How long is the hike? You can estimate using Naismith’s rule named after the Scottish climber W.W. Naismith, who devised it in 1892.
Allow 1 hour for every 3 miles (5 km) forward, plus ½ hour for every 1000 feet (300 metres) of ascent.
- When walking in groups, calculate for the speed of the slowest person.
- The basic rule assumes hikers of reasonable fitness, on typical terrain, under normal conditions.
- It does not account for delays, such as extended breaks for rest or sight-seeing, or for navigational obstacles.
- For planning expeditions or walks a party leader may use the rule in putting together with a route card.
- Although the rule was made to help walkers, it has been adapted over the years to give estimated running and cycling times as well.
The timings produced by applying Naismith’s Rule are usually considered the minimum time necessary to complete a route. This is because of the huge variety of factors that can influence the total route time such as:
- The number of stops taken
- Weight carried
- Your fitness level
- Whether there are children in your party
- Weather conditions
- Many other factors
There have been several attempts to ‘correct. Naismith’s original rule to take account of weight, weather etc, but any estimated route times are always a rough guide only, and in practice most routes take longer to complete than most people think.