What Should Be Your Average Hiking Speed for Short or Long Hikes

Have you ever stopped and wondered what average hiking speed can you accomplish when hiking over a certain distance? Well, this might be a great idea for you to find out.

I have hiked in various places but I have never bothered investigating my average speed.

Well, we are lucky today because, in this article, we are going to find the average hiking speed that an ordinary human can attain. Stay tuned for you to discover something new that may not have crossed your mind.

Whether you have gone for a hike before or not; you really need to know this.

According to professional & expert hikers, it depends on some major factors, but most commonly, the average hiker walks at about 2.5-3 mph (miles per hour) or 4.0-4.8 kph (kilometer per hour).

Hence, it may seem slow, but remember that most hikers are carrying a backpack full of gear, and they’re often hiking over rough terrain.

So, three miles per hour is actually pretty good undoubtfully!

Of course, you may find yourself walking faster or slower depending on the difficulty of the trail, your fitness level, and how much weight you’re carrying.

But on average, expect to hike at about 2.5-3 miles per hour.

Ascending Meters

Time to Beat



+1 min

Make sure you start by beating 1 minute in the first 10 meters


+3 min

Use 1 minute for every meter covered in a sum of 30 meters


+5 min

Maintain 1 minute for the following 50 meters.


+9 min

Slow down and maintain the pace


+11 min

Beat 11 minutes for 100 meters


+24 min

230m meters must be covered in not less than 24 minutes


+51 min

51 minutes is sufficient for 550 meters


+60 min

Ascend 650 meters within 60 minutes


+72 min

At 750m, you must have used not less than 72 minutes


+83 min

Make sure your watch reads 83 minutes at 850 meters


+92 min

92 minutes is sufficient for hiking past 950 meters


+104 min

Make sure that you use 104 minutes to cover 1050 meters


+112 min

112 minutes is sufficient for covering 1150 meter ascend


+125 min

By 1250 meters, your watch must read 125 minutes


+135 min

1350 meters marks must be accomplished in only 135 minutes

Read more: What Is Adaptive Hiking

Why Good Hiking Speed is Important

Every hiker should be aware of his/her hiking speed. A predetermined average hiking speed is important because of the following reasons:

Good for your pace of improvement

Setting a personal hiking speed might be a challenge because some of us have no idea what our best hiking speed is.

As for me, I didn’t know my hiking speed until when I decided to go for a hike and measured my personal speed.

Knowing your hiking speed is crucial because it helps you improve your hiking pace.

Helps in hiking speed maintenance

The most important thing in hiking is the ability to maintain one’s pace during a hike. However, you might never maintain your hiking pace unless you keep in mind your own hiking speed.

I personally improve my pace by marinating my speed.

Good for your safety

When hiking over steep and rugged terrain, it is important for you to set a safe hiking speed. You ought not to engage too much speed while hiking down a steep and rugged slope.

Too much speed could lead to falls hence injuries.

Proper hiking speed is an alternative to your gym

Did you know that it is possible to keep your body fit by simply hiking and embracing the right hiking speed?

Yes, it is possible. I prefer hiking over the gym because I can always burn sizeable calories by hiking once a week.

Good hiking speed is good for your heart

Extreme hiking speed is detrimental to your heart especially when are suffering from a cardiovascular disorder.

Keep the right hiking speed at all times.

Average Hiking Pace Per Day [As Beginner & Expert]

In long hikes, how fast should you hike in a day? Or how fast you can go if it is a few-week hike?

Well, it depends on 3-major factors:

  • Your Goals (start with a short goal)
  • Weather Conditions (always choose good weather: not so cold or hot)
  • Fitness (try to maintain yourself)
  • The Terrain (try to be prepared mentally for all types of terrains)

According to my research and experience, the average hiking speed per day is 16 miles to 18 miles in an 8-9 hour hike a day (if everything seems normal likewise your fitness, goal, weather, and the terrain of course).

