Writer's Resources
Writer's Resources 

Travel Times in Middle-earth 

Designed for Tolkien fan-fiction authors but widely used in RPGs and by historic, western and fantasy authors. 

 

Please use the ‘find’ function in your browser window to search for the departure/destination combination. If it is not listed individually, it may be found as a leg of a longer journey.

 

The minimum times are loosely based on a horse traveling 12-15 mph, with rest breaks dropping the average to approximately 10mph. The times are decreased (average speed increased) for easy routes such as level roads, and increased (average speed decreased) for cross-country travel, multiple river crossing or difficult terrain such as hills or mountainous regions. I’ve also tried to consider that an urgent rider may push hard to ride 100 or more miles in one day, if that was the entire length of the trip. It would not be possible to maintain that pace over several hundred miles and I reduced the average speed (increased travel time) for the longer distances. It may be possible to shave some time off of these minimum times riding a Meara or Elf-horse, depending on the skill and stamina of the rider. 

 

The average times are calculated, loosely, on 20-30 miles per day, (depending on terrain) with a rest day every 4-6 days. Sitting on a walking horse for hours and hours at a time is agonizing. It is much easier to trot and canter 25 or 50 miles than to walk/jog 15. -for the horse as well as the rider (speaking of a fit horse) A horse can walk about 3mph so that gives you about ten mile legs at the walk between breakfast and lunch and lunch and supper. Notice those are average times, not maximum times.

 

There are instances in canon of trips much slower than what we have listed. For example, Bilbo and the dwarfs traveled only an average of about 10 miles per day on ponies, where Frodo & Co averaged 17.5mpd on foot over the same distance from the Shire to Rivendell. Another example would be Boromir's trip to Rivendell. It can be assumed that Boromir did not travel in a direct route once he left Tharbad and perhaps wandered somewhat before then. Rivendell was said to be a hidden place and it is probable that Boromir spent time looking for it as he traveled up the Bruinen.

 

A point to remember with wagons is that they make about half the mileage in a day that horses and riders can make. Riders can vary their pace from walk, trot to canter, but wagons ... go one speed. Especially on a long journey. Also, among the American pioneers it was common for wagon trains to make a rather long lunch stop of two or three hours, to allow the animals pulling the wagon a chance to step out of their traces and relax, eat, drink, etc. So, for wagons .... 15 miles per day is probably maximum. Less if the road is hilly, rocky or muddy. A layover day every 4-5 days is very good. If the terrain is especially hard, or if the roads get boggy, two days rest would be well. On arduous trails over several weeks' travel, a horse can pull down and lose weight and condition, so husbanding them over a long journey is important. Those layover days allow them to relax, physically and mentally, and really eat their fill and not burn it back off right away. On choosing between routes, wagons would take a longer route in order to stay on a road as opposed to attempting a cross-country route.

 

Note on Hobbit ponies: I don’t believe the average times would be significantly slower, unless they decided to stop and set camp for each meal. The minimum times would depend more on the type of horse or pony (draft, cob or saddle type) rather than the size. This would also depend somewhat on the distance. – being that a larger/taller (longer-legged) horse could outrun a pony over a distance of 20-30 miles, but over the longer distance, the horse would not be moving above a speed that a good riding pony could match for an extended period.

 

Timelines: This chart was compiled without distinction between the Ages. Please verify the existence of your departure and destination locations, and the routes themselves, from a separate source.

 

 

 

