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    Average miles per hour on the AT in the SNP?

    I have never stepped foot on the AT but I plan on starting taking it section by section in April or May starting in the SNP. Right now the plan is to start from Front Royal and work south doing a couple of 2 or 3 day hikes this year.

    Anyway... as part of my planning process I was wondering if anyone has some pointers to information about the average miles per hour hiked in the SNP for someone of average hiking fitness. Right now I am planning on 2 MPH and doing 8 or 10 hour days (with plenty of breaks for sightseeing/resting).

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    Brute1100's Avatar
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    2 miles seems like a decent goal... Most people fluctuate back and forth, sometimes doing 8 miles a day other days covering 20-25 miles a day... Just depends on the terrain, and your exhaustion level...
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    Downhill Trucker's Avatar
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    If you're going to do 2-3 day backpacks in SNP, you can travel 2-4 mph no problem. The problem will be the side trails and great campsites that you will find! If you're willing to put in 8-10 hour days, you will see a lot. Just be sure to explore... SNP has a lot of trails.

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    Member ShortTripHome's Avatar
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    whatever you do, do not push yourself the first day, otherwise you will pay for it the rest of your trip.

    be sure to stop and have an overpriced meal too--they're great and usually worth every penny when you're on trail! the 'shennies will be busy that time of year, so you'll run into some northbound hikers.

    have fun!

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    I am somewhat torn by whether or not to do some side trails on the way. I have never hiked on the AT but I have done a large number of the side trails in SNP over the years. When I went to JMU I used to drive up to the park all the time to go hiking (it was only 30 minutes to the entrance station from my house). I think initially I need to figure out my overall pace on the trail before I plan too many side trips, especially if I am arranging pickups on the trail as opposed to doing an out and back hike.

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    Senior Member bear bag hanger's Avatar
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    The couple times I've gone thru the Smoky National Park I was only able to go about 1 to 1.5 mph. I'm pretty slow, but at the time I was in good shape.

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    Senior Member Risk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brute1100 View Post
    2 miles seems like a decent goal... Most people fluctuate back and forth, sometimes doing 8 miles a day other days covering 20-25 miles a day... Just depends on the terrain, and your exhaustion level...
    2 miles per hour Is good. Number of hours depends on feet and knees, not on exhaustion. I'd suggest not doing a lot more per day than you are actually doing on weekend days before your hike. I made that mistake on my first section hike, doing 20+ miles on my second day. It took 2 weeks for my knee to recover.

    I'm also a fan of at least an hour break in the middle of the day to let joints recover.

    If you work up to 15 mile Saturday hikes, doing 100 miles a week is achievable in a section hike.
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    Senior Member affreeman's Avatar
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    I went through SNP as a thru-hiker and I could count on 2.5 mph including all breaks (8 hours = 20 miles). But as a weekend section hiker I would expect to cover 1.5 - 2.0 mph.

    The trail and terrain look very different when hiking is no longer your full-time job!
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    Last July, I lead a group of 7 from Front Royal to Big Meadows (46.2 miles) in 5 days.
    We averaged approx 1.5 - 2 mph & it made for a nice, enjoyable distance each day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by affreeman View Post
    I went through SNP as a thru-hiker and I could count on 2.5 mph including all breaks (8 hours = 20 miles). But as a weekend section hiker I would expect to cover 1.5 - 2.0 mph.
    I agree about the average speed for an average weekend hiker. I did the SNP about 5 or 6 years ago with my AT thru-hiker daughter (she thru'd a couple of years before). Our longest day was 20 miles, but that was slack-packed to Big Meadows Lodge.

    I don't see any way an average hiker could average 4 MPH or 25 MPD, but that's just me. I MIGHT start off a morning at 3 MPH, but breaks and lunch stops really eat into the effective rate, plus by the end of the day I'm going slow. At 15 miles late afternoon or early evening, I'm not really feeling like doing another 10 miles. At least, not if I want to enjoy the experience. I think we took 6.5 days to do the 108 miles or so (and 3 days were slack-packing), and we hiked into the evenings more than once. I'm just slow, I guess.

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