From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = track
Frühlingslandschft Aaretal Schweiz.jpg
Roads for agricultural use, forestry use etc. Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Rendering in openstreetmap-carto
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: de facto


This tag represents roads for mostly agricultural use, forest tracks etc.; often unpaved (unsealed) but may apply to paved tracks as well, that are suitable for two-track vehicles, such as tractors or SUVs.

If the way is not wide enough for a two-track vehicle, it should be tagged as highway=path.

Some highway=track are used for various leisure or recreation activities - hiking, cycling, or as SUV/ATV trails. Note that forestry use includes not only logging, but also access for firefighting, hunting, fishing, birdwatching, gathering mushrooms, and so on, and agricultural use includes tracks in rangeland, and lightly developed land used for grazing, not only in farmland.

How to map


To map track ways nothing else than a simple way is required.

  • Add the highway=track tag to it and a name=* if appropriate.
  • surface=* is used to specify the surface of the way, e.g. surface=gravel, surface=asphalt, surface=unpaved
  • tracktype=<grade1-grade5> can be used for the maintenance intensity and surface firmness.
  • smoothness=* is used for physical usability of a way for wheeled vehicles, particularly regarding surface regularity/flatness.
  • ref=* may be used for tracks which have a reference number or code


Default access restrictions are country specific and depend on ownerships, landuse and other factors. See OSM_tags_for_routing/Access-Restrictions.

Consider explicit access=* type tags.

Problematic tagging

Do not use tracks to represent unpaved streets in built-up areas [1], that would be considered tagging for the renderer. In this situation, classify them as usual according to the conventions in your country, and also provide a surface=* tag. This isn't to say that tracks are never located near urban areas, many of them are (especially in grass landuse, allotments [2], parks, etc.), but they must fit the definitions described here.

Note that many highway=track are paved and well maintained, and that many unpaved roads are not a highway=track. Use surface=* for recording road surface.

highway=track versus other classes of highway=*

Example of an unpaved road that is not highway=track
Example of an unpaved road in Nevada that is neither for agricultural nor forestry use - and therefore not a highway=track
  • See highway=unclassified for minor public roads which connect small settlements, such as villages, hamlets, or isolated dwellings.
  • Residential roads which primarily provide access to multiple residential properties should be tagged highway=residential instead.
  • There may be structures used as hunting cabins, fire lookouts, agricultural service buildings, or camping shelters, which are only accessible by a highway=track. However, a road which is the primary access to a permanent residence or commercial property, such as residential driveways or industrial access roads, should be a highway=service or a higher road class.
  • Tracks are generally wide enough to be accessible to vehicles with wheels in two rows, such as tractors, cars, small trucks, all-terrain vehicles, horse-drawn carriages, or motorcycles with sidecars. Consider highway=path for ways so narrow that they can only accommodate pedestrians, equestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycles without sidecars.
  • Where the OSM road class is unclear or undetermined - for example, when mapping from aerial imagery - use highway=road.

Other kinds of tracks

See Track for other kinds of tracks:

  • cycleway=track - a dedicated cycleway separated from the road by any physical barrier (not just paint), parallel and next to a road
  • For race tracks for running competitions, etc, see leisure=track.
  • For motorized racing, see highway=raceway.
  • Use railway=rail etc. for railroad tracks.

Regional usage

In some regions the tag highway=track has been used in other ways which are not always accepted by the global community.

  • For any unpaved minor road, regardless of usage or purpose, including residential roads and service roads.[1] However, community discussions suggest that most mappers consider this usage overly broad and possibly tagging for the renderer. The tag surface=* is recommended instead.
  • For minor or service roads which requires a high-clearance, 4 wheel drive, or off-road vehicle for access due to a rough and bumpy, or soft and slippery surface.[2] However, this information can be more specifically tagged with tracktype=* and smoothness=*.
  • For disused or abandoned roads.[3] See disused:highway=* and abandoned:highway=* as alternatives.
  • For roads with limited maintenance (e.g. clearing vegetation, repairing erosion). However, it is valid to use this tag on maintained track roads also, for example those with tracktype=grade1 and surface=asphalt to indicate a paved track. Some unpaved tracks receive other maintenance, such as the trimming vegetation, though winter snow service is uncommon.
  • For access roads in cemeteries, parks, allotment gardens, golf courses, and recreation grounds. This usage may be considered appropriate by mappers in some regions, but in many others highway=service is recommended.
Example of a maintained asphalt forestry road, correctly tagged as highway=track + surface=asphalt + tracktype=grade1.


  1. https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-us/2021-February/020878.html
  2. The 2007 TIGER import assigned highway=track to US Census Bureau Feature Class Code (CFCC) A51: "Vehicular trail, road passable only by 4WD vehicle, unseparated".
  3. See United States roads tagging