Willow Dells

Sat, Oct 23, 2021
5-Hour Adventure Race, 3-Hour Score-O

Start/finish location: Heritage Park, Prescott

[image:O flag] Pre-Register (Deadline: Thursday, October 21 at 11:59 PM)
[image:O flag] Willow Dells (Heritage Park) Directions
[image:O flag] Google Map Placemark
[image:O flag] Safety Plan

Time Item Location
Adventure Race
Saturday, 7:00 AM Check-in/Registration Opens Heritage Park
Saturday, 7:45 AM Mandatory Pre-Race Briefing
Saturday, 8:00 AM Mass Start
Saturday, 1:00 PM Adventure Race Course Closes
Saturday, 8:00 AM Check-in/Registration Opens Heritage Park
Saturday, 8:15 AM Score-O Course Opens
Saturday, 10:30 AM Last Time to Start Score-O
Saturday, 1:30 PM Score-O Course Closes


We hope you'll consider joining us for another day of navigation fun in Prescott. On Saturday, October 23, the Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club is hosting navigation events in one of the most unique landscapes in Arizona - the Granite Dells. The area is rich with rugged granite outcroppings that offer numerous orienteering challenges. The contour lines are derived from LIDAR sensor data, so the terrain mapping is highly detailed. We also have access to private land owned by Prescott College. This gives us more of the Dells area to explore.

We are offering both a 3-hour combined Classic/Score-O course and a 5-hour Adventure Race. The Adventure Race adds biking and water segments to the foot orienteering.

Note: Heritage Park Day-Use Parking Pass: $3.00.
There is a fee of $3.00 per vehicle to park in Heritage Park. You pay the fee at kiosks inside the park. You can also purchase a year parking pass here.


To make this event as safe as reasonably possible in the current COVID-19 environment, we are taking the following measures:

  • All individuals (or family units) will maintain a six-foot separation at all times.
  • Team sizes are limited to 6 people or less.
  • The registration/pay station is largely self-serve. We highly recommend bringing exact change to minimize the exchange of money.
  • We'll have a Timer on-hand to issue maps and record timing.
  • A hand-washing station is provided on a table adjacent to the registration table. Please wash hands before and after registering/signing waivers/paying/picking up score cards and clue sheets. Please also bring your own hand towel for that purpose.
  • No water is available on the courses. We also will NOT provide our usual complementary snacks and drinks at the Start/Finish area. Bring your own snacks and water for a full day of orienteering.
  • There is no beginners' clinic.


Participants who pre-register for the event benefit from our priority pricing.

While on-site registration is still available, pricing for on-site registration is more expensive. In addition, we'll print some extra maps for each of our events, but we cannot guarantee a map for those who do not pre-register.

Pre-Registration is open until Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 11:59 PM. After the pre-registration closes, you can still try your luck and register on-site. We will have pre-printed maps for everyone who pre-registers. We cannot guarantee a map for those who register on-site.

Click [image:O flag] here to pre-register.

Parental Consent:

Parental Consent Now Required (Click here for more information)

All participants under age 18 are now required to have a signed parental consent form on file with the club. You can complete the form before the event and either scan it and send it to us by e-mail or bring it with you to the event.


Standard club fees apply for all events. Click here to open a page with more information about our club fees. The fee schedule is also repeated at the bottom of this webpage.


Foot Orienteering

The 3-hour foot orienteering section includes both a classic course (point-to-point) and a Score-O.

“Pre-qualifying” Classic Course: While the many twisting cliffs and canyons of the Dells provide a challenge to advanced orienteers, it may also lead to potentially hazardous situations for orienteers who are not skilled at map reading (as in, getting stuck on a cliff!). For this reason, we have designed a shorter classic course which offers easier travel to/from the control points and reduces the possibility of injury and stress. ALL ORIENTEERS MUST SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THE CLASSIC COURSE BEFORE THEY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE SCORE-O COURSE.

