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Thread: Hiking the AT

  1. #1
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    Default Hiking the AT

    New hikers should expect to hike how many miles per day?

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    It depends on your level of fitness when you start. Everyone is different. Age is a big factor since heath factors get more significant with age, along with pack weight and prior experience.

    You should to be able to do at least 6-8 to start if you expect to get anywhere. Less then 6 miles is a whole lot of resting and not a lot of walking.

    12-15 is a comfortable pace for most of the AT. It can take 2-4 weeks of hiking to be able to do that comfortably and consistently. Eventually, 18-20 mile days will start to be mixed in. At least for a while, then you get to New England.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Registered User The Old Chief's Avatar
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    We're about the same age and if I started the AT this year I would do about 7-8 miles per day for the first 3 days and a little bit longer mileage on the 4th day to get to Neel Gap. If that longer day works out okay plan on 8-10 miles per day until Winding Stair Gap. You should be getting some trail legs by then so 12 mile days from there with some 15 mile days thrown in should be okay. If you start having problems anytime during the first month or so just cut back on your daily mileage. Go to Trailjournals.com and find successful hikers in your age range and study their mileages per day. The trail was 2192 miles long in 2019 and on a six month hike you need to average 12.17 miles per day. That is quite doable with plenty of zero days for rest.

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    Yeah gotta a open in question, to many variables. Like mentioned age, fitness, what trail? What part of said trail, like Maryland is pretty easy. Other parts not so much. Could you elaborate a little further please? As to get a better answer.

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    Edits not coming up sorry ment to kind of a open end question.

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    between 1 and 30

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    Quote Originally Posted by BAFIREWALKER View Post
    New hikers should expect to hike how many miles per day?
    How many miles do/can you walk in a day now? Discount that by about 30% for pack weight and you may be close. Otherwise, time yourself on a trail having a few steep sections over a three day period (can be three day hikes in a row or a weekend camping trip) with moderate pack weight and you can get a pretty good idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BAFIREWALKER View Post
    New hikers should expect to hike how many miles per day?
    I am not young nor in any kind of "tuned" physical condition. A couple of years ago, my rate of hiking on the AT, in relatively steep and rocky terrain started at 5 miles per day, but I could have easily done around 8 to 10. This was during my first 4 days. Traveller's advice re: short trial hikes is right on. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised, as I did.
    humor is the gadfly on the corpse of tragedy

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    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    If your headed NOBO (Northbound), then your going to start with 8-10..with the odd 15 mile for at least 2-4 weeks like Slo-goen was saying. Ive seen many try pushing way to fast at the start and their bodies are not accustomed to the trail rigors yet and suffer injuries that make them get off trail (and less fun to boot). Then later on, with bodies accustom to hiking rigors especially in places like Virginia 20 mile days are likely.

  10. #10

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    Do the math.
    Walking speed times hours spent walking, tempered by trail difficulty.
    My wife and I averaged 1 mph through difficult terrain in Maine, in our 50's some years ago. Otherwise on easier trails we average about 2-2.5 mph including breaks. Maybe hit 3 mph rarely if the stars align.

    We are not beginners, I started hiking the AT in the 1960's, and we also run ultramarathons and other trail races. And we have very light packs. This is just trail reality if you are trying to enjoy the experience, not bust balls.
    Last edited by RockDoc; 01-31-2020 at 11:30.

  11. #11
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    I wouldn't expect to make a certain amount of miles per day. Just go and listen to your body. If you feel you can reach the next shelter (or camp spot (plan ahead a little each day)) then go for it. Early starts are best as you have more time to rest throughout the day or (god forbid) something happens. I got off the couch (a little overweight) and made it to Maine in 133 days. Lost 46 lbs doing it, but I was trying to make a certain date (I didn't). My advice, don't try to rush it, just do what you can, it doesn't hurt to push it a little and have realistic goals, but don't overdo it.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  12. #12

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    You should be able to hike at least one mile per hour and be walking 8 - 10 hours daily (starting 8 am and finishing 6 pm, for example) assuming it is summer. Let's subtract one hour for lunch and rests, so, at minimum, you should be able to hike 8 - 9 miles daily.

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    listen to Old Chief
    great advice! agree 100000%

    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Chief View Post
    We're about the same age and if I started the AT this year I would do about 7-8 miles per day for the first 3 days and a little bit longer mileage on the 4th day to get to Neel Gap. If that longer day works out okay plan on 8-10 miles per day until Winding Stair Gap. You should be getting some trail legs by then so 12 mile days from there with some 15 mile days thrown in should be okay. If you start having problems anytime during the first month or so just cut back on your daily mileage. Go to Trailjournals.com and find successful hikers in your age range and study their mileages per day. The trail was 2192 miles long in 2019 and on a six month hike you need to average 12.17 miles per day. That is quite doable with plenty of zero days for rest.

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    u made it in 133 days? after getting off the couch? good job!

    IMO that's very, very good.... doing the entire AT in 4.5 months NoBo

    just wondering...what was your avg. daily mileage during the first month of the hike?







    Quote Originally Posted by Christoph View Post
    I wouldn't expect to make a certain amount of miles per day. Just go and listen to your body. If you feel you can reach the next shelter (or camp spot (plan ahead a little each day)) then go for it. Early starts are best as you have more time to rest throughout the day or (god forbid) something happens. I got off the couch (a little overweight) and made it to Maine in 133 days. Lost 46 lbs doing it, but I was trying to make a certain date (I didn't). My advice, don't try to rush it, just do what you can, it doesn't hurt to push it a little and have realistic goals, but don't overdo it.

  15. #15
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    I came out swinging and made it through Ga on the 6th day (starting at the arch). I did sort of cheat a little, though. I attempted to hike 2 years prior and made to Roanoke before throwing in the towel. So I took what I learned from the 1st try and drastically cut pack weight/eating habits. My 1st day off was Uncle Johnny's in Erwin. Some days were long/hard miles and others were only a few, but it all averaged out pretty well in the end to be around 16 miles per day (including days off).
    - Trail name: Thumper

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