How many miles can you walk in a day?
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Huh! Pregnant question this one, but tell you what? It is actually not too hard to know how many miles you can hike in a day… if you are ready to pull those hiking shoes on and start hiking. And measure the distance! How many miles can you hike in a day if you are fit, fat, fast or slow?
If you intend to trek the entire Pacific Crest Trail … well, you want to know how many days it will take you on average. Or you are just curious.
The number of miles that you should walk in a day differs from one person to another. For example, according to the NHS (National Health Service) of the UK, if you are walking for health, you should do at least 10,000 steps every day. Well, that still does not answer our question because we do not know how many steps make up one mile, do we?
Walking for health
But it is still not too hard to say, since this has been measured by many people. Now, a person of average height, (note that I have mentioned height here deliberately since it determines the size of the step) can do 2000 steps per mile. Aha! There now… we have our answer.
Now, if you are walking for health, you can already see that it takes 2,000 steps to make a mile. So, going by the NHS-recommended number of steps that you should take of 10,000 steps per day, well, you can see that you will require to walk a distance of 5 miles a day.
Now, the 5 miles alone are not guaranteed to make you lose weight, since as we said here, it is the recommended daily walk dose by the NHS. To lose weight, you would have to consider other factors like your weight, your daily caloric intake, your BMI and many more factors into play. In that light then, it suffices to say that if you eat like a hog (pun intended) and walk five miles a day, it might not make any difference to your weight.
And now to hiking, because we want to see how many miles a casual or serious hiker can do in a day:
How many miles can you hike in a day?
First, by saying day, well, let’s take it to mean daytime, or the even the number of hours that you have set aside for hiking in a day, because practically, you cannot hike a full 12 hours, one after the other. We will assume many things here, and one of them is that you are a healthy hiker.
According to a user on Quora, an average hiker can do about a mile in 15 minutes. At the same time, such a hiker would also do 4 miles an hour. Now, how many hours do you plan to walk? This depends on many things again. Hiking trails have different difficulty levels.
According to National Parks Florida, a trail that has a difficulty rating of easy is good for the toddlers and the elderly since it has a small or no elevation gain at all.
Trails with difficulty rating of moderate or intermediate are longer than the easy trails, that is, more mileage, and they have more elevation gain.
Challenging trails are steeply elevated, and they demand some hiking experience. In any hiking loop or trail, you will most likely find a trail that has some steepness, some elevation gain and loss. Heck, it might even have some very nasty places that will have you scrambling.
So, in this case, let us assume that you are walking a regular trail that is easy at the beginning, moderate at the middle and challenging as you finish. For such a trail, you can only do about 8 hours. You do not want to whack yourself into a stupor. So, if you will hike for 8 hours and call it a day, well, that is 32 miles, and that is a loooong way.
If you set aside 6 hours for hiking, do the math. However, the general sentiment out here among hikers is that you can do a comfortable 7 to 8 hours, and then call it a day. Basically, 32 miles a day!
Above average hikers – how many miles can you walk in a day
If you are an experienced hiker who has been doing this for some time, you can practically do a good 55 miles for 12 hours and this includes the breaks that you take in between miles. If you are really trained for walking, you can do whopping 13 minutes for each mile. Let’s do some simple math to ascertain this …
If you are an experienced hiker and you can do a mile in 13 minutes, in 1 hour, which is 60 minutes, you can do 4.62 miles. Now, multiply that by the number of hours that you intend to hike. If you will do 12 hours, then you will have walked for 57.6 miles. Now, factor in some break time, lunchtime and so on and you can round it up to about 55 miles. But this is just my theory.
How far can you walk in an hour?
I think we have already answered this question in the sections above. But it is not a bad idea to repeat a good thing several times. Thus, if you are walking for health, the NHS recommends you walk 10,000 steps in a day. One mile is 2000 steps and on average speed, you can walk 4.6 miles if you are an advanced hiker and if you are an average hiker, you can do 4 miles. For one hour therefore, you can do 8000 steps, which is equal to 4 miles!
Thus, the answer for how far can you walk in an hour is 4 to 4.6 miles an hour!
But … How many miles can you walk in a day depends
What is the terrain? If it is fairly flat, expect to do about 3 to 4.6 miles an hour in a day, and that is if you are an experienced hiker, or a beginner.
Now, problem comes in when you are ending your hike. You see, you are bound to get more tired and hike more slowly towards the end of the hike. This happens especially if you have walked for long hours. Thus, it is safe to assume that when you started, you were doing a speed of 4.5/6 miles/hour. By the end of 5 to 7 hours, you will most likely be doing 5 miles/hour, or more.
If you have luggage, say, a hiking backpack, it will also affect the hiking speed that you adopt.
So, there is no definite answer for the number of miles you can hike in a day. But the answer lies there, inside you. And it is anywhere between 30 miles and 60 miles.
If you will be doing the entire PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) which is 2600 miles long, you can calculate the average number of days it would take you, at a distance of, say, 50 miles a day.
Are you ready to walk? How many miles can you hike in a day? Please do share with us.