Get better at orienteering

Orienteering is about DISCOVERY: Picking up the basics is easy, but there's always something new to learn.  Read on for tips on getting better.

Course review and reflection

When you're done with your course:

  • Stick around and talk with other orienteers about how they navigated between points. Plus:
  • Save your maps for future study
  • Draw your route on them as best you can remember
Permanent courses

Permanent courses are a great way enjoy orienteering and work on your technique between NTOA events. A "permanent" course (though they're not really permanent; they're always designed to be updated or removed) course contains control locations designated on a map and set up within a park or camp. At the control locations, you'll find some kind of marker, often with an orange-and-white sticker or plaque. North Texas Orienteering Association has installed a handful of permanent courses, with more in planning stage. Note that they have different mechanisms to access maps.

Publicly accessible

1. Bob Woodruff and Oak Point Parks, Plano (Link to Google Map.)

* Note that the Bob Woodruff permanent course is temporarily unavailable due to maintenance. Several of the plaques are damaged or missing so the related courses will not work until they are replaced next month. If you have any questions, please contact us at email:

Unique, smartphone-enabled course installed by NTOA member Jared Chrisman (left) as his BSA Eagle Scout project in 2014. Look for plaques with the familiar orange-and-white symbol and a QR code (see left next to Jared).

To access: You'll find plaques throughout the park on manmade objects. Scan any code with your smartphone, and Jared's program will randomly generate a 10-control course! Scan each control in order. Note: any issues with the course should be taken up with NTOA, not Plano Parks.

2. Gateway Park, Fort Worth Link to Google Map

Our newest permanent course is the Eagle Scout project of George Gulde, Troop 9, Longhorn Council, with support from NTOA's Gene Wernette. George has set up three courses at Gateway Park in Fort Worth: White course (beginners), Yellow course (experienced beginners), and Orange (intermediate). Or, you can try to find all the controls on the map. What to look for: brown trail markers with orange-and-white stickers.

To access: Download and print the PDF documents needed.


3. Tyler State Park, Tyler Link to Google Map.

This is a traditional permanent course in natural, wooded terrain. Look for brown trail markers with orange-and-white stickers.

To access: Maps are available for purchase at the Park Store and include suggested easy, intermediate and more advanced courses by taking controls in different order. NTOA also has an annual event at Tyler State Park in April. 

Boy Scout Access Only

In coordination with the Circle Ten Council, NTOA has also installed permanent courses at two BSA scout locations:

  • Trevor Rees-Jones Camp (AKA Clements Scout Ranch), Athens
  • Camp James Ray, Pottsboro

To access: Contact Circle Ten Council for information on how to access these courses, as well as obtain maps

Online training resources

Orienteering USA: Check out the OUSA site for training materials and tips. Look for the link to their vast repository of orienteering coaching resources (via Google Doc). Ready to REALLY geek out on orienteering exercises? Check out, an amazing wiki developed by the folks at the international orienteering news site World of O. Whatever your weakness, they have the antidote!