Nashoba Brook Orienteering Course

Eagle Scout Jake L…. of Troop 591 in Westford, MA designed and supervised the construction of an orienteering course in the Nashoba Brook Watershed area as his Eagle Service Project.

The course allows visitors to test their map and compass skill while enjoying hiking the trails around Kennedy Pond. The course lengths will vary, but the average course will be for ¼ to 1½ mile in length. The orienteering course is marked by 4×4 posts placed at trail intersections in the conservation area. Each post is marked with a unique symbol.

Visitors follow the course directions to plot a course along the trails using compass bearings and distance to locate the course posts in order. If the directions are followed accurately, the order you find the posts will match the “answer key” on the brochure.

Courses start from either the Trailside Way or Texas Road parking areas and copies of the brochures can be found at the trailhead kiosks.  A practice course is also provided around the perimeter of the Trailside Way parking lot to get you started.

Copies of the brochures are also provided through the links below in PDF format that you can print and take with you before your hike.

Trailside Way Courses 1-3

Trailside Way Course 4

Texas Road Orienteering Courses

Visit the Westford Conservation Trust for more information about the Nashoba Brook Watershed and other conservation properties in Westford.


  1. The Scoutmaster says:

    Recently, as part of his Eagle project, Life Scout Matt L… completed a new set of orienteering courses through the Watershed beginning at the Texas Road parking area. The new brochure is posted with the main article above.
    This brings the total to 7 courses throughout the Nashoba Brook Watershed designed and build by the Scouts from Troop 591!
    Congratulations to Matt for successfully completing his project!

  2. Noah Deweese says:

    Hello I am a Life scout in Troop 200, paducah kentucky and I am working on constructing a orienteering course as my eagle project.. Any helpful tips?

  3. The Scoutmaster says:

    Hi Noah and thanks for stopping by!

    Probably the most important thing is to check with the land manager to understand the rules before starting your project! In our case, the Conservation Commission required us to have the course follow existing trails. No bushwhacking or direct compass courses were allowed to prevent forming new trails or disturbing existing vegetation and wildlife.

    Even though we were restricted to existing trails, you can still design a challenging course. Site your markers where several trails meet or where two trails diverge at almost the same compass direction. Set the course so it loops back on itself several times, but at different waypoints. If you have 3 or more waypoints along a particular trail, use distance along with direction to make the user come up with the right sequence. Most hikers will simply hike until they find the 1st marker, so order them such that the 1st marker is seldom the correct waypoint (order them 3-1-2 instead of 1-2-3). Set your course to cross trail intersections that aren’t marked on the course so the hiker has to make the correct mid-course decision.

    Another good tip is to take the hiker off the main trail to places that are not as well traveled. Not only will this be more of a challenge for the hiker, he’ll appreciate finding new areas to explore. Set markers near some special hidden places in the area. If you know of a pool in a stream or a meadow with wildflowers in the spring or a small cave off the beaten track, these make the exploration all that more fun.

    Use your fellow Scouts to help plan and evaluate the course. Have them run it several times with temporary markers and get their feedback on just how easy or difficult the course was to follow.

    Most of all have fun with it! It’s a great way to get people out hiking and exploring parks and conservation land and will be very much appreciated by the land owners.

    Best of luck!