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Public-images-osm logo.svg natural = valley
A natural depression flanked by ridges or ranges of mountains or hills Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: natural
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal

The tag natural=valley is used to map a valley: an elongated natural depression flanked by ridges or ranges of mountains or hills, and at least partially formed by fluvial degration.

How to map

  • Draw a line (way) along the valley bottom and tag it natural=valley. You certainly want to set a name=* too, if the valley has a common name. In V-shaped valleys the natural=valley should share the same nodes as the waterway=*, if there is one. But in U-shaped, flat-bottomed valleys, the center of the valley and course of the waterway is not necessarily congruent. Rivers are often meandering, and there may be multiple branches of the river. In this case, do not use the same nodes as the waterways in a U-shaped valley, and map the center line of the valley bottom instead.
  • While linear mapping of valleys is preferred, some valleys are mapped as a node an the center. Possible reasons include imports and lack of aerial images, or round valleys which do not have a clear centerline.


The main purpose of natural=valley features is to tell database users the name=* of the valley, and the centerline of the valley. Renderers may use hillshading and/or contour lines generated from elevation models to make valleys look more spatial.

Both mapping and rendering may be similar to natural=ridge, the complementary landform.

See also

Possible tagging errors

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!