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  1. #11
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    I would be happy, I think, to be able to average something on the order of 12 to 16 miles per day. Initially I was thinking about doing Front Royal to Thornton Gap (sections 1 and 2) in two days (one night) which is about 27 miles.

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    MPH on AT

    Quote Originally Posted by cvitter View Post
    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. 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).
    A couple years ago I hiked north from Amicalola Falls to Hot Springs, including the GSNP. This took me three weeks. I found that in the first two weeks, I could reliably plan for 1.5 MPH, including all my stops for water, snacks, rest, photos, chats with other hikers, admiring views, checking guidebooks, etc. So ... a 12 mile day took about 8 hours from leaving camp in the morning until arriving in camp at night; a 15 mile day took about 10 hours, and so on.

    In my third week of hiking, as my "hiking legs" kicked in, I started to approach 2.0 MPH including all stops and delays, with a 20 mile day in 10 hours on my last day on trail.

    I would think you could assume that you will hike at 2.0 MPH when actually hiking, and plan based on that figure and what you think your stops and delays might come to.
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  3. #13
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    Ok, so far I think that the general consensus is that my mileage goals are probably reasonable. That is a bit of a relief and will help me think through some of the mundane logistics like how I am going to get to and from my start and end points.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Les Rust's Avatar
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    I hike a good bit in the Smokies, so a bit more elevation up and down than in the Shennies. I use 2 miles/hour for my general rule of thumb and it seems to hold pretty true. I go a bit faster downhill, but then I have to be careful not to jamb up toes or tweak knees--it works better if I take it slower.
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    A couple of years ago we did the SNP in June doing about 10-12 miles a day, and we are bunch of old, fat, out of shape guys. 8-10 is a good pace, you'll find on the SNP that some sections you'll make better going N-S (as we did), others you will grind pretty hard. Regardless, it's great hike to make. I'd love to do it again some day. PS, we were sufficiently in shape to do a 20 on the last day to walk out of the park as we were trying to gain some time for a one of our group that was walking on further south from the SNP. It almost killed us, but we did it. That was the most tired I have ever been in my life!

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  6. #16
    New Member DSM_Stephen's Avatar
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    Start out at a comfortable rate with lots of breaks and you'll be at 3 mph before you know it
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  7. #17
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    I always figured 2mph unless the wife wants to hold me up a dash by contantly "stoping and smelling the roses" and looking at stuff as you hike. When I am by myself I have cracked 3 to 3.5 but that is more into a force march if you really want to call it that. More enjoyable to slow down and not push it.

  8. #18
    Senior Member UncleClark's Avatar
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    After you get done hiking the AT inside SNP, be sure to go back and hike the side trails. SNP has a lot to see, but most of it isn't on the AT.

    Thru hikers **HAVE ** to hike a certain number of miles average every day, or they won't make it before winter sets in. Hiking a section you can afford to slow down and enjoy yourself.

    Enjoy.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleClark View Post
    SNP has a lot to see, but most of it isn't on the AT.
    Enjoy.
    I have done a lot of the side trails over the years. Not all of them of course because most of hiking in the SNP has been from Swift Run Gap north to Front Royal. I grew up visiting Big Meadow and Sky Land lodges during the summer and in college I used to drive up from Harrisonburg at least once a month year round to hike. Its only recently (after quite a few years away from the park) that I decided I wanted to try the AT through the park.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvitter View Post
    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).
    Since you are still planning and doing section hikes, I might suggest you plan your hikes South to North unless you like up hill hiking.
    Reason, Big Meadow to Mathews Arm is all up and down and not critical, but if you hike North during the last 10 miles toward Front Royal you be going more down hill and with the flow of other hikers.
    Your timing seems right - it gets too hot for me starting in June.
    Also, go with the weather forecast more than a calendar date. No need to mention bear safety - just hang your food items.
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