How Far Should You Hike in A Day? (A Beginners Guide)

How Far Should You Hike in a Day

Hiking can be very addictive once you get used to it. It is one activity that gives you pleasure and, at the same time, keeps you in perfect shape both physically and mentally.   

While the activity benefits an individual’s overall health, knowing how much of it you should be doing in a day will go a long way in helping you achieve your goals.

So how far should one hike in a day?

There is no limit to how far one should hike in a day. The range varies among individuals depending on fitness status, the difficulty of the topography, the weight of your hiking gear, shifts in heights, and the weather condition. While experienced hikers go up to 30 miles daily, amateurs should only strive to hike up to 6 miles a day. 

This article contains all you need to know about the most effective distance an average hiker should cover in a day.

By the end, you will understand how to best plan and achieve the most from hiking.

How Much Hiking Is Recommended in a Day?

How Far Should You Hike in a Day

You can hike for 8 to 16 miles on average in a day. However, skilled hikers even go up to 30 miles a day. 

Generally, some factors will determine how far an individual can hike in a day. 

More often than not, experienced hikers have mastered the art of endurance, so some factors have little or no effect on how far they hike in a day.

On the other hand, the possible distance that will be covered in a day by beginners solely depends on these factors.

You will get various answers if you ask a group of hikers how far they can hike a day. However, certain factors will impact the daily hiking distance.

Some factors that have the highest impact on how far one should hike in a day include the following.

#1. Fitness Level

Your fitness level will go a long way to determine how far you will hike in a day or any time.

Fit individuals stand a better chance to attain more distance during a day’s hike.

Fitness entails physical well-being, endurance level, and general health status. That is why you ought to see a doctor for a thorough check-up before you even start hiking.

The doctor’s recommendations will help you plan better and understand how to involve yourself in a hiking activity.

#2. Gear Weight 

The heavier your backpack, the more slowly you will hike, meaning you are more likely to cover a shorter distance when you have a heavy backpack.

On the brighter side, your gear helps in building your upper body. Therefore, going with a backpack that suits your body stature is crucial.

Practicing with a backpack will improve how fast you can hike, even when carrying heavy weight.

#3. Topography

The topography you use for a hike significantly impacts how far you can go. Challenging terrains usually require more energy and time while relatively slowing you down.

It is easier when you use a flat topography. But, of course, when you hike on flat terrain, you tend to go faster and cover more distance.

#4. Changes in Height

You will most likely hike slower when you climb an elevated terrain.

Also, since oxygen levels decrease with every climb, you will cover a lesser extent as you encounter changes in height levels.

#5. Weather Condition

You will cover a greater distance when the weather is calm and collected. Generally, you will hike slower when it’s raining, or the sun is too hot.

How Far Should a Beginner Hike in a Day?

A beginner should go 2 to 3 miles in a day. However, factors like weight, age, and fitness level will play a role in determining how far a beginner should hike in a day too.

A beginner should stay within 6 miles in a day. You want to avoid getting hurt and miserable in the middle of a hike.

It would be best if you took things easy and progressively improved the number of miles as you gained more experience.

It is okay to start slow and master all the hiking techniques before setting new distance records.

And a beginner must adequately take rest breaks at intervals to regain strength before moving on again.

You must understand that you are not out there to prove any points but to exercise and improve your general well-being.

As a beginner, it would help if you took your time and adequately learned through the experiences you will gain as you start hiking.

Getting fit enough to cover more miles is more challenging than you think, especially for a beginner who has yet to work out.

You are bound to experience sore joints and general body pain during your first hiking days, but perseverance will get you to the top.

As a beginner, plan on the miles you want to cover in a day and do not forcefully try to cover them. Constant practice will get you there in no time.

Just because you can cover 10 miles daily doesn’t mean you should. Always consider your fitness level, gear weight, and weather condition before setting out to hike.

How Much Hiking Is Too Much?

While hiking is good, it becomes bad when you excessively hike. Once you hike above your threshold, it becomes too much.

However, there are variations among different hikers on how much hiking becomes extreme.

In reality, even experienced hikers have a limit; once you forcefully hike above that limit, it becomes too much.

It would help to develop a hiking plan for yourself. That way, you will be sure you are doing the activity appropriately.

You should know we have training programs to deal with the risk of being overly involved in a particular exercise or activity. 

It is not okay when you want to go a little too quickly as a beginner. You must understand that hiking excessively has its consequences.

You might end up with an injury when you overstretch your leg muscles. Also, remember you should not overwork your heart.

While it is good to set new distance records, you should always hike according to your ability. 

Some Negative Effects of Excessive Hiking 

  • Recurrent headaches.
  • High resting heart rate.
  • It reduces performance rate.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • You experience persistent heavy and tender muscles.

You may experience the same adverse effects even when you walk excessively. 

While walking and hiking come off as the same thing, there are still a few differences between the two.

The table below contains some of the differences.

You encounter elevation changes while hiking.You don’t necessarily encounter elevation changes.
Hiking requires particular types of equipment.You don’t need special equipment for a walk.
Hikes are usually longer.Walks are shorter.


How Often Do You Need to Hike to Lose Weight?

Try hiking 2 to 3 times weekly for at least 1 hour when hiking for weight loss.

Is Hiking Once a Week Good?

Yes, it is okay to hike once a week. However, hiking should always be a thing of fun. As such, you should always do what works for you.

Josh Matthews

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