DEPARTURE DESTINATION MILEAGE MINIMUM AVERAGE COMMENTS
           
Crossroads in Ithilien Crossings of Poros 185 miles 2 days 8 days road
Crossroads in Ithilien N. Bordr Ithilien 135 miles 1 day (24 hrs) 3 days where the road turns towards the Black Gate
Edoras Isengard 175 miles 2 days 8 days Continuation of Great West Road through Westfold.
Emyn Arnen Crossroads in Ithilien 50 miles 4.5 hrs 2 days north along the Harad Road.
Minas Tirith Cair Andros 65 miles 6 hrs 2.5 days road
Minas Tirith Edoras 350 miles 4 days 15 days through Anorien and Eastfold along the Great West Road
Minas Tirith Barad-Dur 150 miles 1.5 days 5 days road and thru Ephel Duath
Minas Tirith Emyn Arnen 30 miles 2 hours 1 day (well-traveled, probably road)
Minas Tirith Henneth Annun 60 miles 5 hrs 2.5 day via Cair Andros (safer route, and quicker)
Minas Tirith Henneth Annun 60 miles 7 hrs 3 days through Ithilien, over Anduin at Osgilith / heavily wood
Minas Tirith Pelargir 140 miles 1.5 days 6 days direct shot down the South Road. Well travelled merchant route, likely with attendant inns and hostelries
The Old Forest Road Bree 80 miles 1 day 5 days Over the Barrowdowns
Rivendell Delta of Greyflood 400 miles 4 days 20 days To Thrabad following the Bruinen
Brandy Hall Hobbiton 60 miles 5 hrs 2 days  
Brandy Hall Tuckboruogh 63 miles 5.5 hrs 2 days Stock Road through Green Hill Country
Hobbiton Michel Delving 65 miles 5.5 hrs 2.5 days By road
Hobbiton Tuckborough 65 miles 5.5 hrs 2.5 days 15 miles overland, 50 miles by finished road
Tuckborough Michel Delving 55 miles 5 hrs 2 days Mostly on Great East Road
Tuckborough Tookbank 8 miles 45 minutes ½ day Over Green Hill country along Stock Road
Michel Delving Greenholm 43 miles 4 hrs 2 days On Great East Road
Greenholm Tower Hills 50 miles 5 hrs 2 days On Great East Road
Buckland Bree 50 miles 5 hrs 2-3 days Overland, inc. forest and downs.
Forlond Mithlond / Grey Havens 225 miles 3 days 8 days The Gray havens are on both sides of there the River Lhun just widens to become the Gulf of Lhun. There does not appear to be a bridge across the River Lhun and you will need to cross for quickest transit; so assume a ferry.
Mithlond/Grey Havens Over Tower Hills 65 miles 7 hours 2 days Either over or around Tower Hills slows pace.
           
           
Hobbiton Minas Tirith       Wagon / Afteryule season (winter)
Hobbiton Bree 100 miles X 8 days East Road / Wagon ~ Afteryule season (winter)
Bree Thrabad 200 miles X 16 days The Greenway / Wagon ~ Afteryule season (winter)
Tharbad Gap of Rohan 325 miles X 26 days Old South Road / Wagon ~ Afteryule season (winter)
Gap of Rohan Edoras 125 miles X 11 days Great East Road / Wagon ~ Afteryule season (winter)
Edoras Minas Tirith 350 miles X 28 days Great West Road / Wagon ~ Afteryule season (winter)
Mitheithel Angle 150 miles 1.5 days 5 days cross-country - following the R.Mitheithel
           
           
Minas Tirith Lothlorien        
Great West Road Edoras 350 miles 5-6 days 15 days good road
Edoras=>Overland Entwash 150 miles 1.5 days 5 days north-east. cross-country w/ r.crossing
 
W.Emnet
Entwash -> Wold R. Limlight 100 miles 1.5 days 4 days north/cross-country
Limlight R. Celebrant 75 miles 1 day 3 days Ford R.Limlight, cross-country, ford R.Celebrant
Celebrant Galadhon 10 miles 45 minutes 3 hours cross-country
Lothlorien Edoras 325 miles 5 days 14 days see above notes
           
           
  Rivendell       see refs re: the time period & relative safety of the Old Forest Rd vs the Forest Path. It could be assumed that the safety of passage of The Old Forest Road is inversely tied to the rise of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur.
 
