When you try to figure out how long a particular hike will be, you need to take several factors into consideration. These considerations will be different for each hiker, but a common question beginners may have is how long it takes to hike 10 miles.
A 10-mile hike can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours, depending on several factors, such as your stamina, pace, and the elevation change throughout the hike. Also, your experience and the equipment you carry will play a part in the time it takes to hike 10 miles.
Below, we’ll explore all the things you need to take into consideration before you will be able to determine how much time a 10-mile hike will take to complete. We’ll also discuss the ways you can better prepare yourself for long hikes so you will be comfortable and safe no matter how far you walk.
It would take around 20 minutes to hike one mile, as the average person walks at a speed of three miles per hour. Walking at that speed, however, is measured on a flat surface. If you were to add in some elevation change on that hike, or change a number of other factors, it would take longer.
Your speed will also change depending on your age and fitness level. Some people may hike at an average speed of only two mph, so that one-mile hike will take closer to 30 minutes to complete. But then again, some people walk faster at, say, around 5 mph, so they take closer to 12 minutes per mile.
We can then complicate things even more by considering the weather conditions. Hiking into a strong wind for a section of that one-mile hike could slow you down to one mph for a part of the hike. A strong wind behind you could increase your speed as you are effectively pushed along.
As you can see, the time it takes to hike one mile isn’t as straightforward as you might expect. However, if we say a one-mile hike takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, then we generally would not be too far off, and it gives you a good baseline time to work with when figuring out how long it takes to hike 10 miles.
Several different factors will directly influence how long a hike will take you to complete. These factors are fluid in nature, depending on such things as the weather, the equipment you carry, and your fitness level, so don’t expect to get the same results every single time.
We all hike at different speeds, even on a flat trail, and that affect how long any hike will take. We mentioned above the average walking speed is around three mph, so you can then figure in one hour you should be able to hike around three miles. But that’s just the average. Some people will simply walk faster, or slower, and do so naturally.
In general, you will have some sort of an idea as to how long it takes you to walk a certain distance, as you are aware of how fast you walk. Take that idea and apply it to a trail length to give you some sort of indication as to the length of time it will take you to complete it.
Age makes a difference to how long a hike will take, and this is something that changes things quite dramatically. Obviously, young children will take longer to complete a hike than the average adult, with the time required reducing as they move from a child to a teenager and then into a young adult.
But then, there’s a turning point. There’s no exact science as to when that turning point will be, but pace slows down once again when you reach a certain age. Once you reach middle age, it’s a good bet your hikes will take longer, so the older you get, make sure to take that into consideration.
How fit you are will also determine how long your hike takes. Those who are more fit than others can keep up a certain pace for a longer time, which reduces the time to complete a hike. Of course, working on your fitness level, which will be better with experience and more hikes, will then reduce the time it takes you to finish a hike.
The trail itself plays a key role in how long it will take for you to complete it. If you look at different trails, you will notice they are often graded according to their difficulty. It makes sense that a trail listed as being easy to complete will often take less time when compared to one that is either moderate or difficult.
Different factors will determine how easy or difficult a trail may be. First, there’s the underfoot conditions. An even, well-maintained trail is easy to walk on, and leads to the trail being completed in a shorter time than if the trail was rocky or had marshy areas.
Also, a flat trail is easier to complete quickly than one with inclines. An incline will naturally slow you down, even one that is not too steep, and that changes your overall time. If you then throw in some scrambling, which slows you down even more, and different fitness levels, then you can be add on a substantial amount of time.
Weather conditions also have the capability of changing how long a hike will take to complete, and don’t think it’s always going to be faster when it’s nice and sunny. The sun beating down on you can slow you down because it can get too hot, and you won’t walk at the same pace when you’re uncomfortable.
Wind will either speed you up or slow you down, depending on whether you are walking into it or if it’s helping you along the trail. Rain or snow will change the underfoot conditions as well and slow you down. Plus, you will be wearing more clothing due to having waterproofs and insulated clothing, so that changes how long your hike will take.
The typically accepted time range to hike 10 miles is anywhere from 4 to 10 hours. That’s a wide difference, but it shows the scope when it comes to the factors that affect the speed at which you hike. However long it takes, plan on a 10-mile hike taking up a large portion of your day.
Hiking in order to complete the trail in as short a time as possible seems to remove some of the fun (unless, of course, a quick time is your goal). Walking quickly makes it harder to take in the scenery around you, and some people may feel their enjoyment levels are diminished if they try to walk as quickly as they can.
For most hikers, a 10-mile hike should take around 4 hours to complete. That is walking at a comfortable pace, but if it takes you five hours or more, don’t worry about it. The key is enjoying what you are doing, and embracing the surroundings you find yourself in.
The equipment that you need to carry to complete a 10-mile hike is not too dissimilar to what you may take for any other hike. However, there are a couple of important differences to be aware of when you plan on completing longer hikes than a quick one or two-mile trek.
The equipment you need for a 10-mile hike is a rather extensive list. However, many hikers will already have most of what they need. A backpack, waterproof clothing, and safety equipment are all important. The safety equipment should include an emergency blanket, a torch, a cellphone, spare battery for your phone, and a first-aid kit.
You need to prepare for any eventuality. Remember, you may tell someone you are hiking on a particular trail, but if something happens and people are coming to your aid, they have a larger distance to cover to find you. That means having some items to help you in times of need are important.
Depending on the weather conditions, you may need to focus more on clothing than you would like. Having the option to add or remove layers can play a role. Headwear, whether it be to keep you cool or keep you warm, may be required.
In this respect, clothing is no different to what you would need to think about if you were doing a five-mile hike. The only difference is the greater chance of some variability when it comes to conditions that can change throughout the length of the hike.
