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Public-images-osm logo.svg route = foot
Osm element tag.svg
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: in use

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 walking route you create a relation with the appropriate tags and add all elements (points and ways) of the hiking route to this relation.

See also Relation:route.

Tags of the relation

Key Value Explanation
type route This relation represents a route.
route foot route=hiking is used for routes which are longer or more strenuous (WP's definition of hiking: "a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails, in the countryside").
network iwn




International walking network: used for walking routes that encompass more than one country

National walking network: used for walking routes that are nationally significant

Regional walking network: used for walking routes that are regionally significant

Local walking network: used for small local walking routes

name a name The route is known by this name (e.g., "Westweg")
symbol symbol description Describes the symbol that is used to mark the way along the route, e.g., "Red cross on white ground" for the "Frankenweg" in Franconia, Germany
osmc:symbol * (optional) Some renderer uses the osmc:symbol=* to indicate a route on the map.
name:xy localised name where xy is the iso language code
ref a reference The route is known by this reference (e.g. "E1")
operator operator name The route is operated by this authority/company etc. e.g. "Schwarzwaldverein", "Alpenverein"
state proposed / alternate / temporary Sometimes routes may not be permanent or may be in a proposed state.
description a short description What is special about this route
colour a hex triplet (optional) Colour code noted in hex triplet format. Especially useful for public transport routes. Example: "#008080" for teal colour
distance distance (optional) 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")
ascent ascent (optional) The ascent covered by a route in meters. If a route has start and end point at different altitude use descent too
descent descent (optional) 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).
roundtrip yes/no (optional) Use roundtrip=no to indicate that a route goes from A to B and instead of being circular (roundtrip=yes).
signed_direction yes/no (optional) 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]
website * (optional) website that describes the route
wikipedia language:page title (optional) wikipedia page that describes the route
educational yes (optional) when the route is Educational trail

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.