Mountain biking

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Logo. Feature : Mountain biking
One example for Feature : Mountain biking
Mountainbiking routes

The goal of this page is to help create OSM maps from a mountain bikers perspective. This page began as a translation of the German version.

General Tags for ways that are suitable for mtbiking, but not directly related to mtbiking as such

Key Comment
highway=path/track if a way is tagged highway=footway and mtbiking is allowed, considering using highway=path + foot=designated + bicycle=yes/designated
foot=yes/no/designated/private/permissive/destination/unknown -
bicycle=yes/no/designated/private/permissive/destination/dismount/unknown Is cycling allowed? This is only a legal question.
width=<Meter> Width of way
oneway:bicycle=yes/no Where signposted as oneway only. If bicycles are the only mode permitted then you could use oneway=yes/no, if other modes are permitted and the oneway only applies to bicycles then use oneway:bicycle=yes/no.
surface=ground/sand/stone/gravel/grass/dirt Material of the trail or road surface
smoothness=excellent to impassable Classification scheme regarding the physical usability of a way for wheeled vehicles.
tracktype=grade1 to grade5 Surface firmness, usually used on highway=track.
trail_visibility=excellent/good/intermediate/bad/horrible/no Trail visibility (not route visibility) and orientation.

Basic Tags related to Mtbiking

Key Comment Proposal/map feature page Status/progress
mtb:scale=0-6 Difficulty grading for mtb use for level and downhill trails, also valid for ways that are no singletrails. Based on the German "Singletrailskala". key:mtb:scale Approved
mtb:scale:imba=0-4 Difficulty grading for mtb use for built tracks. Mainly applicable to North America. key:mtb:scale Approved
mtb:scale:uphill=0-5 Difficulty grading for mtb uphill use. Use if there is a significant inclination. key:mtb:scale Approved
incline=<incline in %> or up/down How steep is a trail. Please use this tag in conjunction with mtb:scale:uphill to specify direction of way (uphill vs downhill). Key:incline Approved
mtb:type=crosscountry/allmountain/downhill/trial/freeride Giving further Attributes to a trail from mountain biking perspective. Classify its usage. Proposed features/mtb:type See commonly used values taginfo
mtb:description=any Any Additional information related to mtbike use of a way. Proposed features/mtb:description Approved
mtb:name=any Sometimes trails have names that are only used by mountainbikers and not official. Use mtb:name to specify them. This is not Key:loc_name
aerialway:bicycle:=yes/summer/no Specify if bicycles are transported on aerialways. Use value summer if bicycles/mtbikes are only transported during summer season. Most chairlifts and t-bars don't allow for bicycle transport, but some add hooks for bicycle transport. Proposed features/Piste_Maps

Relevant proposals that can accompany mtb tagged trails

key comment needs proposal Status/Progress
Information point with map of trails, typically found at the trailhead. Proposed features/information Disputed use of access tags to describe object (see talk page), inactive but in use
Information point with direction signs. Proposed_features/Guidepost
osmc:symbol=* Notation system for trail symbols Key:osmc:symbol
trailblazed=yes A way is marked with trailblazes (way markings) Proposed features/trailblazed

The above keys seem to be in use but keep track of eventual changes, they are indicated here to point out details that are very relevant to note while surveying, and a temporary tagging scheme allow us to store it.

Additional tags if a way is part of a MTB route / relation

Note a specific network=* is not defined for mtb routes, however, in several countries the normal bicycle network tags network=lcn, network=rcn and network=ncn are used to distinguish types of routes. Use distance/ascent/descent/roundtrip instead to better classify a route.

Key Comment
route=mtb consistency with cycle and hiking routes.
ref=R811,... Reference of the way if any.
name=Alpentour Austria,... name of the route.
distance=distance in km The distance covered by this route, if known. For information of users and automatic evaluation e.g. of completeness. If no unit is given km is assumed (else use e.g. 25miles)
ascent=ascent in m The ascent covered by a route in meters (for other units use e.g. 600feet). If a route has start and end point at different altitude use descent too
descent=descent in m The descent covered by a route in meters(for other units use e.g. 100feet). Use it only if it differs from the ascent (different altitude at start/endpoint of a route).
roundtrip=yes/no Use roundtrip=no to indicate that a route goes from A to B, instead of being circular (roundtrip=yes).

