A Hikers Guide to Hiking 20 Miles a Day

Hiking 20 miles daily is one of the best forms of workout since the average person can cover around 3-4 miles an hour based on the average hiking speed.

It works on your shape, combats depression, improves sleep, and improves your overall fitness level. 

Hiking lets you clear your head, get in some sunshine and breathe fresh air. If you want an intensive yet fun workout, this article will give you the complete guide to having the best hikes.

How to Plan for your Hike

1. Where to Start

Many think hiking 20 miles a day is easy; however, this distance can be challenging if you are unprepared. Before a hiker heads out on a hike, they need to plan where they will start and end their hike. This will help the hiker conserve their energy and avoid getting lost. 

2. What to Bring

When planning your hike, it is important to consider the weather conditions. Make sure you have proper clothing and equipment for your weather. A 20 mile hike a day can be done in just four hours, but if you are hiking in difficult terrain, it may take longer, again depending on the hiking pace. A hiker should consider the time of day when planning their trip and carry along the necessary items.

3. How to Train

If you’re thinking of hiking the Appalachian Trail, or any other long trail, be prepared to put in a lot of hard work. Start by training for a few weeks before your hike. This will help you get used to the strenuous nature of a long distance hike and help increase your endurance. 

It’s also important to have realistic expectations about how long it will take you to hike the trail and to adjust your plans accordingly. Remember that there are plenty of rest stops along the way, so don’t feel you have to push yourself too hard. Just take your time to have the best day hikes. Always check the trail conditions before beginning a hike on any trails and bear in mind your elevation gain or loss. The overall ascent and descent you will make in a day are measured in elevation gain and loss, respectively.

4. Find a Hiking Buddy

If you want to hike 20 miles a day, you’ll need to also find a hiking buddy planning on hiking this distance. Hiking with an experienced hiker as a hiking buddy will make the trip more enjoyable, and you’ll be able to share in the experience. There are volunteers who offers a ride or a bed can themselves as trail angels. They serve as unpaid volunteers and if you’re fortunate, a Trail Angel could be able to directly help you in some way.

5. Gear

Make sure you have proper hiking boots or hiking shoes, a hat, and sunscreen when going on a longer hike.

6. First-Aid Kit in Case of Injury

In addition to proper gear and supplies, planning and bringing a first-aid kit is important. This kit should include ibuprofen, paracetamol, bandages, and sprays in case of injury. 

Taking these precautions before a long hike out into nature allows you to enjoy your trip without worrying about major injuries.

Tips for Making Your 20 Miles a Day Hike a Success

Although planning for your day hiking trip is important, it isn’t enough. You need to be aware of your surroundings and ensure you do the right things on the hiking trail to have the best experience. 

Here are some tips to guide you on the hiking trail.

1. Take Breaks as Needed

Having a 20 mile hike daily can be tiring, so take breaks as needed to avoid feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. If you are a beginner hiker, do not attempt this hike if you are not prepared for the challenge!

2. Staying Hydrated on the Hiking Trail

During a day hike or backpacking trip, it is important to stay hydrated if you are expecting to make it to the end. Not only will this help avoid any nasty surprises along the trail, but also it will help keep your energy levels up and your muscles moving. 

Make sure to pack plenty of water in a backpack or hydration pack and frequently drink throughout the day.

3. For Backpacking, choose ultralight backpacking

Ultralight backpacking is a subset of lightweight backpacking, which emphasizes carrying the least amount of gear possible. While no technical standards exist, some hikers in the United States define “ultralight” as an initial base weight of less than 4.5kg.

4. Stay Warm

Another key consideration for hikers is staying warm. Carry enough clothes and layers so that you can adjust as needed, and be sure to bring along a hat and gloves if conditions start to get cold.

5. Pace Yourself Accordingly. 

Start slowly, you can try interval training and build up your endurance gradually; do not try to do too much too soon! Know the distance to be covered and your strength, and plan accordingly.

For example, the Appalachian Trail is a challenging journey, and there is no shame in admitting that it may be too much for some hikers at 20 miles a day or even 10 miles a day! 

6. Enjoy your Experience! 

Remember that hiking 20 miles a day is about enjoying the experience!

