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Logo. Feature : Hiking
One example for Feature : Hiking
About tagging of ways, points, areas and relations related to hiking.



This page is concerned with tagging of ways, points, areas and relations related to hiking.

Tagging ways, points and areas

Key Value Element Comment Photo


highway path
Preferably used for a hiking path/trail.
Follow the photo guide for help with tagging.
Mountain hiking.jpg
For designated footpaths, i.e. mainly/exclusively for pedestrians. Path-footdesignated.jpg
Rough roads normally used for agricultural or forestry uses etc. Use tracktype=* to describe the surface. Frühlingslandschft Aaretal Schweiz.jpg
ford yes
NODE WAY The way crosses through stream or river. Furt an der Sülze.jpg

Attributes of ways

surface (optional) asphalt
WAY The surface of the trail. Gfp-florida-big-shaols-state-park-forest-trail.jpg
smoothness (optional) excellent
The physical usability of a way for wheeled vehicles. Jena Track roots.jpg
tracktype (optional) grade1
WAY Paved track
surface of gravel or densely packed dirt/sand
an even mixture of hard and soft materials
prominently dirt/sand/grass, but with some hard materials
only grass, sand and/or soil
Frühlingslandschft Aaretal Schweiz.jpg
trailblazed (optional) yes
Way segment with frequent way markings (examples; tape/ribbon, painted arrows, metal arrow signs) Modra turisticka trasa značka-šipka doleva.jpg
informal (optional) yes
Way segment which has not been intentionally established.
incline (optional) value%
For marking a way's incline (or steepness/slope). Incline17.jpg
sac_scale (optional) hiking
WAY Level of difficulty of a hiking trail, according to the classification of the Swiss Alpine Club: T1 (easiest) to T6 (most difficult).

Recommended for mountain trails as well as approach trails
Mountain hiking.jpg
trail_visibility (optional) excellent
Visibility of the trail on ground, based on above classification of the Swiss Alpine Club. Trail visibility good.jpg
assisted_trail (optional) yes
Way segment with various safety measures Maxbe wege 70687a.jpg


tourism alpine_hut
An alpine hut is a remote building located in the mountains intended to provide board and lodging. It is managed during the opening period. Ascher Hütte a.jpg
tourism wilderness_hut
A wilderness hut is a remote building with fireplace intended to provide shelter and sleeping accommodation. It is not regularly staffed. P1070254.jpg
amenity shelter
A small shelter against bad weather conditions. To additionally describe the kind of shelter use shelter_type=*. Réunion Maïdo kiosque pique-nique.JPG
shelter_type (optional) basic_hut
A basic hut is a remote building intended to provide basic shelter and sleeping accommodation. BivaccoBertoglioNebbia.jpg
A lean-to is a shelter with an open wall located in the countryside intended to provide shelter. Adirondack Lean-to.jpg
Structure on picnic sites to protect from rain. Normally open on all sides. Picnic shelter.jpg
Shallow cave-like opening at the base of a bluff or cliff. Rock shelter Papula.jpg
tourism camp_site
Backcountry camping without facilities. The access is usually restricted to foot, bicycle, canoe or ski. Set backcountry=yes. Camping at Head of Fionn Loch - geograph.org.uk - 47709.jpg
tourism information
Information resource for tourists and visitors. To additionally describe the kind of information use information=*. Fleetwood tourist information centre - DSC06596.JPG
information (optional) board
A board with information. Lechfall sign.jpg
A board with a map. Information Map Type Topo.PNG
See also Relation:destination sign
amenity parking
Parking place. Often found at trailheads, can share the name of the trailhead. Pincerno - Göhrde - Parkplatz.JPG
amenity bench
Bench Path with bench.jpg
amenity toilets
Toilets Edese Kuil toiletten.jpg
tourism picnic_site
A place where you can have an outdoor picnic. Optional: fireplace=yes. See also fire pit: leisure=firepit Picnic site.jpg
barrier gate
An entrance that can be opened or closed to get through the barrier. Gate-hindeloopen-westerdijk.jpg
man_made cairn
An artificial pile of stones, often in a conical form. It is used by hikers, villagers, pilgrims, etc. as a mark to show the way, a border, or peak of mountain. Gaisstein cairn.jpg
man_made footwear decontamination
A facility to decontaminate footwear for hikers. Waipoua Forest, North Island, New Zealand -kauri dieback disease prevention-21March2011.jpg
shop outdoor
Shop focused on selling camping, walking, climbing, and other outdoor sports equipment (Handheld GPS, etc.) Outdoor shop.png
safety_rope yes

length in m

a chain or rope as safety measure on the trail Rope2.jpg
ladder yes

length in m

a ladder as safety measure on the trail Hindelanger klettersteig leiter h.jpg
rungs yes

