Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in a natural environments usually along know trails. For humans, walking is distinguished from running in that one foot is always touching the ground. Running begins when both feet are off the ground with each step. This distinction is a formal requirement in competitive walking events. Strolling is enjoyed world wide as a leisure activity where the walk is at a slightly slower pace in an attempt to absorb the surroundings.
I find it totally amazing that the calories burned for strolling, walking, hiking, or running is the same and only depends on distance traveled. Thus, a mall walking granny covering 10k (6 miles) burns the same energy as an Olympic runner over the same distance and as part of a diet plan, strolling is just as good as jogging when measured by the distance traveled. (To strengthen your lungs and heart, you actually have to move a little faster than strolling but that’s a different topic.)
For walking tours with groups of 10-20 people, I plan on peak speeds of 2.5 miles per hour with an average of 2 miles per hour due to educational stops. Anybody who is physically able to stand, walk or shop for two hours will have no trouble joining me on a walking tour.
The pace of an educational hike depends on the bio-diversity and the history of human occupancy in the area of the hike and the speed averages 2 to 3 miles per hour. The more human occupancy and biodiversity (different plants) there are to talk about, the slower the walk. Educational hikes generally take about 3 hours to 3.5 hours and are a little more physically stressing than a walking tour.
To put my favorite hikes in perspective, strolling “Mall Walkers” have a consistent pace of 2.5 to 3 miles per hour with few shopping stops. Walking the dog for exercise is a little more strenuous at 3 to 3.5 miles per hour. Those who do power walking as a cardiovascular exercise have to sustain 3.5 to 4.5 miles per hour for an hour or more while Olympic walkers have to move at 5 miles per hour to be competitive. Joggers move at 5-6 miles for normal humans and those capable of running 12 miles per hour are sustaining an Olympic marathon pace.
I believe that a guided tours should be scenic, informative, a great experiences and fun. The fact that you may also burn a few vacation calories is coincidental.