Top Hiking Locations in the World Where You Can Hike for 20 Miles a Day

Hiking 20 miles per day is a great way to get in a lot of hiking in a short period. This type of hiking is perfect for people who want to explore different locations without having to spend too much time on the trail. 

Many great hiking locations around the world in Africa, North America, Europe, Asia, etc…, offer hikers the opportunity to hike for 20 miles per day.

Here are 13 of the best:

1. Mount Kilimanjaro 

Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano. Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira are the three volcanic cones found there. Located in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is known as one of the tallest mountains in the world and offers hikers an amazing view from its summit

With a height of 5,895 meters above sea level and roughly 4,900 meters above its plateau base, it is both the highest peak in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. 

To hike to the summit, you will need to climb up more than 19,000 feet and cover a distance of almost 20 miles. You can trekking poles when hiking at Mountain Kilimanjaro.

2. The Andes 

One of the world’s longest mountain ranges, the Andes runs along the western coast of South America. Glaciers, volcanoes, grasslands, deserts, lakes, and forests all make up its diverse topography. The mountains are home to fauna including chinchillas and condors as well as pre-Columbian archaeological sites. 

Spanning across both South America and Chile, the Andes are home to some of the tallest peaks on Earth, including Aconcagua (the highest mountain in South America) and Ojos del Salado (the highest mountain in Chile). 

To hike up these peaks, you will need to cover a distance of more than 20 miles each day.

3. The Great Wall Of China 

One of history’s most impressive and iconic landmarks, The Great Wall of China stretches 6,500 miles from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west. 

As a defense against numerous nomadic groups from the Eurasian Steppe, the Great Wall of China is a network of fortifications that was erected along the historical northern frontiers of ancient Chinese states and Imperial China.

Constructed over many centuries, it is a series of fortifications, walls, and gates built to protect the Chinese empire from invaders. Today, The Great Wall is a popular tourist destination with visitors able to hike or take a bus along its length.

4. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, United States of America

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies on the line separating Tennessee and North Carolina. The vast area is covered in dense woodlands and a profusion of perennial wildflowers. 

Along hiking trails that cross an area of the Appalachian Trail, streams, rivers, and waterfalls can be seen. The tallest peak, Clingmans Dome, has an observation tower on top that provides breathtaking views of the mist-covered mountains. It encompasses over 6,000 square miles of forest and wildflower terrain. 

The park is home to over two hundred miles of hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The park is also known for its spectacular waterfalls and for the many mountaintops that offer stunning views.

5. Yosemite National Park, United States of America

In the Sierra Nevada mountains of California sits Yosemite National Park. It is renowned for its enormous, old sequoia trees as well as Tunnel View, the famous scene of the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome in addition to the towering Bridalveil Fall. 

Shops, eateries, housing, the Yosemite Museum, and the Ansel Adams Gallery, which features prints of the renowned photographer’s black-and-white views of the region, are all located in Yosemite Village. 

Yosemite National Park was established on April 26, 1864, and covers an area of 1,814 square miles. Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular parks in the United States with over five million visitors every year. 

The park is famous for its towering granite cliffs, waterfalls, meadows, and forests. There are more than 130 trails that crisscross through Yosemite National Park and it can take up to three days to hike all of them.

6. Kosciuszko National Park, Australia

In the Australian state of New South Wales, close to the Victorian border, is where Kosciuszko National Park is located. Gum trees, wildflowers, waterfalls, and limestone canyons characterize the region’s rocky alpine scenery.

Kosciuszko National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Australian Alps. The park covers an area of 5,546 square miles, and it is home to more than 2,000 species of plants and animals. The park is popular for hiking, camping, skiing, and snowboarding.

Mt. Kosciuszko, the tallest mountain on the Australian mainland, and the Snowy River can be found there. Perisher Ski Resort and Thredbo Resort are both ski resorts; the latter boasts a year-round chairlift for valley views and long day hikes.

7. The High Tatras Mountains, Slovakia and Poland

Slovakia and Poland are naturally separated by the Tatra Mountains, which are a component of the Carpathian mountain range in eastern Europe. Both the Slovak and Polish sides are protected as national parks and are well-liked summer and winter sports destinations. 

