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FAQ

  • The average high temperature in Tucson and Phoenix in late February/early March is around 70F / 22C, with morning lows down around 40F/5C. It’s usually sunny, though it’s possible to get a few rainy or cloudy days (or even a wee bit of snow overnight) if a Pacific winter storm survives the trek across the mountains. On Day 4 at slightly higher elevation, the temperatures may be a bit lower.

  • For a trip to southern Arizona in February you’ll probably want to have some shorts and t-shirts for the afternoons but warmer clothes for the mornings. Full leg covering is recommended for most of the orienteering and some people prefer to cover their arms, too, both for protection from the sun as well as for protection against the occasional run-in with something sharp.

     

  • The first seven days (Saturday to Friday) take place near Tucson, while the final weekend take place in the outskirts of Phoenix.

  • It’s true, there’s cactus in the Sonoran desert! Thankfully most of the vegetation is spread out so that it’s easy to run around and between the things that might hurt you — you just have to make sure not to lose yourself in your map for too long at a time! 

    If you do find yourself with a cholla ball in your shoe or leg just take your compass and your map in each hand and pop it out.  

  • Tucson itself is a down-to-earth southwest city. It’s a modern city, but it still has a lot of flare of the 1970s (signs, cars, old buildings) with a historic downtown from the 1800s and a bustling old 4th street. There are mountain ranges and canyons surrounding the city. One of the nation’s top ten museums (according to Trip Advisor rankings) is here – The Desert Museum. There are great points for stargazing, sunsets and beautiful hikes and runs.  Many take pleasure in the clear and sunny desert skies. For a full list of activities see the Things to Do page. A short drive away are historic and very cool mining and old Wild West towns.

  • Orienteering at the competitive level is a race through (usually) the woods (or desert), using a map and a compass, where you visit checkpoints in a prescribed order as fast as possible. There are all different kinds of races (in the city, in parks, in the woods, at night).  There are races for all levels. Each day's description will let you know what the best option for beginners is. 

     

    Children, families, and groups are welcome and at some events there are lessons in the morning. All necessary equipment is available to rent for a small fee.

     

    The Tucson Orienteering Club also offers beginner workshops throughout the year!

  • Kids are of course welcome to the events all week. There will be novice options offered each day. Little ones who aren’t up to completing a whole course are free to do as few controls as they’d like and we’ll credit them with finishing their own custom course!

  • E-punches and compasses are available to borrow / rent. You’ll need one in order to complete the weekend races.

    Beginners & Families:
    Wear comfortable shoes and the same clothes you would for a walk or hike, including some water and snacks. Long pants are advised when going off the trails. 

  • There are no NREs on the schedule this year. Southwest Spring Week is an aggressively casual week of orienteering. We hope you will come and enjoy being able to choose to take every day as seriously or easy going as you like.

    The first seven days (Saturday to Friday) take place near Tucson, while the final weekend take place in the outskirts of Phoenix.

  • Yes, the southwest USA is full of stunning and historical road trip stops in all directions. North towards the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, West towards the coast of California including Los Angeles, East towards New Mexico and South towards Mexico and Baja California. Short flights are also readily available from Southwest Airlines and many other companies from Tucson and Phoenix.

  • Camping in the open spaces of the desert is a unique, lovely experience and we encourage you to camp if you are so inclined! The days are beautiful and the nights are cold as nightly lows can reach 20 degrees F / -7 C. 

    Catalina State Park camping is convenient for our Sunday and Monday events. Find information about camping fees and reservations at https://azstateparks.com/catalina/camping-and-rvs/rv-and-tent-camping . Average low is 41 degrees F, record low is 19 degrees F.

    More info about camping on the logistics page.

    The first seven days (Saturday to Friday) take place near Tucson, while the final weekend take place in the outskirts of Phoenix.

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