Orienteering is a competitive international sport that combines racing with navigation. Here at the Discovery Museums, we think it’s a great way to play in the woods! 

Follow a very detailed map to find your way to pre-set markers by following details such as trails, stone walls, and changes in elevation. This requires more care than simply following the colored blazes painted on trees—and is more satisfying. 

Instructions

Located in the Great Hill conservation land adjacent to The Discovery Museums are 12 orange and white markers attached to trees. The location of these markers is indicated on the course map by purple circles with an identifying letter nearby. In the middle of each circle is a feature such as a boulder, a bend in the trail, or the end of a stone wall. The legend on the map helps in identifying these features.

THINK about your best route to the next marker. It will rarely be a direct path. Is it quicker to follow a stone wall or a trail? Do you want to walk around a wet area or through it?

If you feel unsure of where you are on the map, retrace your steps back to the last place you were sure of and proceed more slowly.

Cautions

Although the woods are relatively safe, there are inherent dangers which could cause injury. Slips, insect bites, branch scrapes, and contact with poison ivy are all real possibilities in the woods. Pay attention to where you step and to what is around you to avoid injury. “Short Loop” and “Around the Pond” are courses that can be completed while staying on the trail. For “Off Trail Challenge” long pants and confidence following a map are recommended. 

More information about Great Hill conservation land is available at: http://www.actontrails.org/great-hill/

Times given are estimates and will vary widely based on your age and how many times you get lost! All courses are intended to be traveled in a counter-clockwise direction. Traditional maps of the conservation land are also available for those who prefer to select their own route. 

In this Exhibit

Short Loop (20-30 minutes)

Short Loop is our shortest and easiest course, with 6 markers. All markers are easily visible from the trail.

View and download the map and instructions here. You can also pick up a copy at the front desk.

Around the Pond (30-45 minutes)

Around the Pond is a medium course with 7 markers. All markers are visible from the trail.

View and download the map and instructions here. You can also pick up a copy at the front desk.

Off Trail Challenge (45+ minutes)

Off Trail Challenge is our longest and most difficult course, with 10 markers. Long pants and confidence following a map are recommended.

View and download the map and instructions here. You can also pick up a copy at the front desk.