What the Course Colors Mean

In orienteering, the courses are named by color, using a scheme established by the U.S. Orienteering Federation.   Generally, the longer courses involve more challenges, and more difficult off-trail navigation.


The short introductory course.  Perfect for those who are unsure of themselves in the forest, or who have little or no topographic map experience.

Challenge: Easy navigation, mostly on trails or along streams and lakes.

Length: Under 3 km.


The long introductory course.  For those with some basic knowledge of map reading and terrain identification.

Challenge: Navigation problems are easy to moderate.  It is always near easy to identify features and trails.

Length: 3-5km


The intermediate course.  For those with moderate experience in map reading, or those who are ready for more than the yellow course challenge.   Ideally, much time is spent off trails.

Challenge: Navigation problems are all moderately difficult.   Uses major, or the more evident, terrain features.

Length: 4-7km


All are advanced courses of different lengths.

Challenges: The navigational challenges are at the same level of difficulty.   Course design gives maximum amount of time off trails

Length: Courses become progressively longer in length, requiring better physical conditioning.  Brown 3-5km,  Green 4-7km,   Red 6-10km,  Blue 8-14km.

Click here for even more detailed information on the differences!