The Western Pilgrimage

Education & Exploration in the American West

.The Western Pilgrimage is a semester-long experience created by Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and Altum L’alto Pilgrimages (ALP). The semester is open to male students not currently enrolled at a Catholic “Great Books” college.  Students will complete 15 academic credit hours (in five classes) as they explore the western states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.  The final destination is El Santuario de Chimayo, also known as the Lourdes of America.  Students will be guided by traveling faculty and staff for the entire trip and visited by other faculty.

Academic Credit Hours

National Parks



The semester travels from north to south, beginning in the Northern Rockies and ending in the Sangre de Christo Mountains of the Southwest.  The itinerary consists of several sections where we will stop for education and exploration before moving to the next section.






New Mexico


Students will have daily, weekend, and extended-weekend adventures as well as a week-long “fall break” opportunity.  Adventure activities will include hiking, biking, paddling, rock-climbing, horseback riding, and sandboarding!


Students will take a full academic semester of courses.  They will have the possibility to transfer the 15 academic credit hours received upon successful completion of the semester to their home colleges or universities.  All courses can be taken at the 200 or 300 level

1. SCIENCE 200/300: Nature’s Cathedral

Natural history of the American West

2. LITERATURE 200/300: No Mere Worldly Success

The literature of adventure and survival

3. LEADERSHIP 200/300: The Strenuous Life

The principles and skills of leadership and community

4. PHILOSOPHY 200/300: The Examined Life

The principles of ethics and discernment

5. THEOLOGY 200/300: The Spiritual Life

The principles of prayer and contemplation 



september 9 - November 23, 2024

Sign-up Deadline: March 15, 2024 I Late applicants accepted!


 Visit the St. Thomas More College website for more information and to apply


Students are not confined to a classroom–the American West is their classroom!


Academics are based on original texts and discussions are always aimed to the knowledge of truth


Encounter God in prayer, silence, and the liturgy

100% Natural

Explore a variety of landscapes in the West: mountains, rivers, canyons, deserts, and more


No laptops and limited use of smartphones

Nothing Artificial Added

Enjoy a semester of getting back to the basics

The Leaders

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