Backcountry Navigation with a Map and Compass

9:00am1:00pm PST
More dates

$79 for REI Members

$109 for non-members

View more dates


  • Fitness level 2 Easy Active
  • Minimum age 14
  • Group size 8 people
  • Instructor REI Experiences Guide

During this class, our instructors will help you understand a topographic map, proper use of your compass, and how to put the two together. You'll learn about magnetic north, true north, and magnetic variation (declination). After covering these fundamentals, you'll get time to practice taking a bearing from the terrain and your map so that you can make sense of your position and plan a route. This engaging course is a great introduction to outdoor navigation and map reading! Please arrive 5-10 minutes prior to the start time listed and come prepared with personal snacks and water. Participants under 18 must be accompanied registered adult.

  • Confidently comprehend a topographic map
  • Learn to calculate declination
  • Use a compass to take a bearing, plot your position on a map, and develop a route plan.

What to bring with you


Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the course for check-in and plan accordingly for travel time. Course starts promptly at 9am. Late arrivals cannot be accommodated as this disrupts the experience for all other participants on the course.

Map image of China Camp State Park, Marin County: Village Beach

More directions and information

Pay $5 at the pay station in the village. Meet us at the south end of the beach near the green shack.