My first hiking experience changed my life so much that I immediately knew I never wanted to stop exploring nature and the world in the way.
However, it was pretty clear to me from the beginning that hiking is not that simple and that a lot of planning has to be done before you can go out there and start a hiking journey.
One of the most important parts of planning a hiking journey is knowing how far you can hike in a day - once you settle that, you can go on and plan everything else.
If you are an experienced hiker, you know that having a good plan for your trip is crucial for its success.
If you are new to hiking, I will tell you all of the tips and tricks for planning a hike that I wish I knew when I first started doing it.
By the end of this guide, you will learn how to calculate the exact distance and speed you need to aim for on your next hike!
Table of Contents
What Is a Reasonable Distance to Hike In a Day?
I would love to give you a specific number when it comes to the number of miles you should expect to hike in one day. However, that is almost impossible considering how many things can affect that number. From the gear you are carrying with you to the state of the hiking trail, there are so many things that can affect the distance you hike in a day.
I would suggest going on a few walks before hiking – consider it as training for the hike. On those walks, you can see how long it takes before you start feeling tired or before your legs get sore. That is when you will be able to determine the average distance you are comfortable walking in a day, and if you are not happy with the number, you can start training more and improve it before you go on the actual hike.
How Far Can an Average Person Hike In a Day?
On average, a person who is in good shape and good health, planning on taking a light load on the hike, and is at least slightly familiar with the trail should expect to walk around 10 miles per day. That is more than reasonable for beginner hikers, while more experienced hikers in better physical shape should be fine even if they push themselves to hike more than 10 miles.
If you are planning on hiking during late spring or summer, the day will be long enough for you to be able to hike those 10 miles without having to worry about nightfall. You will not need to push yourself to go faster or take fewer breaks.
However, suppose you are planning on hiking during fall or winter when there are fewer hours of sunlight. In that case, you will have to set on your hike earlier in the morning so you will be able to walk around 10 miles comfortably and without rushing to get to the next resting spot before nightfall.
What Is The Average Hiking Speed?
The average speed can also vary between different people and different trails. I would say that a reasonable hiking speed would be anywhere between 2 or 3 miles per hour for beginner hikers and up to 5 or 6 miles per hour for experienced hikers. Just like I mentioned with the distance, you can check your average speed when training for the hike.
Another thing to keep in mind is the trail itself – if you are planning on hiking towards a higher elevation, you might not be able to reach the same speed as you would when hiking with little or no significant elevation. Your familiarity with the trail can also affect your speed, as can your motivation to hike on a particular day.
I know that you might have only a couple of days or maybe even hours free to hike, but that does not mean that you should push your body beyond its limit just for the sake of finishing the hike. If you feel tired that day or you do not feel like hiking, consider doing it another day and maybe switch it up to doing something simpler. Remember to always listen to your body when doing any physical activity, including hiking.
How Far Can You Hike In an Hour?
I think beginner hikers can hike only a few miles in an hour, while experienced hikers in better physical shape can hike up to 5 or 6 miles in an hour. However, hiking is never a one-size-fits-all experience, so do not feel like you have to push yourself to be faster or hike longer distances only to reach the average numbers.
When hiking, it is vital to be in a good mental and physical state, be well-rested, well-hydrated, and eat meals high in calories, proteins, and sugar. This will keep you energized and willing to push yourself and go the extra mile!
I know that you might not agree with some of the things I said, and you might be thinking - some of the best experiences in life come unplanned, so why not be spontaneous and just set off on a hike? Why do you have to worry about hiking distances or average speed before you even start hiking?
Yes, this all might seem unnecessary at first. Still, you will soon see that calculating these things can help you have a better hiking experience without unexpected problems or setbacks. I learned it the hard way, and
I would hate for you to make the same mistakes.
Do the planning beforehand so that when you start your new hiking journey, you will not need to worry about anything – all you will need to do is free your mind and enjoy the experience with all your senses!