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How Long Does a 10 Mile Hike Take?

How Long Does a 10 Mile Hike Take?

A 10-mile hike, especially for those not used to long-distance hiking, is not a simple feat. It depends a lot on your fitness level and experience as hiking this distance will take many hours and require you to carry a backpack during the hike. 

A 10-mile hike can take between 4 and 10 hours, depending on the pace, trail surface, elevation gain, and pack weight. Additional variables can affect the amount of time it takes to hike this distance, such as your level of fitness, the number of rest breaks you take, and the weather.

The rest of this article will explain the differences between hiking in the mountains in comparison to flat terrain, the best hiking time calculator, what you need for the 10-mile hike, and how much water you need for a 10-mile hike. After reading the article, you will be ready to take on a 10-mile hike.

Hiking 10 Miles in the Mountains vs Flat Terrain

The terrain depends on the mountain, varying from relatively flat to steep and rocky. There are many factors to consider, from footing to difficulty of the trail itself, along with taking into consideration the weather conditions that can abruptly become wet and windy.

What to Consider

Besides the hiking trail distance, the elevation gain during hikes also plays a crucial role in rating the difficulty of a hiking trail in the mountains. Generally, you can hike 400 meters (approximately 1,312 feet) of elevation gain every hour but depend on the slope’s steepness and the terrain. 


It is easy to take a tumble and lose your footing on the uneven surfaces you will find during mountain hikes. While you might only hike well-maintained trails during your outdoor adventures, you will need to watch your footing for navigating the different types of terrain.

For instance, adjustable trekking poles can be a great support item for hikers. These poles not only relieve strain on the body, especially during descents but can also keep you upright as you find your footing on the mountains.


Hiking in the mountains are usually trails of various difficulties and are usually half a day to one-day trips with extensions for longer backpacking trips. Most of the popular hiking trails are rated depending on the difficulty level.

This rating ranges from relaxed strolls to vigorous and more strenuous hikes. Usually, trips that involve hiking on mountains with high elevations are rated more difficult than other comparable distances. 

Additionally, trips that require carrying a pack may also be rated at a higher difficulty level.

My Favorite Hiking Time Calculator

My favorite hiking time calculator is from TrailsNH. This hiking calculator calculates your round trip hiking time based on the trail’s distance, the terrain’s surface, the amount of elevation gain, and the pace you intend on taking during the hike. After picking all your choices, the calculator updates the time it takes for you to finish the trip.

The hiking calculator also calculates the time your hike will take by considering Naismith’s Rule and Book Time. For instance, Naismith’s Rule of thumb estimates a hike on easy terrain based on approximately 19.5 minutes for every mile, with an additional 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet (304 meters).

Book Time forecasts that hiking in the mountains will be approximately 30 minutes for every mile, with an additional 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet (304 meters) of climbing.

What Do I Need for a 10 Mile Hike?

It could take just 5 hours for a 10-mile hike in relatively flat terrain and take all day for a 10-mile hike with rugged and steep hills that require frequent rest breaks. If you are a beginner to hiking or feel that your stamina is not the best, you might want to practice for a 5-mile hike first, holding all the food and water you need for the 10-mile trek.

A 10-mile hike can easily take all day, which can mean that you will need to bring an entire day’s supply of water and food. A longer distance means packing extra water and food, which will add a significant amount of weight to your pack. You will also need a spare pair of socks, bear spray, poncho, first aid kit, a map, multi-tool knife, or follow the “Ten Essentials.”

Ten Essentials

The “Ten Essentials” was assembled in the 1930s by a Seattle-based outdoor enthusiasts organization called The Mountaineers to help people prepare for emergencies. Packing the “Ten Essentials” even on short day hikes is a good habit for all hikers, and you should customize the items for the trip you plan to take.

The “Ten Essentials” list has evolved to what it is today:

  1. Navigation tools
  2. Headlamp or light source with additional batteries
  3. Sun protection (sunscreen and sunglasses)
  4. First aid (including animal and insect repellant)
  5. Knife (or multi-tool)
  6. Fire (lighter, stove, matches, etc.)
  7. Shelter (ultralight tarp, emergency space blanket)
  8. Extra food
  9. Extra water
  10. Extra clothes

How Much Water Do You Need for a 10 Mile Hike?

Water is one of the essential items to bring with you for hiking. But how much water do you need for a 10 mile ( meter) hike? While you want to ensure that you have enough water for the trail to keep you hydrated, water can get too heavy to lug around, so you do not want to carry too much.

The approximate time and distance to complete your hike will depend on your estimate. Be honest with your condition when predicting the time it takes to finish a hike. Do not assume that you will complete the hike faster if you are fit and in a decent physical condition.

Generally, the amount of water to bring when hiking is about 2 cups (0.5 liters) of water for every hour of hiking. If your hike takes approximately five hours, then you will need to bring at minimum 10 cups (2.3 liters) of water. You may drink more than this basic guideline.

Also read:

How Do You Get Water While Backpacking?

What is the Best Water Purifier for Backpacking?

If you are not sure how much water you will need for hiking, or a newbie hiker, always lean on the side of caution and carry more than you think you will need! Calculate twice the number on the first hike as you will be relieved to have it.

Additionally, it can take a lot longer or shorter to hike one mile as it depends on the incline and terrain. That is why the rule of water estimates cups per hour rather than cups per mile that you may hike.

You should also factor in the weather. If it is a hot day, you will need more water for your hike than on cooler days. You may need to factor in about 4 cups (1 liter) of additional water in humid or hotter weather for every hour you plan on hiking.

There may also be a place during the trail where you can filter your water, but this depends on you knowing where these water sources are located and how reliable they are. For instance, a small water stream might be dry during the hottest days of summer. Some hikers that backpack carry a minimum of 2 liters (about 10 cups) of water, yet others prefer to drink at water sources.

Either way, you should always plan to know exactly when and where you will be filling up next, as it will depend on how much water you will need to carry during your hike.


A 10-mile hike requires preparing in advance, even for experienced hikers. Estimating the approximate amount of time it takes for you to hike will help you determine which items you need to pack and how much water you must bring. It takes a lot of patience and practice to have the stamina and strength to proceed with a 10-mile hike.


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  1. Kimball says:

    Thanks for pointing out the TrailsNH Hiking Time Calculator Erick. Nice to hear it’s your favorite. Mine too.