More Food And Water
As you are hiking a greater distance, it stands to reason you need to carry more fuel for your body. That means increasing the amount of food and drinks to have in your backpack. For water, the general rule of thumb to drink about half a liter for every hour of hiking. However, this rule changes depending on the climate, as that volume should be increased when hiking in warmer weather.
For a 10-mile hike, you should plan on drinking at least two liters of water if you want to avoid becoming dehydrated. That alone will add some weight to your pack, but it’s essential. Never skimp on fresh water because you never know if you’ll be able to find potable water in the wilderness.
For food, you want to have things that will give you energy, so they will tend to be higher in calories. You want to have snacks that are easy to access, and even allow you to eat while on the move, as well as giving yourself a chance to stop and have something a bit more substantial to eat.
Food should be light and easy to digest. You certainly don’t want to have food sitting in your stomach and then trying to hike, especially if you have inclines and some scrambling to deal with. That can lead to indigestion, and your hiking experience won’t be comfortable.
Any hike requires planning, but the longer the hike, the more important your planning becomes. It’s important that you have a good understanding of the terrain before you start your hike. Look at the route and pay attention to any parts that will become more difficult. That may involve more inclines, a rocky surface, or perhaps areas that tend to become waterlogged.
Also, planning will involve looking at the weather conditions before you embark on the hike. Know what to expect so you can have the correct clothing and footwear ready. There is nothing worse than starting out on any hike - not just a long one – and realizing you have a tricky time ahead due to packing incorrect equipment.
Even on dull days, we would recommend carrying sunscreen with you, and applying it before and during your hike. Those UV rays are still out there even when the sun is not beating down on you, and it’s best to have skin protection to prevent sunburn or worse.
Keep in mind you will be out there on your hike for several hours, so you will have an extensive amount of exposure to those UV levels. You want to do what you can to protect your skin, and this is the best way of doing it. Reapply ever hour or so and you will be well protected, even if you’re sweating.
You’ll be out there in nature for a long time, and that means you run a real chance of having to deal with a huge number of insects during the course of your hike. Now, this will change depending on the time of year, but carrying insect repellent with you is never a bad idea.
Anything that can ruin your enjoyment of your hike should be tackled head on. This is especially true when dealing with a long hike. It can be a miserable experience knowing you have five miles left to hike and that those insects are eating you alive.
Most people should be able to complete the average 15-mile hike in around 5 hours if it’s relatively flat and they walk at a normal pace. If the terrain or weather is changeable, this can obviously take longer, but 5 hours is a reasonable estimate for most hikers.
As with every hike, many determining factors change the time span of a 15-mile hike. If you walk at an average of two mph, then this hike will take you between seven and eight hours to complete. That only applies if you can keep that pace continually throughout the length of the hike. It doesn’t factor in stopping for food or simply to have a short rest.
For those reasons, the average person with average fitness levels should be able to complete a 15-mile hike in anything from five to eight hours. However, some people could take more than 10 hours depending on the complexity of the hike.
A 20-mile hike will likely take around 8 hours at an average pace, including some leeway for breaks. However, if you plan on pushing the pace, or are younger and can sustain a faster walking speed, then you may be able to complete a 20-mile hike in around five hours.
As with any hike, this time depends on those different factors mentioned earlier. If you cover two miles in an hour it would take a minimum of 10 hours to complete a 20-mile hike. Once again, that means walking at that average pace, and not stopping much. For these reasons, expect a 20-mile hike to take anywhere from 7 to 12 hours to complete.
To prepare for longer hikes, it goes without saying it involves you building up your stamina and fitness to walk for hours on end. Never try to jump from a two-mile hike to a 10-mile hike and expect it to be a lot of fun. If you would like to explore those longer trails that are out there, then read below.
Build Your Stamina
You need to view this as beginning a training routine. Nobody goes from a short run to then entering a marathon without training extensively for it in between. A hike of 10 miles or more is pretty much the same thing. Trying a hike you are not physically ready for will not be fun and could lead to injury.
Let’s say you are used to hiking trails that extend a couple of miles. Your next step is to find a trail that adds another mile onto it. Alternatively, if your usual trail is a loop, then do two circuits rather than just the one. This will help you build your stamina slowly and allow your body to get used to walking greater distances.
The chances of you encountering a 10-mile hike that is completely flat are slim. That means you need to be prepared to change up your training to make sure you are fit enough to complete the hike, however long and steep it will be.
That means bumping up your speed and hiking inclines on trails that are shorter than your anticipated hike. This will build your strength and increases your ability to complete longer hikes.
Once again, this is something to build up to. Don’t think you should start off climbing Mt Everest right from the outset. A few ups and downs on a hike, with a moderate rating, will be a good starting point.
Always check your equipment. You want to be certain you feel comfortable in your footwear or clothing. Remember, you are planning on walking greater distances wearing all these items of clothing, so you want to see how comfortable they feel long before you embark on a longer hike.
Don’t wear new footwear on a long hike. You want to try them out on shorter hikes and even allow your footwear to build up to covering greater distances. Blisters are one of the most annoying things on a hike and you want to make sure your feet are always comfortable. The same goes for your backpack. Does it feel comfortable enough, or could you end up with chaffing because of the straps rubbing?
There are times where it’s not the length of the hike that is difficult, but how you are feeling from a comfort perspective. If you make sure your equipment fits perfectly and is in good working order, you will increase the chances of completing your hike.
It should take you between 4 and 10 hours to complete a 10-mile hike, depending on fitness level, trail conditions, and the weight of your backpack. An average hiker can complete 10 miles in five hours or less, and this time can improve with training, exercise, and practice.