidelines at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/fishlake/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5121831  This is free primitive camping with no services provided. Contact Peg (pegdavis at u dot Arizona dot edu) a week before the event if you’d like details on where other orienteers are likely to be camping if you prefer less solitude. Lows of 23 degrees F are possible.
Catalina State Park camping is convenient for our Monday event. Find information about camping fees and reservations at https://azstateparks.com/catalina/camping-and-rvs/rv-and-tent-camping . Average low is 41 degrees F, record low is 19 degrees F.

For the Phoenix weekend (Feb 24-25) we recommend staying in a hotel in Apache Junction. There is also developed camping at Lost Dutchman State Park.

Lost Dutchman State Park
6109 N Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119
(480) 982-4485
Scenic desert hiking trails, picnic facilities, 72 campsites, wildlife, restrooms & showers.

Best Western Gold Canyon Inn & Suites
8333 E Sunrise Sky Dr, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118
(480) 671-6000

Gold Canyon Golf Resort & Spa
6100 S Kings Ranch Rd, Gold Canyon, AZ 85218
(480) 982-9090

Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport
6907 E Ray Rd, Mesa, AZ 85212
(480) 351-7088

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson
6650 E Superstition Springs Blvd, Mesa, AZ 85206
(480) 641-8000

Best Western Superstition Springs Inn
1342 S Power Rd, Mesa, AZ 85206
(480) 641-1164


We do not recommend anyone to stay in a motel between Highway 202 and Meridian Drive.



See this map for specific locations of orienteering venues, airports, places to stay, and things to see and do!


The terrain in Arizona mostly consists of lightly vegetated desert and grassland. The visibility is often quite high and the running speed very fast. The terrain ranges from true desert orienteering at elevations around 2500'/750m (Tucson) and 1700'/525m (Phoenix) to mountain foothill grasslands at 5400'/1600m. There is plenty of cactus and other vegetation that can hurt you but it is usually easily avoided. Check out our map samples page for a taste of the challenge. 

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Featured Clue Symbol


To see all the orienteering control symbols and their descriptions, read the International Specification for Control Descriptions (pdf).