How Many Calories Are Burned When Hiking? [Will I lose Weight?]

How Many Calories

I enjoy getting out of the house and going for a hike for a couple of hours. It’s fun to visit new places and see all the beauty of nature. Sometimes a hike can be challenging, but it is rewarding because you feel good and get in shape. 

Your weight is the best indicator of the number of calories you’ll burn when hiking. Over time, by taking in fewer calories and hiking consistently, you could lose weight. If you were to take an easy 5-mile hike (2-3 hours), you would likely burn the following amount of calories.

  • If you weigh 100 pounds you would burn 600 calories.
  • If you weigh 125 pounds you would burn 750 calories.
  • If you weigh 150 pounds you would burn 900 calories.
  • If you weigh 170 pounds you would burn 1050 calories.
  • If you weigh 200 pounds you would burn 1200 calories.
  • (Add about 100 – 200 more calories burned for a hard hike.)
  • (Add about 25 more calories burned per 5 pounds of backpack weight) 

Hiking is a great way to exercise and burn calories. You can find some great places to visit and enjoy the outdoors. The calculator and resources in this article can help you plan a hike and find out just how many calories you will use on your next hike.  

How Many Calories Will I burn Hiking?

How Many Calories Burned

Besides being a great way to be closer to nature and soak in the beautiful landscape, hiking is actually a really great way to stay fit. Depending on body weight and the difficulty of the hike, you can end up burning a lot of calories and have fun!

Moving is probably the best thing you can do for your body. Hiking is a consistent moving of your body both forwards and upwards, using your legs, your core, your back, and your heart makes it practically a full-body workout.

Everyone is made differently, so the number of calories you’ll burn will largely depend on your fitness level, weight, fat percentage, as well as how quickly you hike.

Not only that, but the trail itself, and even factors like temperature, can make a difference.

So to find out how many calories you will burn, you need to gather some information first. 

To get a good estimate of the calories that are burned hiking, you will need to know several things. These are: 

  • How much distance will you cover hiking?
  • How much elevation gain will you have?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • How much does the backpack weigh you are carrying?
Hiking Calculator

With these numbers, you can use a hiking calorie calculator like the one above to figure out your approximate calories burned when hiking.

No calculation is perfect. Everyone has a different metabolism and body structure. That being said, you can get a good estimate for how many calories you will likely use by calculating with a hiking calculator.

Getting Hiking Elevation and Distance Numbers 

If you’re not sure about the distance and elevation numbers, there are some resources you can use to get these numbers. 

First, I would try using to get the distance and elevation gain for your hike. You will need to sign in through Google, Facebook, or create an account. I looked up a local hike that I’ve taken several times. It gave me the numbers I needed so I could enter them into the calculator. 

You can also create a path by downloading the app on your phone and letting it create the path you are traveling on.  

All Trails Website

Second, if you can’t find the trail distance and elevation, try using Google Earth Pro. I think is tool is lots of fun and can be very helpful in some situations. Google Earth Pro can tell you the distance and elevation of a path that you. 

I took a desktop video to show how I created a trail of Mission Point, similar to the one on all trails. The nice thing about Google Earth Pro is you can show a 3D flyover view of the trail so you can get a more realistic idea of what it will be like. 

To get the distance and elevation

  • Install Google Earth Pro. 
  • Type in the address or name of the place.
  • Go to the start location and click Add or use (Ctrl + Shift + T) and scroll down the path
  • Type in the path name in the box that opens. (Don’t click OK or close the box) Click on the map to start making the path. 
  • Use the arrow keys or ADWS keys to navigate and click along the path.
  • Once finished with the path click the OK button on the box that opened. Now your path is added to Places
  • To get the distance and elevation right-click the path name under Places on the right panel and go down and click on Show Elevation Profile.   
  • If you want to do a 3D tour of your path make sure to click on Terrain on the menu under Layer on the right panel. Then under Placesclick on path name and at the bottom of the Places menu on the right panel, you’ll see a 3 dot path with a play arrow show up. Click it to get a 3D tour of the path. 
Google Earth Pro

Third, if you need something a little faster, I would use Here you can both get the elevation for the trail you’re taking and the distance. 

To get the elevation

  • Click on the starting point and the ending point if those are the lowest and highest points. 
  • Hover over the two dots on the graph below the map to get the high and low elevation numbers. Subtract the low number from the high to get your elevation gain. 

To get the distance:

  • Click the distance tab at the top of the map
  • Click on the map starting at the beginning of the trail to create a path that covers the trail. Hold down the left mouse button to drag the map. 
  • When finished the distance numbers will be at the top.  
CalcMaps Website

Now that you have the distance and elevation numbers, you can use the calculator to help you get an approximate number of calories that will be burned during your hike.

Losing Weight From Hiking?

Lose Weight hiking

There’s a definite possibility of losing weight from hiking if you build up your stamina over time so that you’re able to hike longer and longer periods of time (see the article about how many miles to hike in a day), your body will burn more and more calories. 

