Photo © NodeMapp / Sven Nijs

What are hiking nodes?

Avatar Sven Nijs Sven Nijs
30 September 2023
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Discover the hiking nodes: signposted or virtual nodes that connect the most beautiful hiking routes with each other. A guarantee for the most beautiful route, but be alert when hiking along experimental hiking nodes.

On our hiking route planner and app, you’ll find all the official hiking node networks, typically managed by official tourism organizations. These networks consist of the most beautiful hiking routes that are interconnected. At intersections of these routes, you’ll find numbered hiking nodes. By hiking from node to node, you can flexibly choose your route and distance while ensuring you’re exploring the most beautiful hiking routes in an area. There are different types of hiking nodes: signposted and (official or experimental) virtual hiking nodes.

Signposted Hiking Nodes

Currently in Belgium and the Netherlands, you’ll find signposted hiking nodes in many places: at intersections of hiking routes, numbered signs are placed on the ground. You simply follow the node numbers you’ve chosen, and along the way, signs with these numbers guide you. On our maps, signposted hiking nodes and paths are shown in red. Below, you can see examples of signposted hiking nodes in Flanders (1) and in the East Cantons (2) of Belgium.

Hiking nodes on the ground where you follow numbers

Official Virtual Hiking Nodes

Due to the costs and practical challenges associated with physical signs, some areas opt for virtual hiking node networks. Currently, in Flanders, several official tourist organizations like Tourism Flemish Brabant and Tourism Province of Antwerp facilitate more than 3,000 km of virtual hiking networks. Just like with signposted hiking nodes, they connect the most beautiful hiking routes in an area, but without visible posts and signs on the ground. On our maps, official virtual hiking nodes and paths are displayed in purple.

Official virtual nodes are displayed in purple on our maps

Experimental Virtual Hiking Nodes

There are many beautiful hiking areas where official virtual (or signposted) nodes are not yet available. To allow hikers to assemble the most beautiful routes in these areas using the popular node system, NodeMapp regularly develops experimental virtual hiking nodes in collaboration with partners. On our maps, experimental virtual hiking nodes and paths are displayed in blue.

Experimental virtual nodes are displayed in blue on our maps

Unlike official virtual nodes, we rely on digital data from previous user routes and OpenStreetMap data in the area. From this data, we aim to distill the best hiking routes and link them to create a virtual hiking node network. These networks are labeled as experimental (shown in blue on our maps) because the routes have not been verified in the field by an official tourist organization. While the following points apply to all types of hiking node networks found on our platform, you should especially consider them when using experimental hiking node networks:

  • We do our best to exclude private roads from these networks. However, it might happen that a connection in our network runs over a private road. Local traffic situations and regulations (like restricted access due to private domain, areas closed for hunting, etc.) always explicitly precede the representation of routes/situations on our maps. If we receive a report or identify ourselves that a hiking path on an experimental hiking node network is private, we’ll remove it from our maps as soon as possible.
  • You are, like every road user, solely responsible for assessing local situations, local conditions, signage, the private or public nature of a road, condition and safety of a path…
  • Users are solely responsible for their choices and following a hiking path provided on our platform. NodeMapp accepts no liability for damages, in any form, resulting from the use of the offered hiking routes. Hikers must evaluate the safety and accessibility of a route on the spot.

We greatly appreciate your help in improving our experimental virtual hiking node networks. If you have suggestions for improvement or want to report errors in our network, please send an email to report@nodemapp.com.