View Full Version : Average Mileage

09-13-2002, 17:38
I have been asked to repost my earlier post on averages.

According to Roland Mueser, as printed in his book Long Distance Hiking, the typical thru-hiker takes 170 days, or about 5 1/2 months. This then subdivides into 146 days average of hiking, and 24 days off, or zero days. So, the overall average (not counting days off) is 14.5 miles per day. Myself, I took 142 days, consisting of 140 days hiking, and 2 zero days.

Mueser also notes that the average varies with the terrain. Based on a very limited survey of hikers, the average miles per day in various states is:

Georgia: 10 miles per day. I averaged 13.6 miles per day.
North Carolina & Tennessee: 12 miles per day. I averaged 13.9 miles per day
Virginia: 15 miles per day. I averaged 20 miles per day.
Maryland, Pennsylvania: 15 miles per day. I averaged 16.5 miles per day.
New Jersey, New York: 15 miles per day, I averaged 16.5 miles per day.
Connecticut: 15 miles per day. I averaged 15.8 miles per day.
Massachusetts: 14 miles per day. I averaged 15.8 miles per day.
Vermont: 14 miles per day, I averaged 14.8 miles per day.
New Hampshire: 12 miles per day, I averaged 10.9 miles per day.
Maine: 12 miles per day.I averaged 13.8 miles per day.

Overall, based on the above is 13.2 miles per day. Don't know if these averages includes zero days or not. My overall average was 15.5 miles per hiking day, or 15.3 miles per day overall.

Hammock Hanger
09-13-2002, 18:51
Your averages look pretty right on for the average, in shape hiker. -- You may need to decrease those a little if you are starting out overweight or really out of shape. -- I was alittle (haha) overweight when I started out in 01, but healthy and very active, I pretty much had the same milage averages. Hammock Hanger

09-14-2002, 09:59
For someone who has NOT done the AT...me.
From someone who HAS...you
Your mileage post was especially interesting for me. Thanks!

09-15-2002, 08:36
I hauled a$$ going through Virginia. Doubt that many kept the steady pace that I did. I went from Damascus to Harpers Ferry in 28 days. To anyone using my averages to plan a trip, suggest allowing more time for Virginia than I did.

09-15-2002, 19:42
Mileage really seems to vary quite a bit. During my Springer->Damascus hike this spring, I averaged a little under 17 miles per day. A bit less at the start, a bit more later on. This was a lot faster than some and a lot slower than others. For example, my friend Paul Revere made it to Katahdin in 93 days, but he was under a rather severe time constraint and was in great shape (runs X-country for Duke). But, he will be the first to admit that his thru hike was not what one would call a traditionally fun activity. Rewarding, yes. Fun, no.

Mike Drinkuth
09-17-2002, 12:39
My friend Jason made it from Springer to Vermont in over seven months in 00 and had the time of his life. He tells of a hike where he literally wandered around in the woods for seven months...never counted miles...took as many days off as he could. It sounded like a blast! Others gave him grief but it was all in good fun. (he might have finished if not for a dog he picked up in penn. that randomly decided to eat his provisions, sleeping bag, and tent) I'd like to finish, however, in 03 so i'll go a little faster (and NOT pick up stray dogs) but i'm going out there to have fun, not set speed records. There's something to be said for the slower approach, I think.

Trail Yeti
10-01-2002, 18:38
Definately take your time. I am a speed demon when hiking. Ask anyone that hiked w/me this year (especially my girlfriend). I am all about the continuous 18-20 mile days. However, on my thru-hike I did everything from a 2 mile day to a 28. sometimes you want to haul butt...go ahead. But don't get too caught up in the mileage. I almost did and luckily, some of my friends chilled me out about it. I ended up taking 6 1/2 months but really enjoyed it.
With that said, the next time I thru hike I will go faster. I know now where to stop and when and for how long. figure your average at around 15 a day. Even though I took that long to do the hike I also took OVER 35 zero days. So I basically would hike around 15-20 for a week, then bust out some big miles for a while then chill out for a while then take a zouple of zeros....
Life is Good, Wear a Kilt!

10-02-2002, 07:32
There is a tremedous range of hike durations. I posted my averages, as well as those cited in the book, because it was close to the overall average of 146 days, and might help someone plan a thru-hike.

There is one thing that people need to keep in mind: Katahdin closes in mid October. So, if Katahdin is a priority for you, then you better be there before hand. So, if you plan lots of days off then you better start earlier than those that don't take as many days off (assuming that you don't leap frog or flip flop).

By the way, my daily mileage varied from 2.7 miles to 24.2 miles.

I really think that it is better to think in terms of mileage per week rather than mileage per day. This is because mileage does vary so much from one day to the next. However, what is going to get you to your goal is how many miles you do each week. For example, many people do a couple of long days, say 50 miles in 2 days, and then take a day off. Their 3 day average will be 16 2/3 miles per day. I'll probably do the same 50 miles in 3 days, and not need a day off. We will both get to the same place in the same time.

10-09-2002, 02:01
I'm new to this forum (as of today). I hiked 1400 or so miles of what was to be a thru-hike. This sadly ended with a severe concussion in the 100 mi wilderness (shortly after I flip-flopped to maine from ny). now my two cents.

this thread hauntingly reminds me of all the mileage freaks i met on the trail (most were filthy yellow-blazin' pretenders). hike yer own hike!! if you get behind your all important october meeting with katahdin, then flip-flop. i did and felt renewed to climb that granite peak and head southbound. save for a slippery root and head meeting rock, i believe i would have finished my thru-hike. there's always 2003! i'm there.