Those who are thru-hikers hike all day and sometimes use an insane amount of calories hiking. According to, you can burn up to 5000 calories a day on a thru-hike. If you’re not careful, you could lose too much weight.

So what about the average person. If you go hiking once a week for 5 miles, would you lose any weight? If you use me as an example and I took the hike that is about 5 miles from the video shown above, I would likely use about 1476 calories on that hike.

It’s considered a hard trail and takes about 3 hours round trip. So if I did this each week, could I start losing weight? This hike does use quite a few calories. On a normal 30 minute run, I might likely use only 280 calories. (

As I hike each week, I will start to build more leg muscle and increase my metabolism. This, along with the expenditure of more calories each week, could help me start to lose some weight, but it all depends. 

What Do I Eat?

Unfortunately, a lot of weight loss involves diet. If I don’t change my diet at all, the weight loss from hiking once a week will probably be very little, if any.

But, if I start eating a bit better (healthier food and fewer calories) on the days I hike and start to make better food choices during the week, I will start to see some loss in weight over time. 

Small changes in diet and exercise over time can result in changes to our weight. Hiking is a great way to get the body in shape, burn calories, increase metabolism, and have fun in nature.

Eventually, you could start to lose weight with changes to your diet and a consistent hiking routine.

Factors That Affect Hiking Calories Burned  

Factors in Calorie Count

The heavier you are, the more your legs and body will need to work to get you through the trail.

So, the number of calories you burn will vary largely depending on your weight. The heavier the weight, the more you work, the more calories are burned.

Someone who’s 150 pounds might burn 300-400 calories per hour of hiking, whilst someone over 300 pounds might burn 500-600, or even more! Besides body weight, there are a few other things that can make a difference too:

1. Your Fitness Level

As strange as it may sound, the fitter and more active people will find it harder to burn calories than those with low fitness levels. This is because fit people’s bodies have adapted to their needs and usage, meaning they’ll already have more muscle mass and less fat, and therefore less to burn off.

2. How Much Weight You Are Carrying with You

Besides the weight of your own body, the weight of your hiking backpack will make a difference too, as it’s more weight that your body has to burn. 

If you want to burn more calories, put more things in your pack or bring a weighted pack on hikes that you don’t usually bring. This will force your body to work harder, and therefore burn more calories.

You can burn about 50 more calories per 5-mile hike if you carry 10 more pounds. You can burn about 100 more calories per 5-mile hike if you carry 20 more pounds. 

3. Your Hiking Intensity

It’s not just about how far you hike, but also how fast. Someone doing the same hike twice as quickly won’t burn twice the calories, but they will definitely burn more calories, as they’ve forced their body to produce a more intense workout rate.

So, if you’re hoping to burn more calories, consider keeping the same route but just doing it faster instead.

4. Hiking in the Mountains vs Hiking in Flat Trails

Although you may prefer the more leisurely hikes, if you’re looking to put your body through a more intense workout, you can burn more calories. More mountainous and challenging terrain will help you get a good calorie-burning workout. 

Any hike will burn calories, but putting yourself on a harder trail, with rocks to climb and inclines to navigate, will force your body to work harder and burn more calories.

Even walking on uneven ground, or having to balance on a sloped surface, forces different muscles in your body to move and increases your work rate and intensity. So instead of the easy flat trails, consider a terrain that’s more of a challenge.

Why Calories Matter When Hiking 

Why Calories Matter

If you are trying to lose weight, that doesn’t mean you should stop eating during the hike. Just the opposite is true. You need to build your leg muscles over time to help you gain strength and endurance. Your body needs nutrients during a workout. Making healthy food choices is the key factor. 

Eating properly on the trail is important to maintaining your health, muscles, and it will help you eventually lose weight if that’s your goal.

Energy Levels

Having a general idea of the number of calories you burn hiking is useful purely because it gives you an indication of how much food you should be prepared to bring to give your body the energy it needs to continue hiking throughout the day. 

When you hike, you want to eat something every couple of hours to get enough calories for your body to burn and still have energy. Too little or too much will leave you tired or having stomach cramps.

Pack Weight

Packing too much food can make your pack too heavy at times. Planning your hike out so you can carry just the right amount you’re used to will help you go further with more energy.  


If you think you can make it to the top of a tall mountain with just your water bottle, you might be right, but you might also be sorry. Failure to take in enough calories will leave you feeling lethargic and lacking in energy.

Your muscles may not have the nutrients to function properly, and this may lead to muscle loss instead of muscle gains or strengthening.  

Final Thoughts

Although the most important thing about hiking should be making it a fun experience, increasing your fitness and giving yourself a challenge can also be a way to make it more rewarding.

You can burn many calories, and this can help you maintain a healthy weight as you continue to hike on a consistent basis. 

Eating right and hiking can help you lose weight over time, and it’s a great way of staying fit. 

Thanks for visiting


I enjoy many types of outdoor activities including running, hiking, and walking. I was a former elementary school teacher for 17 years and now enjoy writing and sharing my love of the outdoors.

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