How Long Does An 18-Mile Hike Take? (Find OUT)

It’s a common question for anyone who has ever considered hiking the Appalachian Trail: how long does it take? The answer is complicated, but this guide will give you an idea of how long your hike might take. 

Knowing your average speed and distance traveled each day can help you plan accordingly before starting your trip. However, on average, it would take about 8-10 hours

Hiking A Perfect 20-Mile Day | Live Ultralight Podcast #131
Estimating the duration of an 18-mile hike is essential for proper planning.
Factors such as terrain difficulty, elevation gain, fitness level, and pace can affect the time required to complete the hike.
Online hiking time calculators can provide estimates based on distance and other factors.
Considering an average hiking speed of 2-3 miles per hour can help in estimating the time for an 18-mile hike.
It’s important to listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and prioritize safety during the hike.

There are 14 important factors that affect how long it takes to hike a mile

The controllable factors are:

  • Pace: How fast or slow you walk or run
  • Distance: How far you go before stopping to rest or eat lunch/snack

The uncontrollable factors include:

Terrain (i.e., incline) The steeper the terrain, the longer it will take for each step because your feet have farther to travel up and down with each step taken at a steady pace than on the level ground where there is no change in altitude from one step to the next (unless you’re running).

When planning your hiking adventures, it’s essential to estimate the time required accurately. Wondering how long it takes to complete a 16-mile hike? Explore our guide on calculating hiking durations and find out more about the factors influencing hiking time. Visit our article on how long does a 16-mile hike take for insightful tips and information.


The weather will also affect your hike. For example, if it’s hot and sunny, you’ll probably be able to hike faster than if it’s cold and rainy.And if there are many thunderstorms in the forecast, you might want to reconsider hiking at all (or at least plan on taking a lot of breaks). 


The temperature is another factor that affects hiking time. If you’re used to the heat, hiking in a hot climate can be enjoyable and even challenging. 

But if your body isn’t accustomed to the heat, it could have trouble regulating its own temperature and that can lead to serious health problems like heat exhaustion or worse. 

Heat exhaustion occurs when excessive sweating causes a loss of vital electrolytes (sodium and potassium), leading to dizziness and fatigue; meanwhile, severe cases progress into heat stroke where the body’s internal organs start shutting down because there’s nothing left for them to do.

The human body has many ways of helping regulate its own temperature: blood vessels expand or contract depending on what’s needed at any given moment; sweat glands release water onto your skin so that it evaporates into thin air; hairs on your head stand up so they catch more wind (which helps cool off). 

But all these mechanisms are affected by many factors: clothing choices will impact how fast sweat evaporates from your skin; hydration levels affect how much water is lost through sweat; wind speeds alter how quickly air moves across your face as you hike uphill or downhill which means temperatures are often higher going uphill than going down! 

Temperature RangeDescription
Sub-zeroBelow freezing temperature; extreme cold conditions.
ColdCool to chilly temperature; typically ranges from 32°F to 50°F (0°C to 10°C).
MildComfortable and moderate temperature; typically ranges from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C).
WarmPleasantly warm temperature; typically ranges from 70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C).
HotHigh temperature; typically above 85°F (29°C).

Add altitude into this mix too since higher altitudes mean less oxygen is available for respiration which gives rise again an increased risk for heat-related illness, especially during strenuous activity such as hiking long distances at high altitudes where these physiological processes already become limited due solely upon physical exertion alone.”

Whether you’re a beginner hiker or looking to explore a shorter trail, understanding the time it takes to cover a specific distance is crucial. If you’re wondering about the duration of a 5 km hike, we’ve got you covered. Dive into our article on how long does it take to hike 5 km to learn more about estimating time, pacing, and enjoying your hiking experience.

Wind Speed

The third factor that can affect how long it takes to hike a mile is wind speed. If you’re hiking in an area where there are no trees, the wind speed can be a factor of the terrain, temperature, altitude and humidity.