# of rungs

rungs, stemples or pins as safety measure on the trail Step1.jpg


natural peak
Top of a hill or mountain (summit)
add: name=* ele=*
natural volcano
A volcano, either dormant, extinct or active 2 Java Vulkan Semeru ferne Rauchwolke 2.JPG
natural saddle
The lowest point along a ridge or between two mountain tops.
add: name=* ele=*
Saddle img.png
mountain_pass yes
The highest point of a mountain pass.
add, if node is not identical to natural=saddle: name=* ele=*
Mountain pass.jpg
natural cliff
A vertical or nearly vertical drop in terrain. It may pose a hazard to hikers. 2019 - Nationalpark Jasmund - 03.jpg
natural valley NODE AREA A valley LinvilleGorge.jpg
natural ridge
A mountain or hill ridge Waldkarpaten Bieszczady 1.jpg
natural arete
A thin, almost knife-like ridge of rock which is typically formed when two glaciers erode parallel U-shaped valleys Arête nord du Rateau.jpg
natural water
Lakes, etc. Can use drinking_water=yes/no/treated to describe whether water is potable or needs treatment. Nau im Langenauer Ried 600x450.jpg
natural cave_entrance
Entrance to a cave (an underground opening large enough for a human to enter). Jewel Cave Historic Entrance NPS.png
tourism viewpoint
A place with a good view of surrounding area. Can be officially designated or informal. Viewpoint.jpg
amenity drinking_water
A source of drinking water. Drinking Water For Humans and Animals.jpg
natural spring
A point where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground naturally. Use drinking_water=* to describe whether the water is potable. SalfeinsSpring.jpg
seasonal yes, no, spring, summer, autumn, winter, wet_season, dry_season Useful for natural features which appear or disappear with differing seasonal conditions.
Four seasons.jpg

Additional tags

place locality
For an unpopulated named place. Pueblo2.jpg
name Text
The common default name. Helena, Montana.jpg
ele Number
Elevation above sea level in metres. Key-ele mapnik.png
Other tags in use without any documentation yet

Tagging walking and hiking Route Networks

Foot and hiking routes are named or numbered or otherwise signed walking routes. A route is a customary or regular line of travel, often pre-determined and publicised. It consist of paths taken repeatedly by various people. A foot route is generally a shorter, easier route. A hiking route is generally longer and/or more strenuous.

To tag a foot or hiking route you create a relation with the appropriate tags and add all different ways of the foot/hiking route to this relation. The order of the ways matters. Please see Relation:route#Order matters

Tags of the relation

Key Value Explanation
type=* route This relation represents a route.
route=* hiking


route=foot is used for routes which are walkable without any limitations regarding fitness, equipment or weather conditions. As a guideline, you could say that ordinary shoes or trainers (at a pinch, even flip-flops) are adequate for this type of walking trail.

route=hiking is used for routes that rather match Wikipedia's definition: "A long, vigorous walk, usually on trails, in the countryside"). As a guideline, you could say that a hiking trail needs walking shoes or hiking boots because you will encounter sharp rocks and/or heavy undergrowth and/or muddy terrain and/or have to wade through shallow streams.

Don't use route=pilgrimage (almost non-existent). Instead, add pilgrimage=yes to a hiking-route.

network=* iwn




International walking network: long distance paths that cross several countries

National walking network: used for walking routes that are nationally significant and long distance paths

Regional walking network: used for walking routes that cross regions and are regionally significant

Local walking network: used for small local walking routes

Useful and tags. These tags are not at all required, but can provided additional and valuable information
ascent=* ascent The ascent covered by a route in meters. If a route has start and end point at different altitude use descent too
colour=* a hex triplet

a css color name

The major colour of the symbol used on the route. Colour code noted in hex triplet format or as CSS/HTML colour name. Example: "#008080" for teal colour in hex triplet, or simply "teal" as a css colour name.
descent=* descent The descent covered by a route in meters. Use it only if it differs from the ascent (different altitude at start/endpoint of a route).
description=* a short description What is special about this route
distance=* distance The distance covered by this route, if known. For information of users and automatic evaluation e.g. of completeness. Given including a unit and with a dot for decimals. (e.g. 12.5 km)
educational=* yes/no When the route is Educational trail
historic=yes When the route is a historic or heritage trail
name=* a name The route is known by this name (e.g., "Westweg")
name:code=* localised name For adding localized names in different languages, add additional name:code=* tags with a suffix on the name key, where code is a language's ISO code.
operator=* operator name The route is operated by this authority/company etc. e.g. "Schwarzwaldverein", "Alpenverein"
osmc:symbol=* * Represents the symbol used on the route. Some renderers uses the osmc:symbol=* to indicate a route on the map.
ref=* a reference The route is known by this reference (e.g. "E1"). Node network routes use ref=mm-nn where mm and nn are the node reference numbers.
roundtrip=* yes/no Use roundtrip=no to indicate that a route goes from A to B and instead of being circular (roundtrip=yes).
signed_direction=* yes/no Use signed_direction=yes to indicate that the route is to be walked in only one direction, according to the signposts on the ground. The ways within the relation should be ordered, as they are used to determine the direction of the signposts.[1]
state=* alternate Sometimes routes may not be permanent or may be in a proposed state. See also the life cycle tags for this usage.
symbol=* symbol description Describes the symbol that is used to mark the way along the route, e.g., "Red cross on white background" for the "Frankenweg" in Franconia, Germany
website=* * Website that describes the route
wikipedia=* language:page title Wikipedia page that describes the route