If you’re new to hiking, start with a moderate pace of 2-3 mph on level ground. This is a good conversation pace and will help you build endurance without tiring yourself out too much.

Once you’ve been hiking for a while, you can increase your speed to 3-4 mph on flat or gentle terrain.

And if you’re an experienced hiker in good shape, you can push your pace up to 4-5 mph or even faster on easier trails. Of course, there are always exceptions depending on the trail conditions.

If it’s very rocky or hilly, you’ll naturally slow down. And in hot weather, it’s important to take things easy and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Good: 4-5 mph (on easy trails) and 2.5-3 mph (on difficult trails)

Average: 2.5-3 mph (on easy trails) and 1.5-2 mph (on difficult trails)

Slower than Average: 1.5-2 mph (on easy trails) and 1-1.2 mph (on difficult trails)

How to Increase Hiking Speed for Short and Long Hikes?

The average hiker walks at about 2.5-3 miles per hour. But, of course, that’s just an average. Some hikers are able to walk much faster than that and some walk more slowly.

Therefore, your hiking speed will depend on a lot of factors, including your fitness level, the terrain you’re walking on, the weather conditions, and how much weight you’re carrying.

If you’re new to hiking, or if you’re not in great shape, you might find yourself averaging closer to 2 miles per hour. And if you’re carrying a lot of gear with you, your speed might be even slower.

On the other hand, if you’re an experienced hiker in good shape, you could easily find yourself averaging 4 miles per hour or more on flat terrain.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

I’ve known some super-fit hikers who can maintain a 5 mph pace for hours on end regardless of terrain or conditions. And I’ve known others who struggle to keep a 2 mph pace even on easy trails.

It really just depends on the person. So what’s considered a “fast” walking speed?

To increase your hiking pace under all the conditions, you have to ensure some rules that must be followed. Here is a complete secret guide to help you pick up the pace on your next hike.

Rule #1. Start Slow & Steady

Start with shorter day hikes before moving to longer ones to help you gradually build up your endurance and strength.

Rule #2. Ensure Proper Nutrition

You must make sure that you’re properly fueled before hitting the trail and eat a nutritious meal or snack beforehand so you have the energy to keep going.

Rule #3. Proper Hiking Gears

Invest in some lightweight hiking gear. Since the less weight you’re carrying, the easier it will be to move quickly.

Rule #4. Mixed Trails

Choose a route that has a good mix of uphill and downhill sections. Since it helps you maintain a consistent pace and avoid getting too fatigued.

Rule #5. Warm Up

Try interval training by walking for one minute followed by 30 seconds of jogging or running. This method can help improve both your speed and endurance over time.

Remember to warm up before starting any type of workout routine.

Rule #6. Form of Movement

Focus on your form while walking or running pay attention to how you’re moving your body and make adjustments as needed.

Poor form can lead to injuries and can also slow you down. Some things to keep in mind are maintaining a straight posture, using a smooth stride, and keeping your arms relaxed at your sides.

Rule #7. Relax

Cool down after your workout. It’s important to cool down after any type of strenuous activity like hiking or running, especially if you’ve pushed yourself hard.

Read More: Is Hiking Good for Cardio

Average Hiking Speed Uphill

How quickly can you hike uphill on the rocky trails? Besides, the average person hikes between 2 and 3 miles per hour (with proper safety) in uphill rocky and rough mountain terrains.

But, if you are in good shape, you can hike up to 4 miles per hour (max) on that wild trails.

If you are carrying a lot of gear or hiking in difficult terrain uphill, your speed will be slower. To find your average speed, time yourself on a flat section of the trail.

Then, add 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Further, this way, you will get a good estimate of how long it will take you to hike uphill.

Remember that your speed will vary depending on the steepness of the hill, the weight of your pack, and the type of terrain.

If you are hiking in loose sand or scree, your speed will be slower than if you are hiking on firm ground.

