Knowing the amount of time it takes you to hike 7 miles is essential for a hiking trip. Estimating the amount of time helps you figure out how much water and food you should pack and is also critical for planning an appropriate start time for your journey.
Hiking 7 miles will take approximately 2 to 7 hours, depending on the pace, trail surface, and pack weight. Additional variables such as the elevation gain and the number of breaks you will take during the hike can affect how long it takes to hike 7 miles.
The rest of this article will explain how long it takes for an average person to hike 7 miles in various types of terrain, the differences in hiking mountainous terrain compared to flat terrain, hiking time calculator results, and what to carry on your 7-mile hike.
How Long Does It Take the Average Person to Hike 7 Miles?
Most beginner hikers ignore keeping track of their hiking pace, but it is essential to know the duration it would take for you to complete a defined distance when planning more extended trips. Keeping track of time makes it easier for you to figure out what part of the day is best to start and end the hike and know if you will be on the hiking trail for a longer duration.
The average hiking speed depends on the individual and the terrain. The rate you hike is different for each person; the fitter and more experienced you are, the quicker and longer you will walk. The only way to boost your endurance and increase your stamina is to hike and hike some more, so do not get frustrated by others on the trail.
Here are a few scenarios to figure out how different factors can influence the duration of your hike:
- Most people can walk at least 3 miles per hour walking on flat terrain with a light backpack, so if you are in good physical condition, you can quickly go up to 4 or 5 miles per hour.
- Most people can walk 2 miles per hour in speed with a backpack holding an average weight in some moderate terrain levels. You can most likely cover up to 15 to 18 miles in a day with short rest breaks.
- If you are hiking with a fully packed backpack on rugged terrain with a steep incline, the speed you hike will most likely be approximately one mile per hour. Your hiking speed will slow down naturally as your body begins to tire, and rugged terrain is exhausting for most people to hike.
Don’t Forget Elevation Gain on your 7 Mile Hike
There are many differences when hiking mountainous terrain compared to flat terrain. The most significant factor in measuring hiking speed over a given distance is elevation gain.
Elevation gain is how many feet over a given distance you are climbing. So if you begin your hike at approximately 6,000 feet in elevation and climb to 10,000 feet over 4 miles, then that would be calculated as an elevation gain of 1,000 feet per mile.
About 100 feet per elevation gain per mile is considered easy, with 500 feet per mile being of moderate difficulty, and 1,000 feet per mile is generally regarded as difficult and strenuous.
There is also a direct influence of the slope itself on your hiking pace. The steeper the climb, the slower you will hike. Similarly, you can expect your speed to go faster as you walk downhill. However, it is necessary not to overestimate your downhill pace, as you will need to slow down to negotiate steep parts of the route.
You will need to watch your feet on rough terrains such as snow, rocks, or trails overrun with roots. Many hikers leave reviews after hiking on trails regarding the type of terrain and tips for other hikers, so search online for the latest information regarding the trip you plan on taking.
Hiking Time Calculator Results for a 7 Mile Distance
The hiking calculator from TrailsNH estimates the time it will take for your hiking trip based on the trail’s distance, elevation gain, intended pace, backpack weight, and the trail’s terrain. When you pick the choices closest to the conditions you will be facing on the path; the calculator will predict the approximate hiking time.
It also provides predictions using Naismith’s Law and Book Time for your reference as well. For example, plug in the following details into the calculator:
- Distance: 7 miles
- Vertical Gain: 2,000 feet
- Intended Pace: Normal
- Trail Surface: Good
- Pack Weight: Regular
The estimated hiking time, according to the TrailsNH calculator, is approximately 3 hours and 54 minutes of moving time.
Naismith’s Rule estimates the hiking time to be 3 hours and 15 minutes, based on a mile taking 19.5 minutes for every mile with an additional 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet of ascent during the hike. Book Time estimates the hiking time to be 4 hours and 30 minutes, based on approximately 30 minutes for every mile with the addition of 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet in ascent.
What Do I Need for a 7 Mile Hike?
The American Hiking Society recommends every hiker to pack the “Ten Essentials” every time you head outdoors for a hike, whether you plan on hiking for several hours to backpacking for many months.
These Ten Essentials are:
- Appropriate Footwear: Think about support, traction, and protection when selecting shoes or boots. If you plan on hiking with minimalist or barefoot shoes, pack another pair just in case. Also, tips from experienced hikers always say to pack a spare pair of socks.
- Navigational Tools: Phones can become unreliable, so carry a compass and a paper map as a backup.
- Water (with filtration system): Plan to drink half a liter of water per hour in moderate terrain and temperatures. You will need to hold enough water for your hiking trip and know where to fill up when you are outdoors. It is also useful to have some filtration system to purify water to avoid water-borne illnesses.
- Food: Carry an extra portion of calorie-dense foods to fuel you on your hike just in case you hike longer than expected.
- Extra Layers: Weather can shift rapidly, so dress in layers to adjust to changing conditions.
- Safety Items: Hold items that can help you start a fire, see the trail in the dark, and signal for assistance.
- First Aid Kit: While taking supplies to treat injuries is essential, it may help attend a class and gain knowledge to administer first aid and CPR.
- Tools: Having a knife or multi-tool in your pack can help you on the trail, whether for repairing gear or first aid.
- Sun Protection: Use sunglasses, sunscreen, and protective clothing regardless of the weather.
- Shelter: A lightweight and inexpensive space blanket can protect you if you are stranded or injured.
Additionally, carry a Ziploc or trash bag as you can use it to keep any food waste or trash. Additionally, you can also pick up any trash you come across when hiking the trail and keep it separate from the other items in your pack. You can then throw the litter away later to maintain the path for other hikers to enjoy.
A 7-mile hike can become a long hike for both beginner and experienced hikers, depending on the terrain and the elevation gain. Knowing the amount of time you take on hikes is vital to handle the shifting weather and trail conditions. Make sure to pack only the essentials to avoid weighing yourself down.
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.