You can create your own maps including route=mtb for Garmin Units/Mapsource or Qlandkarte GT by following the procedure explained here however: OSM Map On Garmin/mtb map.

How to tag ways appropriate for mtbiking

JOSM now includes mtb:scale in the presets for paths and tracks. For incline and mtb:scale:uphill; mtb:description; mtb:scale:imba or others, you can add the keys and values by clicking on "add". For keys that are not available on a preset you can either add a mtb preset from here: or directly entering the information by clicking on "ADD". Here is a list of presets specifically created for MTB:

JOSM Example:

Josm Properties.png

With Potlatch after selecting a way click on the "+" icon:

Potlatch Plus.png

And then replace key with the respective key, and enter the value into the gray type value here

Potlatch fields.png

Rendering of MTB maps

4UMaps Map with elevation lines, hill shading and track tags

Online routing using MTB information

Online maps showing MTB information

  • UtagawaVTT has a map to display trails and locations where MTB is forbidden or not recommended : MapUtagawa.
  • Waymarked Trails has nice rendering for mtb routes, including elevation profiles and sections. Reflects changes to OSM within minutes.
  • CyclOSM (website) renders road, path, track surfaces quality, MTB scales, MTB routes, relief shading, etc.
  • renders trails using mtb:scale and mtb:class on hill shaded background. Covers only Norway, Sweden, Denmark.
  • VTTrack implements the MTB features on various underlying maps (OpenStreetMap, GoogleMaps, French Geoportail maps). It also includes other sources of MTB tours and trails, especially other sources whose tour/trail rating scale is mappable onto mtb:scale (,,,,
  • rendering of both MTB features together with specific hiking trail markings (red/green/blue/yellow) in the Czech Republic, with the aim to generate maps comparable to the printed maps generated according to the Czech cartography standards. It also renders MTB features and supports rendering hiking trails using WayMarkedTrails overlay for the rest of Europe (overlay can be enabled via layers menu in the top right corner of the map). In the Czech Republic, the map also supports complex planning and optimization MTB trips (dynamic specification of preferences for various types of trails and roads) with generation of altitude profiles.
  • 4UMaps implements MTB as well as hiking features. The map is optimized for outdoor activities with elevation lines, hill shading, accommodation etc. A free download of predefined maps is also available.
  • MTB trails with altitude profiles, routing capabilities and GPX export:

Rendering of MTB maps on Garmin units

You can download routable mountainbike maps for European countries, Alps, Australia/NewZealand, South America and Africa on The maps support autorouting with preference for mtb trails and cycleways, and give visual display of mtb:scale; mtb:scale:uphill (taking incline into account for "downhill arrows") and route=mtb.

You can also create your own maps using mkgmap.

UtagawaVTT has a free Garmin map available for most of European countries showing tracks and path forbidden or not recommended for MTB : MapUtagawa.

Rendering on Android devices

Openandromaps provides vector maps and themes for MTB, hiking and biking. These can be used with Oruxmaps[1] or Locus[2] and provide information about mtb:scale and mtb:scale:uphill. The maps are in the mapsforge format and can also be used with other applications using implementing this format.

Map legend Example
Official MTB-Routes color codes for mtb:scale

••••••••• Brown: mtb:scale_0 or no mtb:scale tagged in OSM
••••••••• Green: mtb:scale_1
••••••••• Blue: mtb:scale_2
••••••••• Red: mtb:scale_3
••••••••• Black: mtb_scale >= 4

MTB:SCALE Color codes of highway=path|footway|track
——– Brown: no mtb:scale tagged (only for path/footway)
------- Brown / Green dashed: : mtb:scale_0 (only path/footway)
——– Green: mtb:scale_1
——– Blue: mtb:scale_2
——– Red: mtb:scale_3
------- Black / Red dashed: mtb:scale >= 4

—|——–|—— mtb:scale:uphill = 1
—||——–||—– mtb:scale:uphill = 2
—|||——–|||—- mtb:scale:uphill = 3
—||||——–||||— mtb:scale:uphill = 4
–|||||——–|||||– mtb:scale:uphill = 5

OpenAndroMaps with Locus Pro

Proposals related to mountain biking

See also