Winds tend to move from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas. If you’re hiking on flat land with very little vegetation between you and the nearest mountain range or forested area, then your body will feel like it’s being pushed by a gust of wind when walking into higher elevation zones where there’s more oxygen available for breathing (and therefore less resistance).

If you’re walking through dense forests or other places with lots of physical barriers between yourself and higher elevation zones, then your body will experience less resistance as it moves into these areas due to all those physical barriers blocking any incoming winds – which means they’ll feel like they’re not pushing themselves forward at all!


Altitude is a factor, too. The higher you go, the more effort it takes to walk. You breathe harder and sweat more. 

Your body has to work twice as hard just to keep going at the same pace it would at sea level. This can make hiking feel much more difficult than it really is: even though an 18-mile hike might only take 12 hours of walking in normal conditions, if you’re doing it at high altitudes (like on a mountain) that same hike could take up to 24 hours!


Terrain is a huge factor in hiking speed. The terrain you’re walking on will determine how fast or slow you can go, so it’s important to consider this when planning your hike.

Flat terrain is much easier to walk on than hilly terrain. If you have access to flat ground, then going at a faster pace will be more comfortable for both your body and mind!

Rocky ground is harder to walk on than soft ground like sand or dirt because there are more obstacles like rocks underfoot that make it harder for hikers to move forward quickly.

Snowy landscapes tend not only be cold but also icy underneath the snow’s surface, which makes them hard for everyone except those trained specifically for winter hikes because they have special equipment such as crampons (spikes) attached directly their boots that help distribute weight evenly so they don’t slip off balance easily while moving around slowly due

Planning a hike on the renowned Stanford Dish trail? Knowing the time it takes to complete the trail can help you better prepare for the adventure. Discover the estimated duration and insider tips in our detailed article on how long does it take to hike the Stanford Dish. Get ready to explore this iconic hiking route!

Carry weight

The weight of your pack, gear and water will determine how long it takes to hike. If you are not used to carrying a heavy load on your back then this may be something that will take some time for you to adjust too.

I would recommend that if you are going on a long hike (more than 5 miles) that you try out the weight before hand so that you can get used to having it on your back and carrying it around with ease.

When I first started hiking I didn’t know what I needed until I had an 18 mile hike under my belt so let me share with you some tips:

Bring less than what feels comfortable – especially food as this can start weighing down your pack quickly! 

It’s better too have extra supplies than not enough because if something happens along the way then at least there is something there when needed.

Make sure everything fits into one bag/backpack – do not carry multiple bags or put things in pockets etc.. 

You’ll find yourself stopping every few minutes just because something else needs another place instead of being in one place where everything is easy accessable but also protected from rain etc..

ActivityCarry Weight (lbs)
Gym workoutVaries

Gear weight

Gear weight is one of the most important factors in determining how long it takes to hike a mile. The more gear you carry, the slower you’ll go. The lighter your gear is, the faster you’ll be able to hike.

There are many ways to reduce your pack weight and make hiking easier on yourself: bringing less food or eating less per meal; trading in a heavier tent for a lighter tarp, or vice versa; using micro-spikes instead of snowshoes; packing fewer socks so that each pair lasts through more days without washing (this helps prevent blisters). These are just a few ideas – there are many more!

Embarking on a mountain hike requires careful planning and an understanding of the time commitment involved. Curious about the duration of a mountain hike? Our article on how long does a mountain hike take provides insights into the factors affecting hiking time in mountainous terrain. Discover helpful tips and make the most of your mountain adventures.

Water weight

Water weight is water in your body. It’s a combination of water in the blood, water in the cells and water in the digestive tract. 

Water weight can fluctuate throughout the day as you drink more or less fluids and eat foods with different amounts of salt.

Hydration level

Your hydration level is a measure of how much water your body contains. It’s important to drink enough water to stay hydrated, because dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and even death.

Dehydration Symptoms: Headaches, nausea/vomiting, fatigue/weakness (especially when exercising), dizziness, confusion or disorientation, muscle cramps and fainting.