Wildlife inhabits the Tatras, including bears, marmots, lynxes, and Tatra chamois. Slovakia has the highest mountain in the range: 2,655m Gerlach Peak. There are many trails that one can take to explore the area and hike 20 miles a day, including the popular national trail.

8. La Palma Island in the Canary Islands, Spain

Off the coast of northwest Africa, La Palma is one of Spain’s Canary Islands. Volcanoes like Tenegua and Cumbre Vieja are scattered across its rough, wooded terrain. Santa Cruz de la Palma, the capital of the island, is a harbor city with winding cobblestone alleys and homes with wooden balconies. 

The Caldera de Taburiente National Park is surrounded by pine forests, has a sizable crater-shaped feature, and is punctuated by waterfalls. La Palma is a volcanic island in the Canary Islands. The island is about 20 miles long and 10 miles wide and has a population of just over 2,000. 

La Palma is mostly hilly, with several peaks rising to 1,500 feet. There are few roads on the island, so most of the hiking is done on foot or by donkey. The landscape is varied and includes dense forests, steep cliffs, and barren lava fields. 

There are also several small streams and waterfalls to be found on the island. La Palma’s most famous attraction is its National Park, which contains many spectacular geological features including an active volcano.

9. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

The highest mountain in New Zealand, Aoraki/Mount Cook, is located in the arid Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, which has 19 summits that rise above 3,000 meters. The park encompasses an area of over 640 square kilometers and features spectacular landscapes, including glaciers, lakes, and fiords. 

The park is home to a large number of flora and fauna species, including alpine plants and birds such as the kaka. Hiking trails crisscross the park, allowing visitors to explore its many attractions at their own pace.

10. Ararat Province, Turkey

Ararat Province is situated in Eastern Turkey. It is bordered by Armenia to the southeast, Georgia to the south and west, and Iran to the northwest. The town of Artashat serves as both its capital and major city. The province bears the name Mount Ararat from the Bible. 

Turkey borders it on the west, while the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan borders it on the south. The province has an area of 9,562 square kilometers and a population of 413,000 people. The most important tourist destinations in Ararat are Lake Sevan and Mount Ararat.

11. Luchon-Villars Ski Resort, France

Luchon-Villars Ski Resort is a ski resort located in the French Alps. It is considered one of the most prestigious ski resorts in the world, and it has been hosting skiing events since 1892. 

The resort has a total of 48 ski lifts, and it is home to a number of world-class facilities, including a casino, golf course, and several hotels. 

Luchon-Villars Ski Resort is also well known for its downhill skiing opportunities, as it has 12 kilometers of downhill skiing trails rated as some of the best in Europe.

12. Appalachian Trail, Gatlinburg, NC, United States

The Appalachian Trail, more commonly known as the AT, is a 2,189-mile footpath that runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail passes through 14 states and was designated as a National Monument in 1937. 

More than 71 miles of the Appalachian Trail pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It comes into the park from the south near Fontana Dam and leaves from Davenport Gap towards the northeast. The trail is well-maintained by the National Park Service and there are many shelters and campsites along the way.

One of the most popular sections of the AT is Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg is known for its numerous tourist attractions, including The Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood. 

The town is also home to several restaurants and bars that cater to hikers. Although it can be busy during peak season, Gatlinburg is still a great place to hike and relax.

Other parks and trails in the United States that you might be interested in include:

1. John Muir Trail

2. Pacific Crest Trail

3. Continental Divide Trail

4. Glacier National Park

5. Highline Trail

6. Olympic National Park

7. North Cascades National Park


If you are thinking about hiking 20 miles a day, or any distance for that matter, it is important to remember that your body and mind will both be pushed to their limits. 

This type of long-distance hiking is not for the faint of heart, but it can be incredibly rewarding if you are ready for the challenge. Please consult a doctor before beginning this hike if you have any injuries or health concerns. 

Additionally, always wear a helmet and sensible walking shoes when hiking in areas with rocks or uneven ground. Hiking 20 miles a day can be tiring and challenging, but with careful planning and preparation, it can also be rewarding.

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