Thranduil - Elven King's Hall
Thranduil's Caverns Laketown 50 miles 5.5 hrs 2 days from the edge of Mirkwood, thru Long Marshes as the Forest River enters Long Lake.
Celeduin Old Forest Road 75 miles 1 day 4 days edge of Mirkwood
Old Forest Road thru Mirkwood 200 miles 3 days 7.5 days spiders and nasties / on avg tt - 30 mpd; no rest days because of danger
Edge of Mirkwood River Anduin 25 miles 2 hrs 1 day cross at Old Ford, terrain likely flat, stay on road
Old Ford Misty Mountains 50 miles 4.5 hrs 2 days typical up-slope land form, still on Old Forest Road
Turn North to High Pass 12 miles 1 hr 1/2 day foothills overland or unfinished road/path
Start of High Pass over Misty Mountains est 125m 1.5 days 6 days mileage estimated for mountain switchbacks, obstacles and attendant difficulties
           
alt route - the Path west to Forest Gate 200 miles 3 days 7.5 days Forest path maintain by Thranduil’s patrols
Anduin south Old Ford 130 miles 1 day 4 days Banks of Anduin. Floodplain, grasslands, possible marshy
           
           
Pelargir Dol Amroth       by land / mostly road
route-1 Pelargir Ethring / road via Linhir 225 miles 3 days 8 days South Road from Pelargir. W. to Linhir. N. to Ethring
or          
route-2 Pelagir Ethring / cross-country 175 miles 2.5 days 9 days Cross-country, ford R.Serni, R.Gilrain
Ethring Edhellond 130 miles 1.5 days 4 days along the river Ringlo south to Edhellond
Edhellond Dol Amroth 65 miles 6 hrs 2.5 Along the beach, sea/salt-water only
           
route-3 Pelargir linhir 100 miles 1 day 4 days by road
Linhir to Hills of Tarnost 60 miles 1 day 2-3 days cross-country
east foothills over Tarnost Pass 10 + 15 miles 1/2 day 1 day mountain pass
west foothills Edhellond 60 miles 1 day 3 days  
           
route-4 (Stealth!) T.Pass skirt W.foothills to D.A. 140 miles 1.5 days 7 days directly from the pass to Dol Amroth / not via Edhellond
           
           
Bree Rivendell       By way of the Great Road, bypass the marshes
Bree To last bridge 225 miles 2 days 11 days By road
Last bridge Bruinen 115 miles 1 day 6 days By road
Bruinen Imladris 30 miles 2 hrs 1 day Following river path
           
           
Delta of the Greyflood Minas Tirith       By way of Rohan, north along the White Mountains
Tharbad Gap of Rohan 325 miles 3 days 13 days Old South Road to the fords of Isen
Fords of Isen Edoras 125 miles 1 day 5 days On Great West Road
Edoras Minas Tirith 350 miles 4 days 10 days On Great West Road
           
           
Rivendell Fornost       Cross country over the Weather Hills
Imladris Bruinen 30 miles 2.5 hrs 1 day Forest trails
Bruinen Last Bridge 115 1 day 4 days Road
Last bridge overland Fornost 260 3 days 10 days Plains and rolling downs
           
           
Lothlorien The Shire/Hobbiton        
Caras Galadhon Mount Foothills 100 miles 1 day 5 days Following Celebrant
Redhorn Pass Over Mountains 100 miles 5-10 days 15 days Inc. switchbacks (possibly impassable on horseback)
Foothills Tharbad 225 miles 2.5 days 15 days Follow Swenfleet/Sirannon (Decreasingly rough terrain)
Tharbad Bree 200 miles 2 days 12 days The Greenway
Bree Hobbiton 100 miles 1 day 4 days East Road
           
           
1. Minas Tirith Rivendell       Through the Gap of Rohan
Minas Tirith Edoras 350 miles 4 days 15 days through Anorien and Eastfold along the Great West Road
Edoras Gap of Rohan 125 miles 1.5 days 5 days Great West Road
Gap of Rohan Tharbad 325 miles 3 days 13 days Old South Road
Tharbad Rivendell 400 miles 5 days 20 days Follow R.Mithiethiel NNE, ENE fork of Bruinen
           
2. Minas Tirith Rivendell       Rohan/Anduin/HighPass
Minas Tirith Mering Stream 200 miles 2 days 10 days Along Great West Road
Mering Stream Anduin 225 miles 3 days 12 days Overland (area of Wold/South Undeep)
Wold Field of Celebrant 75 miles 1 day 3 days Following Anduin
Field of Celebrant Lorien 125 miles 1.5 days 5 days Following Anduin
Lorien Gladden Fields 150 miles 1.5 days 6 days  
Gladden Fields Old Ford 125 miles 1.5 days 5 days  
Old Ford Misty Mountains 50 miles 4.5 hrs 3 days Typical up-slope landform, still on Old Forest Road
North High Pass 12 miles 1 hr ½ day Across Mountains, foothills overland or unfinished Rd.
High Pass Rivendell 125 miles 2-3 days 12 days Over mountains. Changes in elevation, switchbacks, mountain terrain and all attendant difficulties.
           
