How to Tell How Far Things Are in The Wilderness

Not only is this a good skill to woo friends with but its useful in navigation and outdoors.  Take a look at the following picture, can you tell how far different land features are?    Here’s a general rule that works in areas with trees, you can use trees as a reference point for pin pointing the distance of other objects.



  1. You can see individual branches on trees at 1-3 Kilometers away (1-2 miles).
  2. At 3-6 Kilometers (2-4 miles) the human eye can pick out individual trees.
  3. At 6-9 Kilometers (3.5-5.5 miles) most people won’t be able to pick out individual trees in a group but the land will look like a shaggy carpet.  Don’t look at the horizon but about 2/3 up the mountain.
  4. At 9-12 Kilometers (5.5 to 7.5 miles) the shaggy carpet turns to an industrial smooth carpet.
  5. At distances greater than 12 Kilometers (8 miles) the forest looks like a blue haze. 


Take another look at a different picture, can you pick out the distances now?

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Comment by Jennifer Milleson on July 12, 2016 at 5:56am

What a great tip!

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