Strava Route Builder is used to build a map of a ride (A Strava Route) that you create in advance. You can also convert you or your friends existing saved rides or runs into a route using Strava Route Builder. This guide will show you everything you need to know to get the most from Strava Route Builder

If you use Strava on an iPhone or Android Smartphone you’ll see the route but there will be no turn by turn instructions or audible prompts, for that you need a compatible bike computer such as a Garmin or Wahoo.

Strava Route Builder Vs Segments what’s the difference

A route is a map of a ride created by yourself or other Strava athletes using Strava Route Builder.

Segments are sectors of a route which allow you to compare your own times, or to compare your times with the times of other Strava Athletes who have also completed the segment.

Strava Route Builder is available in the Free Version of Strava

Go to: Dashboard Tab > My Routes

How to Create a route with Strava Route Builder

To create a new route from scratch with Strava Route Builder, click the ‘Create New Route’ button near the top of the My Routes page. This will open up the route builder screen.

In the search box in the left hand corner enter the address of the locale where you want to run or cycle. This will bring up a map of the area.

Now click your chosen start point on the map and you will see a green dot appear. Now click your end point and Strava will determine the best route from start to end.

You can also click on points you want to visit in between the start and finish point.

Click the clear button in the top menu to remove the previous route, click the start point again and then click any points you want to visit on the way (waypoints) and finally the point where you want to finish

Strava route builder will join the Start, any waypoints, and the endpoint using criteria such as popularity, or minimum elevation.

You can drag existing waypoints to move them to new locations. You can remove waypoints using the undo/redo tools.

Strava Route Builder –  Global Heatmap

Using the Strava Global Heatmap in Strava Route Builder is a great way to discover popular new routes. Select the gear icon and toggle the option for Global Heatmap ON. This will show popular paths in red on the map

Before you save your route, you can make it ‘Private.’ So only you can see it, you can convert a private route to public at any time by editing the route, un-checking the private checkbox and clicking ‘Save.’

Detailed Instructions for Creating Strava Routes with Strava Route Builder

On the Route builder page there are three menu/information panels: Top, Left Hand, and Bottom. Here’s how to use them:

Top Menu Starting from the Top Left

Search Box (Magnifying glass)

This lets you display a map of the locale where you want to build your route,

Enter the name or address of the location where you’d like to ride or run. It’s best to enter a full address but is not required. You could also enter something like the city and State or Zip/Post Code

Undo & Redo

Clicking the Undo or Redo button removes or adds back the previous action.


The Clear button removes the entire route so you can start again from scratch. If you hit clear by mistake you can use Undo to add the route back again.

Once you exit from the Strava Route Builder, you won’t be able to be retrieve your route even with the undo button.

Use Popularity

Enabling Popularity means Strava will use the activity data of runs and rides from the Strava community and use that to select paths Strava athletes prefer.

Min Elevation

Enabling Minimize Elevation will favor paths that have the least climb when calculating your route.

Manual Mode

In manual mode Strava will no longer try to ensure your route follows existing roads and trials. The Popularity and Min Elevation toggles will be disabled.

You won’t be able to generate cue sheet entries, Distance and elevation estimates will be less accurate and you won’t be able to add a new Startpoint to your route.

Manual Mode is best avoided!

Route Type

Strava Route Builder supports two type of activity: running and cycling. Your preferred sport type in your settings is selected by default, you can change it at any time when building a route.

The Route type is important because it changes the underlying map data used.

Strava Route Builder Left Side Menu starting from the top

(Select the (i) icon for detailed information and to view the tutorial.)

+/- Buttons (Panning & Zoom Control)

If you want to zoom in to get a closer look use the plus/minus zoom tools in the top left corner of the map. (To the right of the Left Side Menu). You can also use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

The map can be moved around the screen by clicking and dragging the map.

Strava Route Builder left Hand Menu Map View Options

Map View Options

There are three options available: OSM, Standard and Satellite

OSM is a Map showing terrain (See Image above)

Standard is a flat Map

Satellite is a satellite image

Global Heat Map

The Global heat map shows the popularity of roads and trails based on anonymous GPS data provided by Strava athletes. It is used to automatically calculate path popularity when creating a route in Strava Route Builder and you can also toggle this switch to show the heat map overlaid on your Strava Route Builder in red so you can manually select popular paths

Strava Route Builder Map view Option 2

Distance Markers

Distance markers help you see the length of your route by adding a marker onto the route every 10 km or 10 miles. Toggling markers on or off will not affect the route you’re working on.


The units on the distance markers displayed in route builder are based on your Athlete Settings. You can also select your preferred unit markers here.

Cue Sheet

Cue sheets offer turn by turn directions. These can be printed out and are to be used as guides only.

Strava Route Builder cue sheet

Route recommendations may be incomplete and/or inaccurate and may contain sections of private land and/or sections of terrain that could be challenging or hazardous.

Always use your best judgment about the safety of road and trail conditions and follow traffic and property laws.

Segment Explore

Segment explore lets you find interesting segments in existing routes, you can then click on a segment in the right hand list to open a popup showing segment details and allowing you to set a goal (requires Summit Training pack).

You can use the slider to filter segments displayed by Strava climb category.

Strava Route Builder segment explore

Strava Route Builder Bottom info bar and Menu

This bar gives you real time information about the route as you build it.

The information available is Route Type. Ride, Distance, Elevation Gain and Estimated Moving time.

Strava Route Builder bottom info bar

How Strava Route Builder Calculates Estimated Moving time for a New Route

The estimated moving time for a Route in Strava Route Builder is calculated from your 4-week average speed or pace. On your profile, you’ll see your average distance per week and your average time per week based on your last 4 weeks of activities.

