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.

You can always contact us through [email protected] to find out what we're up to!

Lands End Hike & Labyrinth Walk
Saturday, January 26, 2019, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Welcome the New Year with the Northern California Chapter with a hike and labyrinth walk at the end of the world! This 12-mile loop route starts at the historic Beach Chalet building at Ocean Beach. This year we're reversing the course. We'll walk through Golden Gate Park, on a short section through city streets, then through the forested Presidio, by Andy Goldsworthy's “Spire.” At the Golden Gate Bridge, we'll enjoy the fresh sea air and sweeping views of the ocean and Marin Headlands. Next, we'll follow the rugged coast heading south and walk the Lands End Labyrinth. We'll continue along the coastal Lands End Trail to the Cliff House and end back at the Beach Chalet building, where we'll cool our heels and have a casual bite at the Park Chalet restaurant.

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Via Francigena Presentation
Wednesday, January 30, 2019, 6:00 - 7:30 PM

In December 2018, Andy Cohn and Kate Stewart walked the last 100 kilometers of the Via Francigena (VF), one of the three great medieval Camino routes that runs from Canterbury, England to Rome, Italy. They will talk about their particular experience, and about the Italian section (almost 1000 kilometers) in general, focusing particularly on the “How to?” logistics — lodging, transportation, the difficulties of the terrain, etc.

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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 our chapter Facebook Group page and go to the "Events" section. Look for "Lake Merritt Walk."

For insurance purposes, we are unable to welcome dogs, except service animals, at our events.


The program at our 2018 Welcome Home celebration included a presentation by Emilio Escudero on Returning Home: The Journey ContinuesEmilio provided the materials as well, to help you “unpack  your Camino.”

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 01/10/19