Average Travel Times

This article will be updated periodically. These are averages based on internet research. This means there are hundreds of thousands of differing opinions! Please do not contact me and harp on how correct or incorrect this article is.

Average Horse Gaits

Walk: 4 miles per hour (6.4 km/h).

Trot: 8 miles per hour (13 km/h).

  • In harness racing, the trot of a Standardbred is faster than the gallop of the average non-racehorse. The North American speed record for a racing trot under saddle was measured at 30.25 miles per hour (48.68 km/h).

Canter: 16–27 km/h (10–17 mph), depending on the length of the stride of the horse.

Gallop: 25 to 30 miles per hour (40 to 48 km/h).

For more information see Horse Gait at Wikipedia.

Other Speeds

Pony Express: 7 to 10 mph

Stage Coach: 3 to 5 mph; this would naturally vary based on terrain and the size of the hitch.

Horse Drawn Wagon (long distance): 2 to 4 mph (this was the preferred mode for the gold rush because it was so much faster than ox teams).

Ox Drawn Wagon: 1 to 2 mph ( this was the preferred mode for most western pioneers as they could walk comfortably alongside the wagon and load more freight in the wagon)

Walking (Human): 2 to 3 mph

River Boat (downstream): 5 to 10 mph

River Boat (upstream): 1 to 5 mph

Train: 30 mph (average). Speeds would vary based on terrain, track condition, etc. Some reached a top speed of 80 mph. There was even one article that suggested one of the eastern trains of the period reached a speed of 100 mph.