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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = path
A generic or multi-use path open to non-motorized traffic. Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Rendering-highway footway.png
Group: Highways
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal

highway=path is a generic path, either multi-use or unspecified usage, open to all non-motorized vehicles and not intended for motorized vehicles unless tagged so separately. The path may have any type of surface.

This includes walking and hiking trails, bike trails and paths, horse and stock trails, mountain bike trails, paved ways used both by cyclists and pedestrians as well as combinations of the above.

Also included are other modes of transportation like local and regional trail infrastructure not appropriate for motor-vehicles in more remote areas of the world.

This tag is used for paths for which all and any of highway=footway, highway=cycleway and highway=bridleway would be inappropriate or inadequate (or simply not sufficient), but which are nonetheless usable for travel or navigation. They might be not intended for any particular use, or intended for several different uses. Intended uses can be indicated with the various access keys; e.g., bicycle=designated and foot=designated. Check the description about the inadvisability of using the tag access=designated.

For urban paths which are designated primarily for pedestrians (potentially with bicycle=yes), it's better to use highway=footway.

If a path is wide enough for 4-wheel-vehicles (wider than 2 m), and it is not legally signposted or otherwise only allowed for pedestrians, cyclists or horseriders, it is often better tagged as a highway=track or highway=service.

For the mapping of public rights of way in the UK (specifically England and Wales), see UK public rights of way.


Optional tags
Key Value Comment
access * Access values are used to describe the legal access for highway=*.
surface * Surface values provide additional information about the physical surface of roads/footpaths. Because there is no consensus on the exact differences between highway=footway, and highway=path, the use of the surface=* tag is recommended to disambiguate with highway=footway.
sac_scale hiking
A difficulty rating scheme for hiking trails.
mtb:scale 0–6 A difficulty rating scheme for mountain-biking.
trail_visibility excellent
This key describes attributes regarding trail visibility and orientation.
incline 0–100%
For marking a way's incline (or steepness/slope).
width Length, numeric Describes the actual width of a way. The default unit is metres.
informal yes/no Distinguish purposely built paths from informal ones.
operator * The name of the organization that maintains the path.
symbol * Describes the symbol that is used to mark the way along the route
See also: draft proposal for a general path classification (proposed March 2015).

Usage as a universal tag

Integrated in JOSM:

Example Mapping Description CyclOSM
Zeichen 240 - Gemeinsamer Fuß- und Radweg, StVO 1992.svg

+ foot=designated
+ bicycle=designated
+ segregated=no

Signposted foot and bicycle path. CyclOSM bicycle-foot-designated-segregated-no.png

+ smoothness=excellent/ good/intermediate
+ surface=paved/asphalt/concrete/paving_stones

with a smooth surface CyclOSM bicycle-foot-designated-segregated-no-smooth.png
Zeichen 241-30 - getrennter Rad- und Fußweg, StVO 1992.svg

+ foot=designated
+ bicycle=designated
+ segregated=yes

Signposted foot and bicycle path with dividing line. CyclOSM bicycle-foot-designated-segregated-yes.png

+ smoothness=excellent/ good/intermediate
+ surface=paved/asphalt/concrete/paving_stones

with a smooth surface CyclOSM bicycle-foot-designated-segregated-yes-smooth.png
Zeichen 240 - Gemeinsamer Fuß- und Radweg, StVO 1992.svg

Zusatzzeichen 1022-11 - Mofas frei (600x450), StVO 1992.svg

+ foot=designated
+ bicycle=designated
+ mofa=yes

Signposted foot and bicycle path with additional permission of motorised bicycles (mofas).
Waldweg Hexenstieg (2).JPG


A generic multi-use path open to non-motorized vehicles, implicitly allowed for pedestrians, cyclists, …, see OSM tags for routing/Access-Restrictions CyclOSM path-smooth.png


See also: Path examples and Highway tagging samples

A path for bicycles and horses could be tagged as:

A UK bridleway could be tagged as:

A generic path in a remote area without legal access restrictions:

Example rendering

OSM Carto OSMAnd
Path osm.png

Red dotted lines
(used to be dark gray dashed lines)

Path osmand.png

Black dashed lines

A highway=path with any of the tags horse=designated, bicycle=designated, foot=designated may be rendered equally to a bridleway, a cycleway or a footway, depending on the map.

Data consumers

This tag is complicated and hard to interpret for data consumers[1][2][3][4].

Popular request is to always include surface=* to allow distinguishing at least unpaved forest paths from cycleway with an asphalt surface[5].

StreetComplete is a specialized editor, that among other tasks finds path where surface=* is missing.

See also


  1. "Right now I am consuming data for a cycling router and highway=path is the bane of my life."
  2. "Horridly complex tag, everyone uses it differently."
  3. Just as an example, from a data-consumer POV, here's my current rules for rendering highway=path (...) I have seen highway=path used to mean anything from something that is not even visible on the ground, to something that is impossible to distinguish from a small road (...) Map renderer's frustration, I suppose... https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/tagging/2020-May/052747.html
  4. New road style for the Default map style - highway=path is evil (search for "highway=path, highway=footway problems")
  5. For the love of God, if you must use highway=path, please, please, please, please add a surface tag with a commonly-used value.