The Putney Woods map is all woodsy trails, with widespread underbrush alongside, reminiscent of Bridle Trails. But there are several key differences. First, there are areas of lighter vegetation in light-green areas that are accessible off-trail, offering a wider degree of navigational options, especially for more advanced navigators.

Novice orienteers should be aware that the northern part of the map doe not have a street border; it is directly adjacent to Saratoga Woods park, making it possible to end up off-map with a single turn onto the (one and only) wrong trail. (Note to course-setters: This is a good place for an out-of-bounds sign during the event).

Many trails follow an almost grid-like patterns, making parallel feature errors possible, while others in hilly areas wind almost randomly up and down terrain. There are plenty of areas to practice contour recognition. One area to watch out for is the center-south part of the map; several trails lead into this open, appealing navigational area–but it is private property and should be avoided! (Note to course setters: Another good place for out-of-bounds signs).

Putney Woods map sample

Note: Samples of the map are provided here for educational purposes only; the map shown here is not kept up-to-date. The course shown is a Beginner/Intermediate course, and actual controls do not exist in the terrain.

The purpose of providing these navigational and physical ratings below is to provide greater context for how challenging an orienteering course at this venue might be. For example, an advanced-level course at a local city park will be easier to complete than an advanced-level course in the mountains.

Navigational Challenge Rating: 7/10

Physical Challenge Rating: 6/10