Running & Orienteering

Add a new dimension – “Thinking” – to your running.  Go orienteering at Monte Sano State Park for some of your training runs.  It will add variety and spice up your usual, drab, boring runs.  It’s good for kids too.

What’s orienteering?  Orienteering is a land navigation sport using a map and compass; primarily the information on the map.  Orienteering can be done while walking or running or a combination of the two.

A 15-point permanent orienteering course is located on the south plateau with most of the location markers on the trail network.  The course is laid out for beginners.  Several location markers are a short distance off the trail in the woods.  Visiting a location off of a trail gives one the opportunity to improve navigational skills.  The course may have more locations than you can get to during one visit to the park.  One can locate as many of the points as time and energy allow.  Since decisions and route choices have to be made Orienteering is called the “Thinking Sport.”

Course layout is shown on a topographical map.  Course maps are free and can be obtained at the park office.  The map also includes information about orienteering and details about the designated course points.  The first control point of the course is near the Hiker’s Parking Lot, which is about 150 meters from the park office.

A color map can be viewed and printed from Color map link #1 or Color map link #2.

Even though the course can probably be navigated without a compass, it is a good idea to take one, just in case.  It can also help in staying oriented.

For questions about the Monte Sano orienteering course or to discuss the sport, contact Steve Rice, 256-880-9374,

More information on orienteering is available from the Orienteering USA, P.O. Box 505, Ridgewood, MD, 21139

The closest orienteering club is the Vulcan Orienteering Club in Birmingham, AL


The orienteering course is located on the south plateau of Monte Sano and as such is in the close proximity to a number of sheer rock faces and other dangerous areas.  Extreme caution should be exercised on the trails, and especially during any off trail excursions.  The Huntsville Track Club assumes no liability for your use of this orienteering course.  Proceed at your own risk.