Want to know if there’s going to be a gnarly gravel section in the middle of your road ride? Or perhaps not be taken off guard by all the tarmac on what you thought was a backcountry bikepacking adventure? Good news! You can see surface type information as you plan and view routes so that you can prepare for the road ahead.

Surfaces is a free, web-based feature that is available to all Starter, Basic, and Premium subscribers.

Surface Types

Ride with GPS offers three surface type categories:

  • Paved – Paved surfaces include asphalt, concrete, and chip seal. Paved surfaces are shown as a solid line.
  • Unpaved – Unpaved surfaces include gravel, dirt, and natural/unimproved trails. Unpaved surfaces are shown as a dashed line.
  • Unknown – When there is insufficient data available about a surface it will show up as unknown. Unknown surfaces are shown as an outlined white line.


  • Open up the web route planner. Surfaces will be enabled by default.
  • Pick your favorite map type
  • Plan away! As you plot out your route you’ll be able to see surface types along your trackline and in the elevation profile.
  • Save and Share. When you save a route with surface type data, anyone who views the route will be able to see the surface breakdown.

Pro Tip #1: Stick to Follow Roads when planning with surface types. Surface type data is not available when you Draw Lines and will be shown as unknown.


When you view a route on the web that was planned with Surfaces enabled, you will see the full surface type breakdown on the route page.

Pro Tip #2: If you want to update a route that does not include surface type information, you can use the Trace Tool to recreate the route with Surfaces enabled.


Surfaces will be enabled by default in the web route planner. To disable:

  • Click Settings > Uncheck the Surfaces box
  • Or click the Surfaces button in the elevation profile


If you know a surface type to be incorrectly categorized — ex: paved when it is in fact a gravel road — you can manually edit the surface type as you plan your route.

This is a tool only available in the web route planner.

To manually edit surface type on a route:

  • Select the section of the route you’d like to edit in the elevation profile
  • In the Selection Tools menu, click Change Surface
  • Click Paved or Unpaved > Change Surface
  • Save your route

Note: When you manually edit surface type information on a route, the update will only be reflected on the route you edited, not on future routes. You can update surface type information permanently by contributing to OpenStreetMap (OSM)


We rely on data from OpenStreetMap (OSM), an open-source mapping service of the entire world, for Surfaces and can only update our surface type information when they do so. If you notice that a surface has been incorrectly categorized and would like for it to be updated, you can contribute the correct surface type information directly to OSM. Please see our detailed help page about OSM to learn how to do so.

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