One of the most crucial concerns is how many miles you can hike in a day, whether you’re a seasoned thru-hiker looking to push your limits or a newbie hiker attempting to plan your first hike. 

An average day’s trip for enthusiastic hikers is 16 miles long. The key factors that impact hiking mileage are terrain difficulty, level of fitness, and the weight of the bag you’re backpacking. Beginner hikers shouldn’t try to cover more than 8 to 10 miles in a single day.

However, it was obvious that hiking was not that easy and a lot of preparation was required before one could set out on a hiking adventure. Determining how many miles you can hike in a day is one of the most crucial aspects of planning a hiking trip; after you’ve decided on that, you can move on to preparing everything else.

How Many Miles You Can Hike Daily

An average hiker can cover a variety of distances in a single day. The typical hiker will cover 2 to 3 kilometers per hour. This will depend on several factors, including your fitness level, the terrain, the elevation, the weather, and the weight of your pack.

An average hiker can cover between 16 and 20 miles in a day if they maintain this average speed over an 8-hour hiking day, excluding rest periods. Some individuals who fall under the category of “extremely fit” are capable of hiking between 30 and 50 kilometers a day. This is true for hikes on reasonably flat terrain and in milder climates.

Average Hiking Distance for Various Hikers

  • Beginner Hiker: 5-10 miles a day

  • Average Hiker: 10-18 miles a day

  • Experienced Hiker: 20 miles a day (very fit)

  • Serious Thru-Hiker: 25 miles a day (extremely fit)

Factors That Affect Average Distance

An individual’s daily hiking potential is influenced by a number of factors, including:

  1. Physical Fitness

Naturally, hiking will be easier for you if you are more physically fit. A faster velocity can be achieved by those with stronger muscles, and longer duration can be achieved by those with greater stamina.

The thought of hiking 8 to 10 miles may seem scary if you have never done it before and are trying to boost your physical activity. It might be preferable to start with some short hikes of two or three miles in that case. Increase the distance gradually until you can climb 30 miles without difficulty in a day.

  1. Terrain

The number of miles you can comfortably go depends greatly on the terrain’s difficulty. You can move quickly and effectively over well-kept grounds, which is often easier on your body. But uneven terrain will make you go much more slowly.

Going downhill requires you to slow down in order to balance properly and protect your knees, whereas walking uphill exhausts your energy. It takes much more effort to maintain balance over rocky terrain or marshy areas, which slows down movement.

Before starting off, look at a paper map or a reliable GPS map that displays the terrain. If the slope is particularly steep, your comfort zone miles may need to be reduced in half.

  1. Hiking Experience

Beginners hikers typically cover fewer miles per day than more expert hikers. It’s not only a matter of allowing your muscles to become used to hiking; over time, your ability to judge and manage the terrain will also improve. You’ll gradually discover the ideal method to approach slopes, when to stop and rest, and when to keep going despite being worn out.  Remember that planning is necessary for long hikes.

  1. Weather 

The weather influence how many miles you can hike in a day. You can climb for hours without getting too exhausted on a perfect day, which features moderate temperatures, no direct sunlight, and no rain.

High humidity, bright sun, wind, or frosty conditions will slow you down naturally since they reduce your comfort level and cause your body to consume more energy to maintain a comfortable body temperature.

It also affects how many sunlight hours you get each day. Winter has shorter days than summer, with 10 to 12 hours of daylight. You are limited to a few hours because it is not good to hike in the dark.

  1. Elevation Gain/Loss:

Scientific research has demonstrated that speed variations due to elevation changes occur, and not just because you’re ascending incline, which puts more strain on your muscles. With every inch of height gain, oxygen levels drop quickly, which affects how well your body functions.

Expect a decrease in speed after you are over 8,000 feet above sea level as your body gets used to burning energy with less oxygen. You must add an hour to your initial hiking speed for every 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

  1. Length of the trail

The longer you continue, the more energy you will eventually consume. How long you spend on the trail will determine how many miles you can hike in a day. If you’re going too fast on a 10-mile day trek, your speed will fall off rapidly. On the other hand, if you spread out the hike over two or three days, you’ll find it much simpler to maintain a steady speed. 

People who hike for a week or more often pick up their hiking speed over time. This results from their body becoming used to hiking. Your body will begin consuming energy more efficiently after the first few days, enabling you to move more quickly.

  1. Gear Weight

How many calories you burn when hiking is influenced by the weight of your pack and equipment. Your speed will slow down as your load increases and your power consumption will increase. Practice as much as you can, and allow your body to adjust to movement while carrying goods. Finding the ideal backpack that suits your body type and provides plenty of storage is also crucial.

Tips for hiking more miles a day

  • Have everything prepared and packed in advance.

  • Having a few earlier miles under your belt lifts your spirits.

  • When backpacking, you only need to bring the basic minimum.

  • Take a break if you start to feel tired on the trail.

  • Stretch your calf, groin, hamstrings, and quadriceps at the end of each day.