Northern California Chapter

The regional chapter for Northern California, centered on the San Francisco Bay Area, was established in January 2011. Broadly stated, the purpose of this local chapter is to keep members connected to the Camino and to introduce new people to the phenomenon. We accomplish this in a number of ways, such as social events, walks, mentoring future pilgrims and serving as a local host for hospitalero training through American Pilgrims.

Chapter events are listed here and on our Facebook group page. If you live in the area, request to join the group.

We can also pair you with an experienced pilgrim who can answer your questions on how to prepare and what to expect. Contact chapter coordinators Laurie Ferris and Guy Joaquin at [email protected] to be added to the chapter email list or to be connected with a mentor.

Scheduled Events
Mt. Tam Hike
Sunday, September 16, 2018, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Join the Northern California Chapter and enjoy the panoramic views of the bay and ocean as we hike along the trails of Mt. Tamalpais. The distance is 9 miles with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet. Expect the pace to be at a moderate speed. Hiking poles may be useful on the uphill stretches. Bring lunch and water; no water available at meeting location.

Meet us a bit before 10:00 AM for sign-in and briefing at the Rock Spring Trailhead on Mt. Tamalpais. Led by chapter steering committee member, Dick Duker. Cancelled by rain. If lost getting to the hike, call Dick’s cell phone at (510) 705-2447. No RSVP required. 

Getting There

By Car: From San Francisco and the south, take Hwy 101 North and from the north and east, take Hwy 101 South to Mill Valley (from the East Bay, cross the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge). Take the Hwy 1 exit and continue on Hwy 1. Turn right onto Panoramic Highway, drive around the mountain and turn right onto Pantoll Road. Drive 1.2 miles to the Rock Spring Trailhead parking lot (free parking, restrooms available). For more/other directions, use Google Maps. 

Carpooling: If you want a ride or can give one, post a message to this event listed on our Facebook Group page. Suggested meeting points are the Park & Ride lot at the Hwy1/Hwy 101 intersection in Mill Valley at 9:15 AM and the Orinda BART station parking lot at 8:45 AM. 

What to Bring: Water and a lunch, sturdy walking shoes, hiking poles (optional), plastic bag to sit on. Also, some cash for a possible post-hike stop or to help out your carpool driver.

Level of Difficulty: 2B (6 to less than 10 miles, less than 2,000 ft elevation gain)

Ongoing Events
Lake Merritt Walks
First Saturday of the month, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Join us on this walk that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. We meet at the Pergola (aka "The Columns") on the east side of Oakland's Lake Merritt at 10:30 AM and start walking by 10:45 AM. It's a level, 3.3-mile walk around the lake that takes about an hour. Whether you’re a newbie or Camino veteran, everyone is welcome. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit!

Directions: Take BART to the Lake Merritt or 19th Street Oakland station and navigate your way to the Pergola (~1.5 mi walk). If you drive, make sure to give yourself enough time to find parking, as there are many activities on Saturday mornings in the Lake Merritt area. FYI: There is a small fee lot at the corner of Euclid and Grand Avenues that is close to the Pergola. There is usually an optional brunch and, sometimes, a special presentation after the walk for those interested in gathering with other pilgrims to talk about the Camino. It would be a good idea to bring cash to pay. To RSVP, join the our chapter Facebook Group page and go to the "Events" section. Look for "Lake Merritt Walk."

The program at our 2017 Welcome Home celebration included short "10x10" presentations on Camino routes “beyond the francés."

2017 Pilgrim Blessing and Spring Potluck

Other Resource Documents:


CaminoFlix Lending Library (an exclusive program for American Pilgrim members):
Among the many benefits of American Pilgrims membership, chapter members are eligible to borrow DVDs and other items from our CaminoFlix Library for free. Learn more at CaminoFlixLibrary.pdf.

Member Camino Blogs and Websites:

  • Laurie Ferris maintains a blog dedicated to planning for the Camino and sharing stories about the pilgrim's journey. You'll find her Camino portugués, inglés, primitivo and finisterre travelogues at
  • San Franciscan Mike Miller has written about his Camino experiences on the portugués, francés, primitivo and finisterre. His blog address is

To stay connected with us, join our chapter Facebook Group page. You can also visit American Pilgrims on Facebook for great dialogue, photos and a running commentary about the Camino from like-minded pilgrims around the country.

Rev 09/07/18