Strava takes that average to estimate your moving time for the Route. If you share the route, the estimated moving time will be adjusted based on the viewer’s profile stats.


Clicking on the Elevation Item on the right hand side of this bar opens the Elevation profile panel showing the elevation changes on the route you are building.

Strava Route Builder elevation chart

Mouse over the elevation profile and elevation and grade are displayed in an info box.

Duplicating a Route in Strava Route Builder

Go to the route you want to copy and click on the duplicate button, you can then edit the copy

Strava Route Builder terrain map

Creating Routes using Strava Route Builder App

Strava Route Builder for Mobile (Beta)

Just swipe your finger over the Map and Strava Route Builder for Mobile will create a route for you.

To use the new Strava Route Builder feature, just trace a rough route over the map with your finger. (The old Strava Route Builder desktop version uses multiple point-and-click waypoints instead of finger swipes, but the principle is basically the same.) The app does the rest. It’s really quick and easy.

After you create the route, you can either print out a cue sheet or export the route to a device which supports GPX or TCX.

The Strava Routes App is included in the analysis pack. It’s not immediately obvious but you can find it by going to Profile Tab > Routes (bottom of screen) > Plus button (+) in top right of screen.

Creating Routes From Your Activities with Strava Route Builder

Activities can be converted to routes by accessing the ‘Create Route’ button from the Actions (three dots) menu on the Activity page. Strava Route Builder will do its best to convert that activity to a Route.

Strava Route Builder create route

However, in cases where an activity occurred in a dense urban area, has bad GPS data, or insufficient basemap data is available, the route that’s created may deviate from the original activity.

Strava Route Builder will display both the new route and original activity on the map so they can be compared.

Routes created from activities cannot be modified like a regular route. So popularity, elevation, and other controls may be disabled.

Creating Routes from Friends Activities using Strava Route Builder

If you find someone else’s route you like on Strava you can copy it. Just go to the ride or run, click on the wrench, and choose create route.

Note: This feature is only available for someone else’s activities if their privacy settings allow it.

Strava Route Builder create route from friends activity

Private Routes

You can now save a route as private which means no one will be able to view it except for you. Private routes cannot be shared or used for group events.

Managing your Routes with Strava Route Builder

To access routes you’ve created hover over your Dashboard tab and select My Routes from the drop-down menu.

You can Star routes by clicking the Star Outline on the route on the My Routes page or on the routes main page next to the Title.

Starring a route means it will show up at the top of your routes list (Starred Routes are your favorites)

To edit or delete a route, click the wrench icon located under the route star and select the appropriate option from the drop-down menu.

How to follow a Strava Route

You can follow your route on an iPhone, or Android Smartphone running the Strava App. You can also export a Route created in Strava Route Builder to a compatible Garmin device by selecting ‘Export’ on the Route page.

  • Download the TCX or GPX file depending on what your device will accept.

GPX files are best if you have base maps installed because it will display both a styled map and text-based directions.

TCX files are best when you don’t have base maps installed. Save the downloaded file to your computer and plug in your GPS device so it’s recognized as a USB drive.

  • Open the “Garmin” folder on that drive and find the folder labeled, “NewFiles.”
  • Move your downloaded TCX or GPX file there.
  • Once the file has transferred, you can disconnect your Garmin and look for the Route in “Courses” on the device.
  • From the Strava app for iPhone or Android, create or star a route as explained above. Then, navigate to the record screen in the app. Click the route icon and from the list of routes select Use Route.
  • This will load the route on the record screen for navigation.
  • Tap the route icon again to switch or clear the route.
  • If you need to head home early, the “Route Back to Start” feature will plot the best way back to the start of your activity.

If you don’t have a compatible GPS device, There are also handy printer-friendly cue sheets that you can print out and share.

Editing a Route with Strava Route Builder

If you own a route, you can edit it again after it’s been saved. From the route’s overview page, press the Edit Route button. The route will open in Strava Route Builder where you can edit the route by adding/removing or moving waypoints. The changes you make won’t be applied to the route until you click Save Route.

Strava Local – Data-powered, athlete-curated city guides

Go to: Explore Tab > Local (Free)

Ride and run the best routes in the world with Stravas City Guides. These Local routes are Hand-picked based on data from our global community and are curated by local members.

curated local routes

Sharing Strava running and cycling routes

You can share your routes while in Strava by clicking on a share this route with friends on the route main page:

You can invite your Strava friends to view your route, post it on Facebook and Twitter or email it to anyone you like. You can also download the file as TCX or GPX and email that them directly.

share your routes

share routes 2

How to Find “Strava Routes Near Me”

If you want to find routes Starva makes this really easy, just go to the Route Builder screen, enter the address of the area you want to find routes for and go to the segment explore menu.

You will see local routes on the map. You can filter these by climb category. Then use them as a basis to build your route.

You can also Browse Strava Local and the rides of friends in your activity feed.

What are Strava Heatmaps

Strava Global Heatmap is the largest dataset of cycling and running activity on the world and is a key element of Strava Routes as it is used to indicate the popularity of roads and trails with Strava athletes.

It’s a visualization of two years of trailing data from Strava’s global network of athletes.

To give a sense of scale, the Strava heatmap comprises:

  • 700 million activities
  • 4 trillion latitude/longitude points
  • 7 trillion pixels rasterized
  • 5 terabytes of raw input data
  • A total distance of 16 billion km (10 billion miles)
  • A total recorded activity duration of 100 thousand years

You can see the whole Strava Global Heatmap here

Strava Routes on Instagram

See images from Strava routes here: #stravaroutes