Hiking is one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities, along with mountain biking, camping, and fishing, especially when the summer arrives in the northern hemisphere after many tiring and long winter months.
If you’re starting your hiking journey, you might notice that many hiking trails are around 10-miles. So you might ask yourself – how long does it take to hike those 10 miles.
A 10-mile hike can take as little as 4-5 hours or as much as a full day. The real answer lies in other factors such as:
- Your Hiking Experience
- Your Fitness Level
- The Terrain of Your Hike
- The Inclines of Your Hike
All of these things determine how long it takes to hike for ten miles.
By confirming your route and acknowledging your fitness and expertise level, you can come closer to figuring out a more precise time.
Is a 10-mile hike long for beginners?
A 10-mile hike is no small feat. If you are new to hiking but have a healthy fitness level, you will probably manage it. However, a beginner to hiking that is not in super fit condition could find the ten miles to be too much.
Taking a ten-mile walk is not the same as hiking for ten miles. Hiking has more rough terrain and steeper inclines than your typical walk around town. If you find yourself unable to walk ten miles, you will want to put in some more hours before tackling a hike.
Keep in mind that in hiking, you will need to bring supplies with you. This can limit your ability to go further if you are used to only carrying a water bottle with you. A 10-mile hike can take a full day, and with that comes the proper equipment. This requires more strength and balance than a walk.
To see if you could do a ten-mile hike, first do a couple of things. Can you walk ten miles on easy terrain with a full backpack? If so, then move on to the next trial. Test out doing a 5-mile hike. With half the distance, you can more clearly gauge your strength, stamina, and timing.
During your 5-mile test hike, bring enough supplies as you would for a 10-mile hike so that you can get a feel for the same experience. Try to test out your 5-mile hike on a similar incline and terrain that you plan for your 10-mile hike.
After hiking for five miles, it is time to sit down and ask yourself the tough questions.
- How am I feeling?
- Could I do double the amount of hiking?
- Is the five-mile hike an accurate representation of what I expect on a ten-mile hike?
Be brutally honest with yourself as you answer these questions. This is the best test to see if you are ready. If the answer is yes to all of these questions, you are probably ready to try a 10-mile hike.
Working up to a 10-mile hike as a beginner
But what if your answer was no to those questions? Or what if the 10-mile walk on flat terrain was too much?
It does not mean that you cannot hike for ten miles. It just means that you need to do some more training before you are ready to set off.
With the proper training and some hard work, you will be able to accomplish your hiking goals. It may take some time, but commit yourself to hike regularly so that you can build up your strength and stamina.
For every test hike that you do, pack everything you need for a 10-mile hike in your backpack. This will help you adjust to the added weight before you technically need that much gear. Doing this can save you frustration down the road.
As you work up to the full 10-mile hike, push yourself a little bit more each time. Do not make huge jumps in the distance. The last thing you want is to push yourself too hard and find that you are discouraged or hurting too much.
As you work your way up to greater distances, remember that stamina is a key component to your success. Your fatigue will increase exponentially, making a jump from a 5-mile hike to a 7-mile hike much more difficult than from 3-miles to 5-miles.
How to prepare for a 10-mile hike?
After you have done more training and test hikes, you are ready to prepare for your 10-mile hike! Choose your route and do some research. Check around on different hiking sites or on Google to see what other hikers are saying about the trail you have your eye on. Many parks have websites that can help you navigate their trails.
Trails are typically graded on difficulty. This can be a good indicator of how hard a hike will be given your fitness level and the terrain. It can also help you to estimate your hiking time.
What to bring to a 10-mile hike?
Due to the variety of things that you need for a 10-mile hike, adjusting to the extra weight is the best way to give yourself a leg up when you set out on your hike. A heavy-duty backpack is recommended for a hike. You will need the proper weight distribution and the extra capacity that they offer.
If the hike is estimated to take almost an entire day, you will need a full day’s worth of food and water. Your body needs a lot of water when you are hiking.
A gallon of water is typically suggested to keep you properly hydrated. This alone can add eight pounds of weight to your pack. It is a good idea to leave extra water in the car so that you can get some extra hydration before the ride home.
You can always use water purification tablets as well.
When packing food, bring more than you think you will need. Pack food that will keep your body fueled and ready to keep going. Bring non-perishable food.
Do not load up on carbs as you need the proper calorie input to make sure that you can finish your hike. A little treat for the halfway point will not hurt though.
Be sure to bring proper trail boots or shoes and be sure they are broken in. You do not want to finish your hike with painful blisters. Make sure that the boots or shoes you wear are proper for the terrain and weather conditions.
It is also a good idea to bring a spare pair of socks. Leave an extra pair of comfortable shoes in the car. Your feet will thank you for switching to something more casual for the ride home.
Depending on where you are hiking, you should pack for any circumstance that should occur when you are deciding what to wear. Light layers are advised as the weather will get cooler as the sun starts going down. Materials that can wick away sweat are a good idea to keep your body temperature more stable.
Do not forget the sunscreen. Even on a cloudy day, sunscreen is critical to keep you from being burned as you will be outside for several hours. Apply before you begin hiking and make sure to keep reapplying it throughout the day. Painful sunburns can make the rest of your hike a real drag.
You may want to unplug from the world while you are hiking, but you should bring a fully charged phone with you. It is vital to have a way to communicate if an emergency should occur.
You can also use your phone to download a trail map and have it with you even if you are offline. Your phone will help you capture the beauty of the trail too if you are interested. If you do plan on using your phone a lot, bring an extra battery pack. It will be worth the extra weight.
Other things that you may want to bring:
- A Treat for Yourself
- First Aid Kit
- A Hat, Hair Tie, or Bandana
- Treats for Trail Pups
- Bear Spray
- Map, Compass or Trail Guide
- A Hiking Knife
Most importantly, bring with you a good attitude and the ability to be flexible. You will have a great hike if you are prepared mentally and physically.