Creating singletracks for MTB use, possibility to use autoroute?


I’m have been adding a couple of short paths in OSM lately. They mostly small trails in forests and are usable for walking/hiking and MTB.

Is there a feasible way to set the properties so that auto-routing could be used on the trails in different route planners? I have learned that most of the mapping services have route planners and in those you can define whether to follow roads for cars, cycleways or walking trails. However the trails I have added cannot be used in route planners.


I fact I do not seem to find the correct property setup to make even a cycleway auto-routable. What are the key properties and how to set them in order to auto-route to work. Even in OSM’s own routing tool?


A path is for single tracked vehicles. If a car can drive on it (e.g. a 4x4) you should use highway=track.
If you map something as highway=cycleway you say it a a way for cyclist. If it is open to cars, you should use track, unclassified, residential, etc.

for more detailed information on highway mapping and some country specific rule/assumptions

Be aware that the routing information used by maps/apps do not generally get updated as quickly as the openstreetmap. So after editing the map you may have to wait up to a week or so to see a change in the routing.

Also make sure that the access permissions are correct. There was a recent case where a landowner was complaining that people were using their private footpaths because they appeared on OSM, and was wanting them removed.

Thank you for your comments! nevw’s comments was especially interesting, I did not think that there was a difference in the routing information updates / vs. actual map data. Is there a delay also when using directly OSM own routing tool?

e.g. if I now would create a new cycleway in OSM right now, would I have to wait for week or so to be able to apply the routing for that particular cycleway?

OSM does not have a routing tool on its own. It integrates solutions from other providers on the website. So yes, even those routing algorithms use data that is not immediately updated, but it might take a day or 2.

Re: “you may have to wait up to a week or so to see a change in the routing.”
Apologies, escada is correct …might take a day or 2.
I was confusing the routers with the ‘Cycle Map’ layer which was updated weekly… but from the website, it is also updated every few days too, depending on the popularity of the tiles.

Thank you very much for your answers all, this has clarified things to me well. I’ll just sit tight and check the routing possibilities later, after enough time has passed.

And absolutely please do add a surface= tag to any MTB trails you might map. The last thing you want is lots of bike commuters clogging up your trails because it’s marked in OSM as a cycleway. :wink:

If you’re specifically targeting MTB routing, I’d consider adding an appropriate mtb:scale tag - see for details. I’m not aware of a specific MTB router currently, but if/when someone writes one they’d presumably want to take that into consideration.

As has been said already, if these are MTB tracks you probably don’t want a regular cycle router to find them.

Graphhopper offers an mtb icon but can’t find the criteria - probably just bike access required I guess. A specific router would enable different criteria depending on the mtb tags on the way.

There are many osm maps that display mtb related stuff.
Do a search for mtb on this page…

Graphopper has the problem they do not route over fords, in some countries this is a big problem.

@Allroads if you find a specific problem with a specific router, I’d suggest that you log a bug with that specific router. You may already have done this, of course, but if not they probably won’t be aware of the problem.