Central Iowa Chapter

The Central Iowa chapter of American Pilgrims serves the central Iowa area, including Des Moines and its neighboring communities, and extending north to Ames. The purpose of local chapters is to keep members connected to the Camino and to introduce new people to the phenomenon. We plan to accomplish this in a number of ways:

     • Offering opportunities for local pilgrims to gather for social events, monthly hikes, and Camino-inspired activities
     • Mentoring future pilgrims
     • Promoting the pilgrimage and American Pilgrims through educational programming
     • Serving as a local host for hospitalero training in Iowa

Chapter events will be scheduled well in advance and will be listed on the Central Iowa Chapter Website, as well as on our Facebook page (Central Iowa Chapter - American Pilgrims on the Camino). 

Contact chapter coordinators Dawn Bratch-Prince and Sarah Hybels at [email protected] for more information.


To be added to the chapter's e-mail list, or for more information about the chapter and its activities or about membership in American Pilgrims, contact us at [email protected].

• You've arrived! You have your compostela. You've attended the Pilgrims' Mass. You've hugged the Saint. Now what? You need to scan through this blog entry by the venerable Johnnie Walker: 20 things to see and do in Santiago de Compostela.

• There are a thousand and one packing lists out there but THIS is our take on the topic.

Scheduled Events
Contact us through [email protected] to find out what we're doing!

Camino 101: Introduction to the Camino de Santiago
Saturday, November 3, 2018, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

REI West Des Moines Store, 5901 Mills Civic Pkwy #4100, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

 Have you been dreaming about walking the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) pilgrimage route across northern Spain, but are not sure where to start? Let our experienced local pilgrims help you get started! This class will cover the historical and cultural background of the medieval Camino, as well as the practicalities of walking the route, including lodging at albergues, local food, and gear. Get tips on how to plan and train for the long distance walk, which Camino to choose, and the best times of year to go.Whether you are looking for adventure, a fitness challenge, or a spiritual pilgrimage, you will learn enough to know if the Camino de Santiago is the walk for you.

To guarantee a seat, please sign up for this event at: https://www.rei.com/event/camino-101what-is-the-camino-de-santiago-historyculture/west-des-moines/222067. 
Contact us through [email protected] for more information!

Camino 201: Packing for the Camino de Santiago
Sunday, November 11, 2018, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

REI West Des Moines Store, 5901 Mills Civic Pkwy #4100, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

Experienced local pilgrims will discuss the specific clothing and gear options best suited for those planning to walk the Camino de Santiago, the 500-mile pilgrimage route through northern Spain which was popularized in the United States by the film The Way (2011). Because pilgrims aim to carry as little as possible as they trek from town to town, walking any portion of the Camino can be challenging. We will demonstrate sample gear and share our best tips for packing. Come learn about what to carry on your Camino, or come prepared to share your own experience!

To guarantee a seat, please sign up for this event at: https://www.rei.com/event/camino-201-packing-for-the-camino-de-santiago/west-des-moines/222068Contact us through [email protected] for more information!

Camino 301: A Typical Day on the Camino (panel of experienced pilgrims) 
Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 6:00 - 7:30 PM

515 Brewing Company, 7700 University Ave, Clive, Iowa 50325

A panel of experienced local pilgrims provides pilgrims-to-be with more detail about the logistics of the journey. What does a typical day look like? We share what to expect from a “typical” day on the Camino, including: the experience of sleeping in an albergue; lodging options and how to choose; personal hygiene; washing clothes; carrying your backpack or having it transported; taking the train or bus; phone and wifi access; money and budgeting; and food and meals. Any and all questions are welcome!

Although not at the REI Store, this is an REI event. To guarantee a seat you will want to sign up for this event at: https://www.rei.com/event/camino-301-a-typical-day-on-the-camino-de-santiago/clive/222084. Contact us through [email protected] for more information!

Are you interested in learning more about the Camino?
The Central Iowa Camino Mentor Program can pair individuals who have questions about their upcoming Camino with a nearby veteran who can answer questions. Contact [email protected] for details. Experienced Camino walkers and cyclists who would like to serve as mentors should contact us so that you can be added to our resource list. Potential mentors should provide us with your name, ZIP-code and a brief rundown of your experience including walking or cycling, which route and when. Also you can visit American Pilgrims on the Camino on Facebook for great dialogue, photos and a running commentary about the Camino from like-minded pilgrims.

Rev 10/17/18