The Great Outdoors Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who love outdoor activities, excursions, and outdoorsmanship. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

While planning my trip, I was looking at some trails. They all say x amount of hours, but I didn't know if that was to the peak or if that was back and forth. What is the general rule?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm not sure I've seen an x hour hike advertised that hasn't been a round trip (unless explicitly stated otherwise.) This makes sense since a round trip is what almost everyone will be doing, and if it was the other way around and someone didn't realise, potentially dangerous situations could ensue!

EDIT: As Vorac points out, this clearly isn't always the case as I first thought - so it pays to check!

share|improve this answer
I have always seen the opposite - e.g. 3.5 hours from the hut to the peak. Or 1 hour from this intersection to the next hut. – Vorac Sep 13 '13 at 9:55

In my experience, mostly in North America, an X hour hike provided by a park service is typically given for the round trip unless stated otherwise. You can also confirm by looking at the mileage and elevation.

For example, Red Rock provides round-trip hour estimates. For example, Turtlehead Peak takes around 3-5 hours for a round trip; definitely not 6 to 10 hours (at least for an average hiker).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.