10-09-2002, 07:09
While I agree with hike your own hike, I also believe that everyone should start with a good plan.

Part of this plan is a baseline schedule, based on how far you plan to hike each day. Family and friends should have a general idea of where you are, and when you plan to get to the various towns for mail drops, etc.

So, as requested, I posted my averge mileages, as well as the averages complied by Roland Meuser. Obviously, your hike will vary, but at least it provides a starting point to someone planning a hike.

Mileage freak? If you look at my daily tally, the most I ever did in a single day was 24 miles. I never did the big miles that some people do.

The Weasel
10-09-2002, 09:21
I'm gonna take a guess here, but I don't think Chief (welcome!) was talking about the "high mileage freaks" that beat their bodies to crap to do 25 miles per day. If I'm right, he's talking about - and I know Peaks agrees with me here - what I call the "White Rabbits" (not as a nice term). Remember the White Rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland"? "I'm, late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello! Goodbye! I'm late! I'm late!" They're the ones like the guy who passed me in north Georgia at a fantastic fire tower overlook, and when I said, "You should see this!" replied, "I can't stop! Gotta get to Maine!" They're the ones who obsess about "how many miles did I do today, and how many will I do tomorrow", and all they ever see of the glories of the trail is an 18" wide piece of dirt in front of them.

The Weasel

10-09-2002, 20:00
by "mileage freaks", i didn't mean those who actually do the big miles for whatever reason. i meant those who seem to be overly interested in how many miles everyone else does. if you tell them you did 20 miles today, they always did 22. then why aren't you 2 miles ahead of me?

10-24-2002, 22:40
Can we finally put this myth to bed? Katahdin is a mountain, it does not close. Baxter State Park started instituting the rule several years ago (I don't know the exact year) that after October 15th, no one, including thru hikers (here is the change) could camp overnight, legally in the park after that. The park is open for day use after that point, up until roughly Nov 1st, depending on weather. No one can summit on a Class IV day, be it July or Oct. 16th or Nov 1st. I spent the better part of the summer trying to educate people on this fact, but it obviously still continues to circulate. The artificial pressure people place on themselves to finish before the mythical Oct 15th deadline I find extremely comical and annoying as I was asked almost daily if I would get there "in time". Every year is different in the fall, last year we had an extremely mild season in Northern New England through November, it's anyone's guess when snow will become a permanent fixture in the northern mountains this year.

10-24-2002, 23:50
Big miles, little miles, no zero days or 100, every hiker is out there either seeing the sights or battling deamons or chasing dreams. We each have our own techniques to getting by in life and getting down the trail.
Try not to pity or scorn, just wish em the best and then do what we all love to do, hike off into the sunset.

::edited for high mileage biased content::

My Hike -to the tune of 'My Life'- by Billy Joel

Got a call from an old friend
We used to be real close
Said he just sold his 30 inch color TV
Bought a pack, and a tent
Bought a ticket to the East Coast
Now he's spending 6 months hiking up the AT

I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm not lite
I don't want you to tell me that I should hike slow
I don't care what you say anymore, this is my hike
Go ahead with your own hike, and leave me alone

I want to find myself while hiking and here's my chance
Don't want to be another victim of circumstance
I still belong, don't get me wrong
And you can speak your mind
But not on my time

They will tell you you can't sleep alone
In a strange place
Then they'll tell you you can't sleep
With somebody else
But sooner or later you sleep
In your own space
Either way it's okay
You wake up with yourself

10-25-2002, 07:25
True, the mountain does not close. However, I think what is a given is that the later in the season you are, the greater the likely hood of getting snowed out.

10-25-2002, 08:36
Well, what happens to hikers who want to finish on Katahdin after Nov 1?

10-25-2002, 18:08
Probably Bluebeary can answer this better.

I think you go into the winter expedition mode. It requires a group with ice gear and such.

10-25-2002, 18:13
In her post, though, she said the park is open for day use until, roughly, Nov. 1. Does that mean the park is closed after, roughly, Nov. 1?

10-25-2002, 21:30
im pretty sure you need some kind of special permit or somthing.

12-08-2002, 01:32
Just bringing this topic out of the 30 days in the hole

12-08-2002, 09:04
Don't worry about mileage...there is always plenty more to do. Hike as far or as short as you want, just don't give anyone else any slack for their choices. Nothing wrong with 25 a day, and nothing wrong with 8 either...just do your own thing. The hardest day of my life was 7 miles in NY...and the easiest was 30.1 in NJ, mileage means nothing.

12-08-2002, 12:23

12-28-2002, 11:37
I heard its closed to groups under 4 people, but that 4 people or more is ok. Night camping is supposedly prohibited. These could be rumors though...

Blue Jay
12-28-2002, 19:21
I hiked up the Big K in January of 1999 with another '98' alumni. It was a fine clear cold day. There were several others up there. Blueberrie is correct, it is just an ongoing MoMo hiker rumour used to scare Thrus. You just have to hide in the wood when the Nazi Rangers come by, they are usually too fat to get out of their trucks any way.

Blue Jay
12-30-2002, 10:46
My New Years Resolution is to stop using the word "Nazi" and start using the word "Butt Plug". Please substitute this word in the above posting.