Czech Hiking Markers System

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Arrow signs at the start of two trails - blue and green

The Czech Hiking Markers Standard is an international system of hiking markers for tourist trails, used in more countries than any competing standard.[citation needed] The signs and markers can be used in both wilderness and cities.

Basic hiking markers[edit]

Coloured markers throughout the trail accompany the hiker - this is the blue marked trail

The trail usually starts with arrow signs with names of destinations and number of kilometres marked. Each trail is then colour marked by simple markers and arrows painted between white lines (for better visibility) on fixed objects along the trail (trees, rocks, utility posts or walls) in a colour given to a specific trail.

Additional features[edit]

The basic system of trails with markers painted along the trail can be complemented by other features. These additional features are not necessary for the basic functioning of the system though.

  • Information boards along the trail, giving information about the trail, nature protection, monuments, animals and trees along the trail. Logos of the supervising institution can be shown.
  • Printed Maps with coloured lines showing the trails.
  • GPS information on each trail, board or sign
  • Mobile phone application with a map and site descriptions (electronic tourist guide)

Usage and extent[edit]

This method of trail blazing has a wide international usage in most of Central and Eastern Europe (including the Balkans and Caucasus), with showcase examples also in parts of Latin America and Asia.[citation needed]

Left Turn Marker on a blue trail - marker showing the change of direction of the trail

The system has been used by the Czech Hiking Club since 1888.[1] The entire territory of the Czech Republic is covered with marked trails,[2] and detailed maps are published and widely available. In the Czech Republic, over 70,000 km of hiking trails have been marked in this way. Of these, 39,816 km of hiking trails were marked in 2008. An additional 31,104 km of cycling trails, 387 km of skiing trails, and 1300 km of horse riding trails are also marked. In 1938 it was the longest system in the world,[3] but now it is the densest network.[3]

Maps of the trails have also been made into a number of digital applications - both Apple and Android for mobile phones, on Google Maps,[4] and on the Czech "" (and its version for foreigners called "WindyMaps").

Czech Markers standard[edit]

This system uses three bars - usually one colour in between two white bars,[5] with different meanings attached to different colours:[6]

  • red indicates the most difficult or summit trails;
  • blue for significant trails;
  • yellow and green for easy or interconnecting trails.

These marks may be posted on wooden boards or metallic plates.

Basic Marker - Red colour used for difficult or summit trails

Basic trail markers are square, 10x10 cm in size. The volunteers marking these trails usually prepare sheet metal or cardboard matrices to keep the signs uniform in size.

TouristicMarkingArrowR-RAL yellow.svg

Any change of direction is marked with arrows of the same colour and similar design.

The system is usually supplemented by maps,[2] which show the trails as lines in corresponding colours. Nevertheless, maps are not necessary for the system to function, as walkers can simply follow the trail from marker to marker.

Cardboard Matrix for a basic marker of 10x10 cm - used by volunteers painting the markers along the trail

Czech Markers around the world[edit]

Several trails marked together before they split in different directions

Due to the relative ease of use and low cost, the system has spread to many other countries, often by Czech people. Originally used in the Czech Republic, the system spread through Central Europe and Eastern Europe and even to countries outside Europe. Nearly identical systems exist in the neighbouring countries of Austria and Poland.

Switzerland - same type of markers


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