Orienteering was initially only a part of military training and military events. It’s beginning as a sport can be traced back to Scandinavia, which was around the nineteenth century.

The credit for the development of the modern-day orienteering in 1919 goes to Ernst Killander, who is also considered the father of orienteering. Eventually, the development of the new, more quick and precise compass by three Swedish orienteers lead to an advancement in this sport around the early stages of the 1930s.

Orienteering in the United States

As far as the United States is concerned, orienteering was introduced here in 1946. And since, has made its way into becoming one of the popular recreational sports to indulge in by the Americans.

Lucky for us, the national parks in the U.S. provide some of the most lovely spots for orienteering. Here are some of the best U.S national parks for unleashing the inner orienteer enthusiast in you.

Rocky Mountain National Park

The first place to explore orienteering is the Rocky Mountain National Park. The orienteering programs held here are perfect for people with all experience levels. The orienteering trips held here are usually around 6-8 hours long and is available all 7 days of the week.

The orienteering spots in the Rocky Mountain National Park can mainly be divided into two parts. These are ‘the western part’ and the eastern part’ of the park.

The western orienteering spots include Cascade Creek, Hague Creek, Nakai Peak, and Upper North Inlet. Whereas the eastern spots for orienteering include South Cache La Poudre, Upper Forest Canyon, Lower Forest Canyon, and Hayden Gorge. 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The valley, river, post-glacier downward cutting, and brooks of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park provide for a variety of terrain for challenging and diverse orienteering trails. The forests, cliffs, and briars also make the orienteering experience more thrilling. Brandywine Falls, Bike & Hike Trail & Towpath Trail, and Winking Lizard Tavern are some of the orienteering spots here. Northeast Ohio Orienteering Club is tone of the main clubs that organizes programs, courses, classes and competitions in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

Petrified Forest National Park

The beautiful Petrified Forest National Park is another national park in the United States which allows orienteering on its grounds. Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club and the Tucson Orienteering Club are some of the clubs which organize orienteering programs and competitions every year here. They organize events called “Rogaines” where orienteering enthusiasts engage in navigation activities using only the proved maps and compasses. 

Kings Mountain National Park

Orienteering at the Kings Mountain National Park is one of the best ways to enhance your skills and also explore the park’s beauty. There are several orienteering programs available for people of all skills level. WNC Orienteering Club organizes some beginner level orienteering classes as well. These classes or sessions normally last 3 hours and are divided like this; 1 hour of classroom slides, 1 hour of field practice and drills, and 1 hour is dedicated for the beginner’s level orienteering course.