Finding your bearings when hiking: signposting on paths

The FFRandonnée has created close to 180.000 km of signposted paths, four and a half times the Earth's circumference! Discover the different signs and find your ideal hike during your holidays in France!

S'orienter à la montagne : le balisage des sentiers

Signposts complement other orientation tools such as a compass and map. We recommend always using these three tools together. Signposts are maintained but you may encounter damages signs after bad weather.

We distinguish 3 different types of signposts in france:

Good to know: signpost codes may vary from one country to another and one organisation to the other. Find out as much as you can before leaving to enjoy your hikes to the full.

Finding your bearings when hiking: signposting on paths


The paths take several days or even several weeks. They often enable you to visit whole regions, such as the famous GR®20 in Corsica. You know others, such as the GR®65, used by the Way of St James pilgrims. Remember to take a hiking bag that is large enough to carry foul and good weather gear.

You will recognise GR® paths thanks to their white and red markings.

Finding your bearings when hiking: signposting on paths


They are different to a simple GR® as they follow a round route, such as for example, the tour of Morvan. The path always remains within a single geographic area. Regional GR® are perfect to discover a region. They are modular, "links" enable the route to be lengthened or shortened depending on your ability.

They are marked yellow and red.

Finding your bearings when hiking: signposting on paths


Shorter PR®s take a day maximum. Each person can find what they are looking for with local heritage or wildlife routes. On these paths, we recommend a small 20 litre bag, unless you are also carrying your child's belongings, in this case, a 40 litre rucksack would be more suitable.

They are marked in yellow.

Finding your bearings when hiking: signposting on paths

On the path, the colour markings will be painted on rocks, trees, walls and posts. Their frequency depends on the terrain and direction to take. The signposting is maintained by close to 8000 volunteers who adapt their markings to the environment to help you find your way, while maintaining the beauty of the paths.

Before starting, find out more about your route, particularly the following points: distance, terrain, duration of the hike and maximum altitude. Discover our article on classifications to hike at your level. Created by the FFrandonnée and their partner IBP Index, this classification system uses a colour code similar to ski slopes (from green to black), and takes into account effort, technical level and risk.
To find the best route for you, refer to the hiking guides. Some editors even propose themes such as gastronomic hikes, nature walks, etc. You are sure to find the hike for you!

Warning, you may come across markings for horse or MTB routes. To not make a mistake, remember that MTB markings have a triangle and two circles (red, orange or brown depending on the distance of the route) and markings for horse-riding routes are orange. In the winter, you may also come across purple markings for snowshoe routes.

Finding your bearings when hiking: signposting on paths

Do you want to become a marker? Get in touch with the National Trail team or join a charity who is looking for trustees to mark the trails accross the UK.

Do you have a favourite French trail ? Tell us in the comments below!