Hiking 101: How Long Will It Take to Complete a 5-Mile Hike

hiker and backpacker

Going on a hike is one of the best ways to reground and find peace. Being around nature instantly puts you in a better mood and mental space. When you go on hikes, you need to consider many things, such as the terrain, the weather, and even how long your hike will take.

When you have an estimate of the duration of your hike, you will be able to know what hiking gear you should bring and use. For example, there are different types of hiking footwear in the market. If you’re planning to go on a 5-mile hike, it’s best to wear the appropriate footwear that will last the whole trip and withstand any type of terrain.

This article will discuss 5-mile hikes, how long it will take to complete, and the different terrains that can affect your travel time.

How long will I be able to complete a 5-mile hike?

Ideally, a 5-mile hike on flat terrain will take about 2 hours to complete. However, factors like fitness levels, terrain, weather, elevation, and water breaks aren’t considered. In that case, you’ll need to bring the right gear and wear appropriate hiking footwear that will help you when you deal with other factors during your hike.

An average hiker with a small backpack will have a pace of 3 miles an hour. Meanwhile, an experienced hiker will be a bit faster and have a speed of 4 miles an hour. Another factor you need to consider is carrying heavy packs. When you bring a more massive bag, your pace may drop to 2 miles an hour. This is why it’s best to pack light and smart so that it won’t significantly affect your travel speed.

What are the different terrain conditions I should know?

The type of terrain plays a huge factor in how long you’ll complete a 5-mile hike. On-trail hikes are relatively easy to complete in an hour and 45 minutes, especially if you carry a light bag. However, off-trail hikes are a bit more challenging. When you are traveling through a thick forest or navigating through a boulder labyrinth, add a bit more time to your estimate. 

Common mistakes newbie hikers make is that they think downhill hikes will be faster than the ascent. This is not entirely true because going downhill may be quite challenging, depending on the terrain and elevation. To get a better estimate, include an additional 1 hour to your time for every 2,000 feet.

How many calories do I burn on 5-mile hikes?

It is safe to assume that the reason you’re hiking is to squeeze in a bit of exercise while enjoying nature’s beauty. In general, a person can burn about 300 to 600 calories per hour while hiking. If you go on a 5-mile hike and it took you about 2 hours to complete, you most likely have burned 530 to 1,000 calories.


Going on a hike is one of the best exercises you could do to enjoy nature and burn calories. If you want to start hiking regularly, learn how to calculate your hiking time to bring the proper gear and hiking footwear. When you’ve finally figured out your hiking pace and how far you can go, you can keep challenging yourself and go to different hiking adventures.

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