Score-O Course: The Score-O includes a number of destinations that participants can visit in any order. Control destinations are valued based on their navigation difficulty, distance from the start/finish, etc. Scoring is based on the controls visited by the participants.

Time Limit, Scoring: The three hour elapsed time limit is for BOTH the classic and Score-O courses. Overall event scoring is based solely on the the Score-O point score, subject to our usual overtime penalties. We will post timing results for the Classic Course.

Adventure Race

The adventure race includes 4 segments:

  • Trek. The classic course will serve as the “Trekking” portion of the adventure race (no UTM plotting required). The Score-O segment will occur sometime after the Trekking segment. Successful completion of the Trekking classic course is required before AR competitors are allowed on the Score-O course.
  • Watercraft. Competitors will travel to up to 4 destinations using human-powered watercraft. One or more of the water destinations is mandatory. Mandatory controls are accessible on foot, so technically, having a watercraft is not required. However, we've designed the water course so that traveling by foot will take nearly double the time that it takes traveling by water. Also, one or more of the water destinations is not accessible by foot.

    For the watercraft, no motors or sails are allowed. Example watercraft include kayak, canoe, paddle board, pack raft, air matress, an inflatable dragon, etc. All team members must visit the water destination markers together. (You aren't allowed to send one member to one control and another member to a second control, and all members of the team must be within 100 meters of each other at all times.)

  • Bike. Participants will travel to a number of destination markers by mountain bike. The trails vary in difficulty, from easy to slightly technical.

  • Score-O. This is the same Score-O course described above. Participants are allowed on the Score-O only if they visit all of the controls on the Trek portion of the course.

Additional details of our Adventure Race events are found here. There is no UTM plotting. Teams are comprised of 1 to 4 individuals.

The winner is the team that collects the most points in the least amount of time. There is a 5-hour time limit. There is a penalty of 1 point deducted for every 5 minutes after the time limit. If the team returns at 1:00 PM and one second, the penalty is one point. Returning at 1:05 is still a one point penalty. Returning at 1 second after 1:05 PM is a two point penalty. Teams arriving after 1:30 PM are marked DNF (Did Not Finish).

Notes on the terrain

Even on the trekking course, some rock scrambling over boulders is necessary to follow a route. The rock scrambling is often physically exerting, slows down navigation, and can elevate the risk of injury. The Score-O course is more physically exerting than the Trekking course. The good news is that traction on the granite is excellent.

Notes on the map

There are too many boulders and cliffs in this area to map clearly. Instead, orienteers will rely on the 5-m contours to identify cliff areas and boulder outcroppings. The one exception is that we use the “boulder field” symbol to mark prominent reentrants that have large boulders that require a lot of rock scrambling. The intent is to use these symbols for route planning (think of it as the equivalent of “dark green” vegetation mapping—very slow going…). Vegetation mapping is limited to travel through areas near the controls.

Note that some trails marked on the map are “slick rock” trails going across granite. In these cases, you need to “follow the white dots”, as no distinct trail is visible.

What to Bring:

The list below is the minimum recommended equipment for the Score-O.

  • Whistle (Mandatory for all. Available for purchase for $1)
  • Compass (Mandatory for all. Available for rent for $1)
  • Water. Water is NOT available at the start/finish . We also DO NOT have water stations on the course. You are strongly encouraged to bring your own water bottles or a camelback.
  • Sun screen. While there is shade on all the courses, we encourage you to protect yourself from sunburn.
  • Sturdy hiking shoes and long pants are recommended. You may encounter some thick brush and loose terrain.
  • Bike helmet (mandatory for the adventure race).
  • Personal floatation device (mandatory for the adventure race).

See the General Adventure Race description for mandatory and suggested gear.


There are numerous choices for motels in the Prescott area. For those of you who are feeling a little more adventurous, there are campgrounds and dispersed camping in the Prescott National Forest surrounding Flagstaff.


[image:O flag] Directions to the Willow Dells (Heritage Park) event site.
[image:O flag] Willow Dells Safety Plan