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Public-images-osm logo.svg route = foot
Osm element tag.svg
A signed walking Route Edit or translate this description.
Group: Route
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesshould not be used on waysshould not be used on areasmay be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: de facto

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 walking shoes (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 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
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)


Walking routes are extensively mapped with route relations, and for example. the website https://hiking.waymarkedtrails.org will render route relations following this proposal and the osmc:symbol=*

Walking 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=foot
  • 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

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.


  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.