We are using affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases at no extra cost to you.

When you’re planning to go on a hike, you most likely look at the distance that the hike covers to gauge the level of challenge and the time it might take to complete it. Often when seeing the hiking distance, many people aren’t too sure how long it will take to hike it, and the lack of knowledge may make you underestimate or overestimate the time you’re going to spend there.

How long does it take to hike 10 miles?

The short answer is:

The average walking speed for humans is 3-4 mph on flat ground, hiking trails involve additional consideration like elevation gain and obstacles.

Easy Terrain: On trails well-maintained with minimal elevation gain, it will take between 3–5 hours, hiking at a speed of 2-3 mph, the hiking time will mostly vary depending on the experience and fitness level of the hiker.

Moderate Terrain: Trails with moderate terrain difficulty, meaning they have some elevation gain will require around 4–6 hours to complete 10 miles, the hiking speed for this type of terrain is 2-2.5 mph.

Hard Terrain: Challenging terrains with significant elevation or obstacles will take 6–8 hours, with the hiking speed being 1.5-2 mph on such trails.

The longer answer is that it depends on many factors, if you want a more accurate answer, keep reading!

Factors To Consider

When considering all the factors that affect your walking speed, you will be able to make a more accurate calculation of how long does it take to hike 10 miles.

Elevation gain

Changes in elevation gain will affect your walking speed. Hiking uphill requires more time and effort, while hiking downhill can be covered more quickly.


The difficulty of the hiking trail significantly affect the hiking speed. While an even and flat terrain allows you to progress faster, a rough terrain with steep inclines or obstacles will slow down your pace.

Personal Fitness Level

Your fitness level plays a crucial role in determining the time it will take to hike 10 miles. Experienced hikers will most likely be able to hike quicker than beginners and have fewer stops and rests.

Backpack Weight

The weight of your backpack will affect your hiking speed, the heavier your backpack, the harder it will be to hike, especially on harder terrain

Rest Breaks

It is necessary to rest from time to time, get hydrated and snack to regenerate your energy levels. The frequency and duration of breaks will impact the overall time.

Weather Conditions

Temperature, wind and precipitation, all influence your hiking pace.

Tips for Optimal Efficiency

If you want to cover 10 miles quicker, we’ve created a few tips for more optimal hiking.

Training & Preparation

Prioritizing your fitness level will make the most significant change in hiking pace, as it will allow you to move faster, take shorter and fewer breaks and also will help you with obstacles on the trail.

Light Pack Weight

When packing your backpack, make sure to only take essentials and stay away from heavy things, this will lead to fewer breaks, and walking faster.

Stay Hydrated

Make sure you’re hydrated and energized before and during the hike, as it will help your energy levels, enabling you to conquer the trail!

Naismith’s Rule

Naismith’s rule is a popular method used by hikers to estimate how much time it would take to complete a hike based on distance and elevation gain.

William Naismith developed the rule in the late 19th century, and it provides a basic guideline for planning hiking routes.

The basic premise is that it takes 1 hour to hike 3 miles on flat terrain, and then you add another hour for every 2000 feet of elevation gained.

So, if you hike 10 miles on flat terrain, it would take 10 miles divided by 3 miles per hour and will equal 3.33 hours.

But most likely you will hike a trail with some elevation gain, so let’s take into calculation 2000 feet of elevation gain, so that would be 3.33 + 1 = 4.33 hours (4 hours and 20 minutes) to hike 10 miles.

Remember that Naismith’s rule is a rough estimation and doesn’t account for factors like fitness level, trail conditions and more. It is merely a very basic calculation.

In conclusion

In this article, we went over all the factors that you should take into account when raising the question of “how long does it take to hike 10 miles”. We have introduced you to Naismith’s rule and made some rough estimations about how long it would take, and the conclusion is that it differs based on the factors presented, but we can say that it takes the average hiker between 3–5 hours.

Written By David Ignatchuk

April 2, 2024