Trail Orienteering

About Trail-O

In trail orienteering, the map knowledge is in focus. Each control has up to five different control flags. From a distance from a path or road, you need to determine which flag that is placed correctly according to the control circle on the map and the control description. 

Everyone competes at the same terms regardless of gender, age and mobility in classes with different difficulty levels. The terrain is easily accessible, i.e., paths and roads that are accessible for wheelchairs, bikes etc. 

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The map

In TrailO, the map is enlarged with the scale of 1:5 000 most commonly used in competition contexts, even though map scales of 1:2 000-1:10 000 also may be used. 

The course

Here you can see an orienteering map with parts of a printed orienteering course for TrailO. Below the map, there is also the related control description that indicates where the control, in more detail, is located. A course consists of 15 to 30 controls and each control has up to five flags, where you need to decide which of them that is the right one.

The length of the course is usually about 2 kilometers, with an ample of time available. The maximum time is calculated based on both the course length together with the number of controls and is usually about 2 hours. 


Competition map from the TrailO World Championship, 2016 in Strömstad. 

The control

The controls that the orienteer aims at finding consists of different types of terrain features, such as boulders, knolls, re-entrants etc. These are marked on the map with a circle and in the terrain with orange-white fabric flags. At each control, 1-5 flags are placed, and it is the task for the competitor to determine which of flag that has the correct placement. In the elite and A-class, there is also the possibility that none of the flags are placed correctly, a so-called false control. 


Disciplines and distances

The competition sport of TrailO is practised at several different distances and in several different forms. 

Long distance

The original distance for competition. Course length is about 2-2,5 kilometers with 15-20 controls and 2-4 time controls. Long distance takes place both as day and night competitions.


TempO is a distance that only contains time controls. The challenge is to decide the correct flag as quickly as possible.

The individual distances are usually performed with individual start in 2-minute intervals, but there is also mass starts where everyone starts at the same time. 

Team competition

occurs where the individual members separate results are added together. 

Multiple-stage competition

a number of competitions which are carried out for several consecutive days, with O-Ringen being the largest one. The Elite Series and the A-cup are other examples of multiple-stage competitions. 


Each team must visit and solve a number of controls. In a 3-man team, each team member solves 1/3 of the tasks. Which team member who is responsible for which controls and how to distribute the time available, is up to the teams themselves to decide.


Find competitions and read more about TrailO at the website of the Swedish Orienteering Federation.