Hydration LevelDescription
OptimalProperly hydrated; fluid intake is sufficient for optimal bodily functions.
Mild DehydrationSlight decrease in hydration level; may experience mild thirst or dryness.
Moderate DehydrationSignificant decrease in hydration level; increased thirst, dry mouth, and decreased urine output.
Severe DehydrationCritical lack of fluids; extreme thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, confusion, and minimal urine output.

Recovery time between hikes

The recovery time between hikes is different for everyone. It depends on your physical fitness level and current physical condition. 

If you’re not used to doing much hiking, then your recovery time will be longer than someone who is already in good shape and has been doing long distance hikes for a while.

It also depends on how much training you do before your hike so that your body is prepared for the trip ahead. The more often you go out there, the less downtime it takes after coming back home from an amazing outdoor adventure

Current hiking fitness level

It is important to take your current hiking fitness level into account when planning your hike. If you are out of shape and have not been doing much walking or hiking, then it will take longer to complete the trail. 

On the other hand, if you are in good physical condition and are regularly exercising (or even training for a specific event), then you should be able to hike faster.

Once again, this is not an exact science and all hikers are different; however, this can give you a general idea of how long it might take someone with average fitness levels to complete an 18 mile hike on trails like those found in Shenandoah National Park.

Preparing for a 7-mile hike and unsure about what essentials to pack? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Our comprehensive guide on what to pack for a 7-mile hike offers valuable insights and tips to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable hiking experience. Get ready to hit the trails with confidence!

Hiking experience level

The experience level of each hiker is another factor that will determine how long a hike takes. Experienced hikers can hike faster than beginners, as they know how to pace themselves and they’re more likely to know the best places to stop for the night.


We hope that this post has helped you understand how long it takes to hike 18 miles, and we wish you all the best on your journeys. 

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an adventure of a lifetime, we think everyone deserves to spend some time in nature!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful for calculating hiking time and planning your hikes:

  • TrailsNH Hiking Time Calculator: Use this online tool to estimate hiking times based on distance, elevation gain, and your hiking pace. It can assist you in planning your hikes more accurately.
  • Mom Goes Camping: How Long Does It Take to Complete a Hike?: This informative article provides insights into factors that affect hiking time, such as terrain difficulty, fitness level, and pack weight. It offers tips on estimating and managing hiking durations.
  • The Wild Guides: Hiking Time Calculator: Explore this hiking time calculator that takes into account various factors like distance, elevation, and trail difficulty to provide estimated hiking times. It can help you plan your hikes more effectively.

These resources offer additional information and tools to enhance your understanding of estimating hiking times and assist you in planning your hiking adventures more efficiently.


How can I estimate the duration of a hike?

Estimating the duration of a hike depends on factors like distance, elevation gain, terrain difficulty, your fitness level, and hiking pace. You can use online hiking time calculators or consider an average hiking speed of 2-3 miles per hour to get a rough estimate.

What factors influence hiking time?

Several factors influence hiking time, including the length of the trail, elevation gain, terrain difficulty, weather conditions, rest breaks, and the weight of your backpack. Fitness level and hiking experience also play a role in determining how long a hike will take.

How do I calculate hiking time?

To calculate hiking time, divide the distance of the hike by your average hiking speed. Consider the terrain difficulty, elevation gain, and the need for rest breaks. Additionally, using hiking time calculators or referring to trail guides can provide more accurate estimations.

How can I improve my hiking pace?

Improving your hiking pace can be achieved through regular physical exercise, including cardiovascular workouts and strength training. Building endurance, improving your cardiovascular fitness, and practicing hiking on various terrains can help you increase your speed and efficiency on the trails.

What should I do if I am hiking slower than expected?

If you find yourself hiking slower than anticipated, it’s important to reassess your pace and adjust your plans accordingly. Take breaks as needed, stay hydrated, and listen to your body. It’s better to prioritize safety and enjoy the journey rather than rushing through the hike.