How Long Would It Take To Walk Across America?

Thinking about untethering yourself from society for a while? Looking for an exciting way to challenge yourself? If so, attempting to walk across the entirety of The United States of America might be for you! According to, if you just hop into it without any thought, you’ll be looking at about a 2,800 mile walk, at least, as this is the widest distance between east and west coasts. However, making the trek on foot will require certain detours to account for impassable obstacles and private property. 

A good way to complete the journey legally would be the American Discovery Trail, the first coast-to-coast, non-motorized trail in the country. The ADT’s northern route is 4,834 miles long and the southern route is 5,057.  

If you averaged an athletic but feasible 15 miles a day, these routes would take you around 320 and 340 days respectively. If you’re averaging much less than that per day, however, the whole journey would likely take well over a year. 

Of course, there are many routes you could take with a little pre-planning, and choosing to run the distance can greatly shorten the overall time of the entire trek. Runners like Yi-joo Kwan have completed the journey in 100 days or less by beginning their daily runs at 4 A.M. and only stopping to sleep. Kwan’s course ended up being 3,100 miles.

Such an odyssey requires planning, support and an unbreakable will. Most who undertake the journey do so for charity or to raise awareness, such as this Navy veteran who crossed the country in the name of homeless veteran awareness. Other people, meanwhile, might just get up and decide to run across the country for no particular reason at all (except maybe that their lifelong love just turned down their proposal of marriage).

Regardless of your own motivation, if you finish, your life, your feet, and your ability to tell awesome stories at parties will never be the same.

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