View Full Version : Avg Mileage...

12-28-2002, 08:54
What does the typical thru-hiker of the AT average for miles per day?

12-28-2002, 09:13
I think this is one of the most frequently asked questions by people preparing a thru-hike, and one of the most misleading as well. People planning a thru-hike wanna know how far they can go so they can plan maildrops, etc. Everyone is different.

My answer to this question... If there is such a thing as an average thru-hiker, they probably average 12-14 miles per day. That's not right outta the box however. If you can do 12-14 miles right out of Springer, you can probably average 20 miles per day after a month on the trail. What I mean is, your body changes, and so does your hiking ability.

If I was to thru-hike the AT again (although I'd be far likelier to hike the PCT) I would not use a schedule of any kind, especially early on. I'd take my time, get my body in trail shape, and let the schedule sort itself out after Damascus. I'd resupply along the way, which is way simple, although a seemingly daunting task for someone who doesn't know what to expect.

Whatever your time frame for hiking the trail (unless its a psycho 3 or 4 months) you can make up time if you have to in the Midatlantic states after taking it easy early on.

Here's my numbers for what its worth (probably not much). I was 38 when I started, 6' 240 pounds. Was still 6' when I finished, but closer to 180 pounds;

Started March 7
Finished August 21
Zero days - 25
It took me nearly 3 months to go 800 miles. It took me another 2.5 months to go 1370 miles (including The Whites & Maine).

20 miles was an average day after Waynesboro, VA.

Your Mileage May Vary

12-28-2002, 11:24
Daily mileage varies from zero, or close to zero, up to 50 miles or so.

However, don't get hung up on daily mileage. I think it's more important to look at weekly progress.

That said, Roland Mueser surveyed thru hikers in 1989 and published the findings in his book "Long Distance Hiking." Overall miles per week are:

Most: 126
25% percentile (quartile): 94
Median: 87
75% percentile (quartile): 83
Least: 70

These figures include zero days. Typically, a thru-hiker takes 24 days off, or about 1 day a week.

So, based on his survey, the "average" thru-hiker does between 83 and 94 miles average every week. Obviously, your progress will vary.

What's your next question?