When planning a hike, it’s a great idea to get a feel for how long the trek will take. This can help you plan which hikes are best for the time you have and can aid in setting goals.
Everyone walks and hikes at a different pace, however, so figuring out how long a five-mile hike will take can sometimes be a challenge. Taking a few factors into account can help you narrow down the time.
Did you know? 5 Miles is equal to 8.04 Kilometers or 8046 meters.
Average Hiking Times
On average, hikers will need to allot about one hour for every three miles they plan to hike. Using this to calculate the length of a five-mile hike shows us that the hike will take more than one and a half hours.
|Hiking Distance||Hiking Time||Factors Affecting Time|
|3 Miles||1 Hour||Elevation, Terrain, Weather, Fitness Level, Breaks|
|5 Miles||1 Hour 30-45 Mins||Elevation, Terrain, Weather, Fitness Level, Breaks|
Note: These times are a guide only and can vary for everyone
This is not always the definitive answer to how long a five-mile hike will take, however.
If you need to factor different elevations into your hike, the total time of the hike will change. In addition, things such as terrain and local weather conditions can play a role in how quickly you or your group can hike five miles.
Personal fitness levels, the pace you set, and the number of breaks you take also change how quickly you hike. For these reasons, times for a hike of five miles can vary greatly.
In general, however, a five-mile hike will take somewhere between one and a half and three and a half hours.
Terrain is one of the biggest factors when it comes to how quickly your five-mile hike will take. If the area or trail on which you’ll be hiking is mostly level and smooth, the hike will go more quickly.
However, if there are a lot of changes in elevation, the hike will be more strenuous and will therefore take more time. Although three miles usually takes about one and a half hours for an average hiker, hikers will need to factor in another hour of time for every 2000 feet of elevation they climb.
If you’re hiking up, of course, the first half of the hike will take much more time than the second half, during which you go downhill. Hiking downhill can have its own challenges, however, and a steep descent can greatly slow your hiking speed.
If the terrain is rough, instead of a neatly manicured trail, and you need to climb or maneuver over obstacles such as fallen logs, rocks, or even boulders, this will also increase the total time of your hike. Rough terrain or going off of the trail can slow your hiking pace down to one mile per hour.
Personal pace has a lot to do with how long it will take you to hike five miles. There are several things that factor into personal pace. Your overall fitness level will determine how quickly you can hike.
If you’re an experienced hiker, for example, you’ll most likely be faster than someone who is still building up their hiking stamina. Experienced hikers can sometimes hike about four miles in one hour, instead of the average three miles. This, however, depends on other factors such as terrain and weather.
Even experienced hikers, however, sometimes want to set a more leisurely pace. This is also true when it comes to hiking in pairs or a group. If the group is made up of people with different fitness or experience levels, you may need to set a slightly slower pace to accommodate everyone.
What you are carrying also determines how fast your pace will be, and therefore how quickly your hike will go. If you’re only doing a day hike, you might be carrying nothing more than a small backpack. Some people will only carry a cellphone and water bottle. Anyone who’s traveling light will set a faster pace.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to hike into an area and are carrying camping equipment, the heavy items will weigh you down, slowing your pace. Camera equipment can also be heavy and can mean a slower overall pace. A heavy pack can cut your hiking speed down to two miles an hour.
Weather also plays a part in how long a five-mile hike will take. Good weather often means that trails are dry and easy to hike on and that visibility is clear. However, if you find yourself caught in fog or rain, visibility decreases, and you may need to slow down and be cautious in order to stay safe.
If the trail is wet or muddy, you’ll also need to take extra care not to slip, and this can slow down your hike by quite a lot. At higher elevations, you may even encounter snow or ice, both of which require a more cautious, and therefore slower, hiking pace.
Wind and rain can also blow debris onto your path, which can slow your pace as you pick your way safely around obstacles.
How long your hike takes also depends on how many breaks you want or need to take. If you’re looking forward to a relaxed hike where you frequently pause to observe nature or take pictures, your hike will, logically, take more time.
On the other hand, you may want to push yourself, taking as few breaks as possible in order to build strength or endurance. However, it’s important to remember that breaks are often necessary.
If you’re traversing over rough terrain, you’ll most likely need to take more breaks than if you’re hiking over a relatively level surface. You’ll also need to take more breaks if you’re hiking at a higher elevation. At higher elevations, the air is thinner, and it can be difficult to catch your breath. This makes more or longer breaks crucial.