View Full Version : Mileage per day?

The Roaming Badger
05-03-2005, 11:15
What is everyone's typical mileage like? Just trying to get a gauge as a new guy so I don't kill myself.

Pack weight is around 20-25lbs if that helps

05-03-2005, 13:48
Badger, there will be a high degree of variation on this based on age, fitness level, weight carried, terrain, weather, season, hike duration, etc. Starting out you will be highly tempted to put in some big miles (15+) but your ligaments and tendons may rebel on you after a few days, assuming you aren't in "backpacking shape". You're carrying a light enough load and are young enough that you can probably average around 15 mpd without too much of a problem. Many northbound (NOBO) thru-hikers start out with 8-12 mile days, gradually ramping up to the high teens and topping out in the mid-20s over a few months. There are others who like to walk all day long (and even into the night!) and, while not necessarily walking quickly, are able to crank out a 30-miler (but that's outside the norm).

I typically carry about 25 pounds fully loaded (5' 9", 170 lbs) and keep in shape by playing soccer. I try to start my section hikes with a few 12-15 mile days and average 14-15 mpd over the course of an extended week. High mileage is in the 18-22 mpd range for me, with a sub-10 mile day being very short. I typically hike in the Spring or Fall, which limits my daylight hiking hours but is typically cooler.

If you're planning on a section hike, then give yourself the flexibility to slow down and get off the trail early if you decide to hike a shorter distance for some reason (rain, injury, loneliness, etc.).

05-03-2005, 15:53
As a section hiker my daily mileage varies greatly. I know that it takes me at least 5 days to start to get my "trail legs". So for the first 5 or 6 days I'll only plan on about 8 mile days, if that's practical. Then as more days go by I'll increase my daily mileage. A lot depends on which season I'm hiking in, the pack load, the weather and how I'm feeling. Sometimes it just comes down to covering X amount of miles in Y amount of days. The great thing is that if I don't get all the miles finished in that particular section hike, there's always another time.

05-03-2005, 15:54
The typical AT hiker (which doesn't really exist) seems to average around 12-15 miles per day after getting acclimated to the routine. However, you shouldn't think in terms of other people after you get on the trail. After a few weeks you'll find your pace. Personally, I like hiking early and late, which generally means I cover more miles per day than, say, a 9-3 hiker.

For planning purposes, I'd give friends and family the 12-15 miles a day figure and use this for the first few resupply legs. However, keep in mind that you may end up rolling along at a happy 8 miles a day. Or, at a happy 20 miles a day. Let your body and desire dictate the distance you travel each day.

05-03-2005, 16:14
When planning my section hikes, I usually plan for at least 12 and not more than 17 miles, with 14 - 16 being perfect (14 when the days are short and 16 when they are long). I try to get on the trail between 7 and 8 a.m. and like to stop an hour before sunset. Ahything less than 12 miles and I feel like I am stopping to early and have an urging to push on a little further.

Last time out we did a 20 mile day on day 2 and that was tough. It really was not necessary, but when we got to the shelter we had hoped to camp near at 17 miles it was crowded and the next good camping spot was at the 20 mile mark.

14 - 16 miles, however, seems to suite well. On travel days, arriving or departing from the trail, we usually plan for 5 - 8 miles or whatever suits our arrival and departure times.


05-03-2005, 16:22
If you research old posts, then you should get a good idea of average daily mileage.

Frankly, because anyone's daily mileage can vary from zero to over 30, I suggest that for planning purposes think in terms of weekly mileage.

The Roaming Badger
05-03-2005, 17:31
I've made the Grand Canyon river to rim (verticle mile) in 2:20 and run a marathon in 2:45....but was wondering if carrying 20lbs on rough terrain would make that much of a difference?

05-03-2005, 17:33
If you can do a river to rim trip in under 3 hours (Bright Angel?), then the AT will be a cake walk. Plan on 20 a day.

05-04-2005, 02:38
What is everyone's typical mileage like? Just trying to get a gauge as a new guy so I don't kill myself.
Pack weight is around 20-25lbs if that helps
I would venture and guess there is no typical mileage. I do know that weather conditions can cause big variations in mileage, up or down. Illness, injury, fitness, water sources, money, mindset...lots of stuff can cause the miles you hike to vary. You may be able to guesstimate by going through the tons of thru-hikers journals found on the web. hikerwife

05-04-2005, 05:35
I've made the Grand Canyon river to rim (verticle mile) in 2:20 and run a marathon in 2:45....but was wondering if carrying 20lbs on rough terrain would make that much of a difference?

Yeah, what chris said. The pack may add some strain to your shoulders at first if it's frameless, but even that'll dissapear soon enough. I carry a backpack with my laptop and several nice sized books in it everywhere I go around campus to keep my shoulders used to the weight. Just walking around with that is enough to keep my shoulders used to it, but if you're using a framed pack, the weight should be on your hips anyway, so that wouldn't even be a problem.

From what you said, you're in shape. The PUDs get mentally tiring after a while. At least they did for me at first. There's no sense of summiting or achievement. Depending on how long timewise you want to hike per day, 15+ will be easy for someone in your shape.


05-08-2005, 04:48
took me all day...4:30am to 7pm...but i took a 45 min nap at the bottom

05-08-2005, 09:36
i like doing 20 mile days,have done quite a few 25 mile days,and only two 30 mile days,i prefer mantaining a 20 mile day average:cool: neo

05-08-2005, 18:39
I always plan where I am going to spend the night by looking at my guidebook and checking my map, especially the elevation profiles. I take into account that I like to have a couple of hours to cook and set up and journal and have several vodkas before dark. Over rugged terrain like Bear Mountain, NY to points south, I might do ten miles. Over easy terrain like through the Cumberland Valley, PA I recall doing twenty. I used to push myself more twenty five years ago, but my feet have high mileage now, and their warrenty has run out.