3. Minas Tirith Rivendell       All Anduin/High Pass
 
Minas Tirith Cair Andros 50 miles 6 hrs 2.5 days road
Cari Andros Rauros 200 miles 2.5 days 13 days Through the Mouths of the Entwash and Wetwang.
Rauros Through Emyn Muil 100 miles 2-3 days 12 days Through Emyn Muil (maybe impassable for horseback)
Downs & Brown Lands Field of Celebrant 130 miles 2 days 12 days  
Field of Celebrant Lorien 125 miles 1.5 days 8 days Following Anduin
Lorien Gladden Fields 150 miles 1.5 days 8 days  
Gladden Fields Old Ford 125 miles 1.5 days 7 days  
Old Ford Misty Mountains 50 miles 5 hours 2 days Typical up-slope landform, still on Old Forest Road
North High Pass 12 miles ½ days 1 day Across Mountains, foothills overland or unfinished Rd.
High Pass Rivendell 125 miles 2-3 days 12 days Over mountains. Changes in elevation, switchbacks, mountain terrain and all attendant difficulties.
           
4. Minas Tirith Rivendell       West of the Mountains through Dunland
Minas Tirith Break/W.Mts & Tarnost 225 miles 3 days 15 days West through Lossarnach to the break between the White Mountains and the Hills of Tarnost. Ford R.Erui, Serni, Gilrain. Terrain = plains, foothills.
Tarnost Foothills of W.Mts 300 miles 4 days 15 days plains, rolling hills. Ford R.Ringlo, Morthond, Lefnui
Over White Mountains   10 miles 3 hours ½ day Low mountain pass
W.Mts North to R.Isen 75 miles 1 day 4 days  
R.Isen east Dunland to G.Rohan 100 miles 1 day 5 days Overland
Gap of Rohan Tharbad 325 miles 3 days 13 days Old South Road
Tharbad Rivendell 400 miles 5 days 20 days Follow R.Mithiethiel NNE, ENE fork of Bruinen
           
Stealth route:          
     
Minas Tirith Rivendell Overland west through Lossarnach (S. of White Mtns)
Minas Tirith Hills of Tarnost 225 miles 3 days 15 days Ford R.Erui, Sirith, Gilrain
Tarnost Foothills of W.Mtns 300 miles 4 days 20 days Rolling plains, intermittant foothills.
 
Ford R.Ringlo, Morthond, Lefnui
Over the W.Mtns   10 miles 3 hrs 1 day Low mountain pass
North of W.Mtns River Isen 75 miles 1 day 3 days  
R.Isen –East Dunland 100 miles 1 day 5 days Old South Road near Gap of Rohan
Gap of Rohan Tharbad 325 miles 3 days 15 days Old South Road
Tharbad Rivendell 400 miles 5 days 20 days Follow Mithiethiel NNE, fork at Bruinen ENE
           
*Lond Daer Gap of Rohan 550 miles 7 days 35 days Gwathlo upriver overland to Tharbad
           
Thranduil’s Halls Caras Galadon        
Thranduil's Caverns Laketown 50 miles 5.5 hrs 2 days from the edge of Mirkwood, thru Long Marshes as the Forest River enters Long Lake.
Celeduin Old Forest Road 75 miles 1 day 4 days edge of Mirkwood
Old Forest Road thru Mirkwood 200 miles 3 days 7.5 days spiders and nasties / on avg tt - 30 mpd; no rest days because of danger
Edge of Mirkwood River Anduin 25 miles 2 hrs 1 day cross at Old Ford, terrain likely flat, stay on road
Old Ford Caras Galadon 425 5 23 Grasslands, gently rolling, floodplains
         
 
 
 
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© Rebecca Burkheart