Camino and Hiking Events in September

One of the best ways to tap into Camino camaraderie and train for long distance walking is to join one of the many pilgrim events or hikes and workshops available. Each month I post a roundup of pilgrim related and hiking events in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there are plenty for the month of September.  For those who live elsewhere, there are Camino hotspots nationwide and the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) website has a listing of local chapters where you can find pilgrim events. There are also many active Facebook groups to learn about events in your region.

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, September 5, 10:30 am

This is an informal gathering that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. The group meets at the Lake Merritt Pergola on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 am and starts walking promptly at 10:45 am. It’s a level walk 3.3 miles around the lake and takes about an hour.  If you decide to join one of these walks, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to find parking as there are many activities on Saturday morning in the Lake Merritt area. Join the Oct. 3 Lake Merritt walk.

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See photos and video from the Sept. 5th walk: A Buen Camino around Lake Merritt

Mission Walk from Sonoma to Carmel
September 5 – 23, 2015

Did you know that there’s a Camino in California? I didn’t until just recently, but it makes perfect sense! The 800-mile Mission Trail connects the 21 California Missions and basically follows the original El Camino Real.   There’s even an official Pilgrim Credential, a passport that has space for stamps from all the missions.

El Camino Real Pilgrim Credentials

El Camino Real de California Pilgrim Credentials available at Mission giftshops or by request to Martha López .

CAMissionWalkersLogoAlas, there are no cheap albergues in California, but that doesn’t stop the California Mission Walkers, a group of people who have walked or plan to walk El Camino Real. In fact, the group has planned an epic Mission-to-Mission journey this month.  The trek—spanning 18 days—starts in Sonoma and concludes at the Carmel Mission on Sept. 23rd, the day that Father Junipero Serra will be canonized as a saint by the Pope. This “Camino Serra” walk is organized by Butch Briery of the California Mission Walkers Group.  He writes: 

If you haven’t committed to hiking, but would like to do some part of it (even a day or so) you are welcome to join in at any point. Our basic itinerary is:
Day #1 (Sat/9-5) Sonoma to Petaluma
Day #2 – Petaluma to Novato
Day #3 (Mon/9-7) Novato to Mission San Rafael
Day #4 (Tue/9-8) San Rafael to Mission Dolores
Day #5 – S.F. to San Bruno
Day #6 – San Bruno to Redwood City
Day #7 – Redwood City to Newark
Day #8 (Sat/9-12) Newark to Mission San Jose to Milpitas
Day #9 (Sun/9-13) Milpitas to Mission Santa Clara to Campbell
Day #10 –Campbell to Holy City
Day #11 – Holy City to Scotts Valley
Day#12 (Wednesday/9-16) Scotts Valley to Mission Santa Cruz to Aptos
Day #13 – Aptos to Watsonville
Day #14 (Friday/9-18) Watsonville to Mission San Juan Bautista
Day #15 – SJB to Salinas
Day #16 – Salinas to Marina
Day #17 – Marina to Monterey
Day #18 – Rest day and get-together at Bob Brunson’s
Day #19 (Wednesday/9-23) Monterey to Carmel.

If you are interested in linking up for any part of this itinerary, join the The California Mission Walkers Group on Facebook for all the details.

Many Californians learned about the missions when studying California history in grade school, and I fondly remember building a model mission with sugar cubes, popsicle sticks and miniature farm animals.  Best 4th grade project ever!

OnAMissionWant to learn more about walking California’s Camino? Watch a video interview  by travel expert Maggie Espinosa about her journey.  She just released her new book On a Mission: An 800-mile Walk to Discover California’s El Camino Real. I have my copy on order!

Life In A Walk

Bay Area screenings of LIFE IN A WALK documentary:

Sept 18, 2015  7:30pm
San Francisco, CA Opera Plaza Cinema / Landmark

Sept 28, 2015 7:30pm
Berkeley, CA Berkeley 7 
Check the website,, for a screening in your area, or to bring it to your city. Or watch it for free on Amazon Prime.

Pole Hiking Workshops in Oakland

Roberts Regional Park 100-M

Have you ever wanted to try hiking poles? The East Bay Regional Parks District offers poles technique workshops and hikes on the beautiful trails of the Oakland hills.

Thursday, September 17, 9:30am – 1pm
Poles: Basic Hiking Skills & Techniques #10891
Roberts Recreation Area: Redwood Bowl Staging Area
Morning seminar helps hikers learn poles, trail and body skills. Beginner to experienced hikers will learn techniques without the additional time or challenge of a practice hike. Uphill: Improve power, endurance, spine function. Downhill: Learn techniques for feeling safer and preserving joints – Save your knees!

Saturday, September 19, 9am – 1pm
Poles 3: Energetic Practice Hike # 10893
Redwood: Canyon Meadow Staging Area
Come hike with us! Enjoy majestic views on trails while practicing and enhancing poles skills. Improve your performance and learn additional techniques for navigating difficult and varied terrain. “Test drive” different pole models to learn which fit best or bring your own. Includes 3 mile hike. Previous pole hiking instruction REQUIRED.

Registration required. Visit

See East Bay Regional Parks District newsletters for more details and October workshops:
Download: September – October 2015 ~ Regional In Nature Acrobat PDF

REI Events in the Bay Area

Using POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise
Dublin REI
9/12/2015 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM  Power & Performance with Trekking POLES! Whether you’re a beginner hiker or a cross-training athlete, learn how optimal use of poles engages your whole body while hiking or walking. More details

Lightweight Backpacking Basics
San Francisco REI
9/15/2015 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Do you want to try backpacking but worry about carrying a heavy pack? Join an REI backpacking expert who will provide excellent tips on lightweight backpacking techniques. More details

Backpacking Basics
San Carlos REI

9/16/2015 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
REI will take the mystery out of Backpacking with an overview of planning, preparation and gear. Learn how to choose a pack, select proper clothing and footwear. More details

Hiking the Bay Area’s Best Places
Mt. Tamalpais: Rock Springs
9/20/2015 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Come join an REI Outdoor School Instructor on a hike in one of the Bay Area’s best hiking places. We’ll introduce you to local natural gems, teach you a few tips to making hiking more comfortable and help you hike at your own pace. See class / session details for which “Best Hike” we’ll be doing. $25 – Member $45 – Non-member. More details.

Find your Park: Mt. Tamalpais
Berkeley REI
9/22/2015 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Looking to explore the great outdoors in your own backyard? Join REI to #findyourpark and discover the best spots to recreate right here in the Bay Area. More details

Using POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise!
Berkeley REI 9/24/2015 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Power & Performance with Trekking POLES! Whether you’re a beginner hiker or a cross-training athlete, learn how optimal use of poles engages your whole body while hiking or walking. More details

If you live near a REI store, there are many workshops and occasional discussions with Camino book authors and hiking experts. Check for events in your area.

And don’t forget about the Labor Day Sale going on until Sept. 7th! Click here to see the deals.

If you know of any Camino related events for the SF Bay Area that should be included in the monthly roundup, please use the comment form below, or email me.

See you on the trail. Buen Camino!

2 thoughts on “Camino and Hiking Events in September

  1. Thanks Laurie. This is great info. I wish I could do that Sonoma to Carmel walk, I’m sure it would be a fun one. I look forward to meeting you in the future.

    Buen Camino,


    Liked by 1 person

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