How Long Should It Take To Walk A Mile? (All You Need To Know)

Hiking is a wonderful adventure that anyone can take. It is a great way to get outside, breathe in the fresh air of the trail, break a sweat, and bask in a surge of endorphins high up in the mountains.

I remember when I first decided to hike many years ago. I was searching for some beginner trails that I could go on as well as all the things I needed to bring for my first hike.

But there was a question on my mind back then that sprung up out of curiosity. I was wondering to myself, how long should it take to walk a mile?

I was looking for some kind baseline to gauge how long it would take on average to complete certain trails – and so I did my research.


Your Average Joe

An average person walks at a speed of about 3.1 miles per hour (or about 5km per hour). Naturally, this depends on factors like height, weight, the terrain, level of fitness, age, the effort given, and more.

My two sons, for example, take about 30 minutes depending on how excited they are feeling that day.

Now, if you take that average person and ask him or her to walk on a well-groomed and flat surface until they reach one mile, they should reach to the end in about 17 to 20 minutes.

On the other hand, a person with a higher level of fitness and experience will be able to walk that same mile in about 13 minutes.

Naismith’s Rule

Things change, however, when you ask that person to hike up a mountain or walk on uneven terrain. This is where Naismith’s Rule comes in, and it is a general rule of thumb for planning walking or hiking expeditions.

William W. Naismith, a Scottish mountaineer, devised this rule back in 1892. The premise is simple:

For every 3 miles (about 5km) of walking forward, allot 1 hour then add an extra hour for every 2,000 feet (600 meters) of ascent.

William W. Naismith

For instance – if your hike is 6 miles long, allot 2 hours of time to complete the trail. But if the terrain climbs to 4,000 feet, add 2 more hours, moving the estimated time up to 4 hours.

This rule doesn’t account for delays that may occur such as long rests, photo stops, sightseeing, or navigational problems (aka getting lost). So if you are very new and inexperienced, add an extra 30 minutes, just in case.

2,000 Steps

Going back to our Average Joe and his 20-minute walk to reach one mile, let’s have a little fun and translate that into the number of steps taken.

A regular person has a stride length that is about 2.1 to 2.5 feet. This means that to walk one mile, it would take approximately 2,000 steps.

Fun Fact:

A sedentary person takes an average of about 1,000 to 3,000 steps per day. This may even be lower than 1,000 for highly sedentary people, which is actually detrimental to their health.

Adding more steps to your day proves to have a number of health benefits!

Getting in at least 2,000 steps per day is going to give you significant health benefits, which we will talk about towards the end of this article. So read to know just how good it is to get those legs moving!

10,000 Steps

Have you heard the saying that a person needs to walk 10,000 steps a day to really maximize and improve health and level of fitness? Well it’s true, and as much as possible, you should try to aim for that.

However, 10,000 steps is actually quite difficult to reach, especially today in our very modern world. That is why leaving the city for a hike is a great way to achieve that goal. Even if it’s just on the weekends, it’s a great start.

10,000 steps translate to about 5 miles, meaning it is about a 1 hour, 40 minute hike. If you try to hit the gym or the treadmill for that long you will most likely get bored and want to stop immediately.

But if you’re out on the trail surrounded by the wonders of nature and clean, fresh air, that 1 hour, 40 minute hike is going to go by without you even knowing it.

Let’s put all this information into perspective on one of the longest and most well-known trails in the world – The Pacific Crest Trail.

2,650 Miles

Yes – The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,650 miles long, or about 4,265 kilometers long. It is one of the most well known super long-distance trails in America. But a fair warning, this isn’t for the faint of heart or for beginners, but it’s the goal!

Coyote Ridge, along the Pacific Crest Trail, Goat Rocks Wilderness, Washington

The PCT starts in Mexico, traverses through California, Oregon, Washington and then Canada – so you can imagine the challenge this hike will give you.

If we use the calculation that a person takes about 20 minutes to walk 1 mile, this means that if you walk non-stop, no breaks, and at a consistent speed, you will finish the trail in 53,000 minutes, or about 883 hours, or 37 days.

But of course, that isn’t recommended and is definitely not possible, but it’s fun to think about and just how long the trail truly is.

Hike To Better Health

It’s no secret that getting moving and being active is good for your health. You don’t necessarily have to spend hours and hours in the gym or run 5 miles every day – even just 30 minutes of activity, 4 to 6 times a week has benefits!

All you need to do is to walk that one mile every other day! What’s 20 minutes out of your day? I’m pretty sure your favorite TV shows are even longer than that.

At least when you’re out hiking or walking, you’re getting your blood flowing and your body moving.

Studies have shown that just 30 minutes of moderate physical activities can lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other cardio-vascular diseases.

Researchers have also found out that hiking significantly reduces depression and lifts a person’s mood. It is all about being in the quiet with nature, and away from the stresses of everyday life.

So walk a mile a day, I challenge you! Turn that 20 minutes into 13 minutes and see how much your health and overall mood will improve!

Let It Be Your Guide

Knowing how long it takes to walk a mile will help you estimate how long it will take to complete the trails you are planning on hiking. That way, you will have an idea of how much supplies you need to last throughout the entire journey.

It is also a pretty good way to track the improvements of your fitness level so you learn more about yourself and understand the capabilities of your body.

I hope you learnt something cool about hiking and walking! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section down below. Let me know your record of how long your one-mile walk is as well, I’d love to know!

Rita Myers

I’m Rita Myers, and camping is one of my utmost passions. Growing up near the base of a mountain, hiking and camping have been in my system since I was just a little girl. My love for camping and hiking stayed with me well into adulthood. Now, as a mother of two boys and a wife, I keep my passion alive by bringing my family outdoors. Of course, my family isn’t always up to it, so I write these articles and tips in the hope that you and your family can enjoy the great outdoors like I do!