GPX Tracks and Routes

When discussing our software, and in particular our GPS mapping software, we will often be talking about GPX files. A GPX file can store, among other things, both tracks and routes. The file format is pretty universal so it allows you to exchange data with your GPS or any mapping app.

One of the things that can slow us down in helping you with any questions you may have is if you describe what you're talking about as a track when it's actually a route, or vice versa.

This matter because, and we can't stress this enough: tracks are not the same as routes and routes are not the same as tracks.

So what's the difference? Well both contain a series of points (stored as latitude and longitude) which in total describe a journey across the ground but that's where the similarity ends.


A "route" is essentially a plan of where you intend to go which you can upload to your GPS so it can then give you directions while you take your journey. Each point on the route has a location and, optionally, a name.

You may have purchased a route from us, that's an option for each of our walks, or from another web site. Alternatively you may have created one yourself using our GPS mapping software or similar software from another source.

Typically a route will not have that many points in it as you only really need to have a point where you reach an objective, like a stile, or a significant turn.


A "track" is a record logged by your GPS of where you have been so as well as location each point on a track will normally include the time you were there and your elevation (height above sea level) at the point.

There will typically be hundreds or even thousands of points in a track as your GPS will log your location every few seconds.

WalkLakes recognises that hill walking, or walking in the mountains, is an activity with a danger of personal injury or death.
Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.