Elements of a relation

Routes consist of ways that mark where it leads. For hiking and walking relations it will by typically primarily highway=path, highway=footway, highway=track, highway=steps with some highway=cycleway, highway=service, highway=residential. Sometimes also highway=unclassified and other roads higher in road importance will appear.

A route relation may have one or more ways as elements. A route relation can also have other route relations as elements, called parent relation containing child relations or super relations.

Some mappers also add nodes as relation members, e.g. for major guideposts on the route.


Most of the time, elements will be added with an empty role. For recreational route relations, a basic functional role set has been approved, see https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Recreational_route_relation_roles The approved roles are: main, alternative, approach, excursion, and connection. When no role is set, main is assumed. The roles are applicable to way members and relation members.

way Ways and relation Relations
Role value Explanation
None or main The role value for the main section(s) of a signposted or in any way waymarked route.
alternative A signposted or otherwise waymarked alternative branching off then rejoining the main route at a significantly different point. The alternative is used instead of a section of the main route.
excursion A signposted or otherwise waymarked side track which rejoins the main track at or close to the same point where it left, e.g. to visit a place of interest. The excursion is an optional addition to the main route.
approach Signposted or otherwise waymarked access route to or from transport infrastructure e.g. parking, train station, bus station, cable car. An approach is used in addition to the main route.
connection Signposted or otherwise waymarked link route from one recreational route to another recreational route and vice versa. A connection is used to switch from one route to another. Note that an approach might act as a connection, e.g. when it ends/begins at a major train station where other routes also pass through. In that case, use the role approach.

Given this definition, the connection should appear in both routes involved.

(the above table is a template, you can edit it directly via this link)


Hiking routes are extensively mapped with route relations, and the Lonvia map will render route relations following this proposal and the osmc:symbol=*

Hiking routes are rendered for selected areas in Germany in a Hiking and Trail riding map (german). The tags required for rendering are:

  • type=route
  • route=hiking
  • name=* Meaningful route name suitable for identifying this route.
  • symbol=* Verbal description of the route marker symbols.
  • osmc:symbol=* Coded description of the route marker symbols.

Since the tagging is generic, it is up to each country to decide how to map the hiking networks that exist in their country onto the hierarchy of national/regional/local. For countries with no specific local/regional/national "walking network", it may be helpful to consider whether different trails are managed or funded by government bodies at different levels.

See also Walking Routes.

Hiking trails that cross or touch normal roads should be connected to the road ways on the map. This will allow mixed routing applications to be built on OSM.

Mapping Projects

To compare and choose your favorite hiking map, there is a dedicated page :

Relief Mapping Projects


  • OpenAndroMaps - mostly Android, desktop viewer available
  • haihui - offline hiking maps in the browser
  • Trekarta - offline maps for Android with hiking mode that visualizes trail difficulty, visibility, OSMC symbols and hiking routes.

Maps for Garmin-devices


  • 4UMaps Outdoor maps for Mountainbiking and Hiking. Support the SAC hiking tags as well as track attributes. Additionally it has elevation lines, hill shading, accommodation etc.
  • OSMC Wanderreitkarte shows OSM with contour lines and hill shading and hiking routes (Europe only)
  • WayMarked Trails (ex-Lonvia's Weltwanderkarte) shows OSM with hill shading and hiking routes, among other interesting layers like MTB and rollerblades.
  • Hikebikemap shows OSM with contour lines and hiking and biking routes
  • Cyclemap shows OSM with contour lines and biking routes
  • WORLD OSM WMS shows OSM with hill shading for Europe
  • Hiking/openhikingmap shows OSM with contour lines and hill shading
  • BeyondTracks.com/map Bushwalking maps for Australia, Tramping maps for New Zealand.
  • Topotresc Hiking map of the Pyrenees and Catalonia with contour lines, hillshading, official paths (GR,PR,SL), huts, etc.

See Also

  1. It's preferred not to use oneway=yes anymore, as it could cause confusion with oneway=* as a legal restriction. See discussion on tagging mailinglist.