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Is Hiking 10 Miles Hard?

Is Hiking 10 Miles Hard?

It’s no secret that hiking is hard on the body, but what about hiking 10 miles? Only you will truly know if a 10-mile hike is going to be hard to accomplish. However, there are ways to determine the difficulty level.

Hiking 10 miles is hard if you’re a beginner hiker or out of shape. To accomplish a difficult hike, you need to slowly build up your endurance and distance by working out the muscles you’re going to use on the hike. You should begin training at least six weeks before the hike. 

Let’s take a closer look at hiking 10 miles and how you can properly prepare your body.

How Long Would It Generally Take to Hike 10 Miles?

If your fitness level is relatively good and the hike isn’t littered with hills, mountains, or other obstacles, your 10-mile hike could be around four to five hours. However, if there are large hills or steep slopes, it’s possible a 10-mile hike could take all day.

How much you carry on your person will also determine how fast you can hike the trail. If you carry too much, it will slow you down. So, what might have taken four hours could take you six hours instead.

When preparing for your first 10-mile hike, assume it will take longer than 4 hours. This will account for any breaks you need to take, the weight you’re carrying, and the terrain of the trail. 

Things to Consider When Using a Hiking Time Calculator

When trying to figure out how long a 10-mile hike will take you to finish, you can use a Hike Time Calculator. This will give you a rough idea of how long it will take you from start to finish. You’ll plug in the number of miles you want to travel, and you’ll also need the elevation gain.

It’s important to know that your hike’s elevation gain is not the elevation of the summit. It’s the total sum of all of the elevation gained on the hike. It will include each hill and mountain range that you climb. This is not easy to determine. 

There is a way to find out what your elevation gain might be, but keep in mind it won’t be 100% accurate. This is due to unforeseen obstacles and other things that can occur on your hike. To determine your elevation gain, you’ll want to add up the elevation of all the hills or climbs you make. The downhill portions aren’t counted.

How Far Can a Beginner Hike in a Day?

To determine how far a beginner can hike in one day, you’d need to know how long it would take you to hike a mile. The faster your mile hike is, the more you can hike in a day. However, other things can slow you down, which will, in turn, prevent you from hiking very far.


The weather can cause any hiker to lose time during their hike. Rain and snow can slow you down or even cause you to stop walking and seek shelter. This will make your distance for the day shorter than what it might have been in ideal weather.

It’s always important to prepare for all types of weather you might encounter while you’re on the trail. Looking up the weather ahead of time is a great habit to have when preparing for any hike.

Trail Obstacles

When planning your hike, keep in mind that the trail you choose to hike may have obstacles you don’t know about. These can be anything from fallen trees to large impassable rocks. These aren’t usually things you can foresee, and preparing for them can be challenging.

These obstacles can also hinder your travel for the day. If it’s an obstacle you can climb over and continue your hike, it’s unlikely to disrupt how far you’re able to hike in a day. However, if you have to go around the obstacle, that could add considerable distance to your hike. 

How Much You Carry

The amount of weight you carry is going to determine how fast you’re able to hike. If you’re overloaded with provisions and gear, you’re going to take longer to hike 10 miles. Especially when compared to someone carrying much less than you.

It’s best to carry only what you need and what you know you can carry. If you’re trying to find out how far you can hike in one day, you don’t want to start off carrying gear you don’t actually need. If you think it’ll slow your pace and isn’t vital to your survival, don’t bring it. 

Your Personal Fitness

The most significant factor of how far a beginner will be able to hike in a day will depend greatly on the hiker’s personal fitness level. If you’re not used to walking long distances, hiking 10 miles will be a lot harder for you than someone who often walks 10 miles.

How Do I Prepare for a 10-Mile Hike?

There are two things you need to prepare for a 10-mile hike: your legs and your lungs. As long as you get them in shape for the hike, the rest of your body will follow. It’s a lot of hard work, but as long as you stick with it, you’ll be able to hike 10 miles without any problems.

Develop a Workout Plan

One of the first things you’ll want to do is develop a workout plan to help you gain the muscle you need to complete your hike. Lunges are some of the best exercises to help improve your leg muscles. These exercises work not only your glutes but also your thighs and knees. 

Other important areas to work out would be your shoulders and your core muscles. These will help you with the load you’ll need to carry with your provisions and extra gear.

Increase Endurance by Walking

Walking on unstable terrain such as sand can help improve your hiking endurance. Walking or running on sand requires the use of muscles that aren’t usually used when walking on a treadmill. Taking a brisk walk on a beach can help build up those muscles for your hike.

You’ll want to increase the amount of walking you do through the weeks leading up to the hike. This will increase your lung endurance and help you get accustomed to long treks. 

Gradually Build Your Hiking Fitness Over Time

To properly prepare yourself for a 10-mile hike, you need to gradually build up your tolerance and endurance over time. You can’t rush right into long-distance hiking without giving your body time to adjust. Rushing into a 10-mile hike could result in many serious injuries. It’s important to give your body a chance to grow accustomed to the physical demands hiking has.

The best time to start preparing yourself for a 10 mile hike is at least six weeks before the hike is scheduled to take place. This will give you ample time to get your muscles and lungs ready for it. Start slow on that first week by only introducing small amounts of your training, such as walking for only two or three days for that week.

Also read: 

How can I Strengthen my Feet for Hiking?

How to Get in Shape for Hiking: Training, Tips and Exercises

After the first week, if you find that you’ve adapted well to the exercise, you can increase your training to walk more days of the week or introduce weight training instead. Continue in that manner until the scheduled hike. If you find that you’re struggling with the training, ease back a bit until you feel confident in the increase. You don’t want to injure yourself before or during the hike.


Hiking 10 miles can be challenging for those who aren’t experienced in hiking. The best thing for you to do is prepare ahead of time. It’s also important to remember that every person is different, and it’s vital that you gradually work yourself up to hiking 10 miles. Hopefully, this article has given you helpful information about the difficulty of hiking 10 miles and how you can best prepare for a 10-mile hike.


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