No matter what your speed is, enjoy the journey and take plenty of breaks to admire the view!

Average Hike Distance

For beginners, a good goal is to hike for 30 minutes to an hour to help them build up their endurance and become familiar with the trails.

Once you’ve been hiking for a while, you can start increasing the distances.

A general rule of thumb is to add 10% to your previous longest hike. So if your longest hike was 5 miles, aim for 5.5 miles next time.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

If the trail is particularly difficult or hilly, it’s okay to lower your expectations a bit.

Likewise, if you’re feeling especially energetic one day, don’t be afraid to push yourself a little further than usual.

Just listen to your body and go at a pace that feels comfortable for you.

Important FAQs about Average Hiking Speed

How long does it take to hike a mile, 5 miles, and 10 miles?

From my own experience, it takes 1 hour to hike over 2.5 miles.

In that case, it takes 2 hours to hike over 5 miles and if an average speed is maintained from the start, then it is possible to attain 10 miles in 4 hours.

How many miles can you hike in a day?

Considering that hikers may not have the same pace, it is possible for you to hike between 8 to 10 miles in a single day.

What’s the fastest time ever to complete that 2190-mile mountain hike?

Depending on the difficulty of the terrain it is possible to complete a hike of 2190 miles in 36 and a half days.

However, it will take 5 months to hike over a difficult Appalachian trail.

What is moderate hiking speed?

The moderate hiking speed for a normal person is approximate, 1.7 miles for an hour of ground covered.

However, the pace might be greater i.e. 2 miles per hour for experienced hikers.

What is considered lightweight hiking?

Lightweight hiking involves hikers who carry loads that do not exceed 7 kilos.

This weight consists of hiking gear and personal effects. Some hikers might consider less than 5 kilos.

What is Hiking Speed Calculator?

Whether you’re trying to beat your personal best or keep up with a group, it’s important to know your hiking speed. That’s where a hiking speed calculator comes in!

A hiking speed calculator is a simple tool that can help you estimate your hiking pace. All you need is a stopwatch and a few measurements of the trail.

Once you have those, plug them into the calculator and it will do the rest!

How Fast is the Average Hike?

This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on many factors such as terrain, weather, fitness level, and weight of the pack. However, we can take a look at some averages to give us an idea.

The average walking speed for an adult is 2.5-3 mph.

If we assume that the average hiker walks at 3mph then this would mean that they could cover 20 miles in a day.

However, most hikers would not be able to sustain this pace for a whole day and would need to break it up into manageable chunks with regular stops.

A more realistic figure for the average hiker might be 10 miles in a day.

How Fast is a Good Hiking Speed?

Mostly, professional and regular hikers can hike 3-4 miles per hour on level ground.

Faster speeds are possible downhill or on flats, while slower speeds are necessary when climbing uphill.

Experienced hikers with lightweight packs can sometimes maintain 5 mph or faster over long distances.

What is the Average Pace for Hiking Per Mile?

Assuming you are referring to walking/hiking speed, the average person walks around 3 mph. So, every mile you walk will take approximately 20 minutes.

Of course, this varies depending on how fast or slow you walk.

How Long Does a 3-Mile Hike Take?

A three-mile hike should take approximately one and a half to two hours, of course, this is just an estimate – your actual time will depend on factors such as terrain, weather, your fitness level, and how often you take breaks.

If you are new to hiking or tend to get tired easily, it’s best to err on the side of caution and give yourself more time.

On the other hand, if you’re an experienced hiker who is used to long distances, you may be able to complete the hike in less time.

The Bottom Line

It is true that you might not be in a position to measure your average hiking speed if you are a first-time hiker.

Hiking speed depends on the ruggedness of the terrain, weather, and even personal might.

Your average hiking speed might also be affected by moods and the degree of stress after the first hike.

Maintaining a reasonable hiking speed is good for your heart, can replace your gym, helps know and maintain your speed, is good for your safety, and helps you improve your pace during preceding hikes.


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