Did you realize that Zwift has over 100 “mixed-use” (ride and run) routes? 108, to be exact! See the full list here >
When it comes to choosing a route, Zwifters cover the full spectrum from “I didn’t even know there was a way to choose my route” to “I have a specific route I want to finish each time I zwift.” Some Zwifters stick to just a few routes, while others like to explore.
Whatever your style, it’s all good. But here are some tips to help the more “route choosy” among us access the route you want, when you want it.
How To Select a Route
There are two methods for selecting a route to ride or run in Zwift.
Method 1: Choose from Route List
Zwifters can manually select a route it from a list of available options within a given map. This is done before you begin your activity:
Method 2: Joining an Event
The other method of selecting is route is by joining an event. Every Zwift event that occurs, whether it’s an official calendar event or a Meetup, is held on a single, specific route. That route is selected when the event is set up, and you can see that route in the event’s details. Here are two sample events (a calendar event and a Meetup) showing the selected route:
How To Ride Any Route
While public events can be held on all 8 of Zwift’s maps, and privately-organized Meetups can be held on all 6 of Zwift’s “open” maps (thanks to a recent change), the routes available to choose from within Zwift on your own (Method 1 above) are restricted to just three maps each day.
Why? Because Zwift doesn’t want to open up all maps to free-riding, since they don’t want maps to feel “empty” because Zwift is a social platform. Therefore, Zwift has three maps available each day: Watopia plus two guest maps. The monthly schedule can be found here.
If you want to ride a particular route, but that map isn’t on the schedule today, here are a few ways to get it done.
Option 1: World Tag Hack
Zwifters have been using this option for years, and even though Zwift has made it easier than ever whichever route we’d like for a given sessions, sometimes world hacking is the easiest way to get it done. This solution is quite easy on Mac and PC, but more of a hassle on Android and iOS. AppleTV? Don’t even try it!
Option 2: Use the Zwift-Preferences App from ZwiftHacks (PC Only)
This little bit of software from Jesper at ZwiftHacks basically gives you a visual interface for world tag hacking, as well as access to many other Zwift preferences.
Visit the Zwift-Preferences homepage for details/download >
Option 3: Select a Public Event On Your Desired Route
If you’re not into world tag hacking, or would rather complete your desired route in a group event, you can join an event being held on that route. Unfortunately, Zwift’s event tools (Companion app and zwift.com/events) don’t all us to filter events based on route at this time.
The good news is, you can search for upcoming events on particular routes using the ZwiftHacks Events app. Just enter the route name in the “Search in route name” box and viola! all upcoming events appear.
ZwiftPower also allows you to filter events by route.
if you don’t actually want to participate in the group ride, but just ride the route, you can click to exit the event at any time after it has started. This will keep you on the same route, but remove you from the group ride. A good solution if the group ride pace doesn’t match your goals for the day.
Option 4: Create a Meetup on Your Desired Route
Thanks to the recent update which allows us to create Meetups on all 6 open maps, any Zwifter can create a Meetup on any open route!
Note: Meetups cannot be held on “event only” routes, or on the event-only maps Crit City and Bologna.
The only caveat here is that you must invite at least one follower to your Meetup before the event can be created. So if you’re only creating the Meetup because you’re you’re wanting to ride a particular route, you’ll still need to invite a friend to join you.
AppleTV users: since you’re unable to do the world tag hack, Meetups are currently the only way for you to access off-schedule routes, apart from joining a public event.
Learn how to create a Meetup >
Zwift’s restriction of the daily map calendar can be a bit confusing, and even annoying, if you’re wanting to ride a particular route. But there are ways to get access to that route, no matter what platform you’re using to run Zwift.
So get out there and do a little exploring! And if you’re really looking for a challenge, see if you can get all the route badges – here’s a good place to start.
What method do you use to access the routes you’d like? Share your thoughts below!
HI Good article. I am a heavier cyclist and have to work very hard on hills, to hold the bunch that is if we are all seeded correct;y say C. As a heavier cyclist we can sprint and push on flats. I am new to ZWIFT on level 10. Any tips for a heavier cyclist on hills say difficulty settings, spinning gears small blade vs big blade, drafting etc..? Also just did sprints to see what power I can push out, got badges up to 1.2GW but i just hit 1500 watts zero accolade for 1.3GW, 1.4GW or 1.5GW and… Read more »
Whst do you want the impact of the tips on hills to be? As a heavier cyclist I have always found spinning a low gear to be the way to get up hills IRL, in Zwift not so much. The “difficulty” setting can be counter-intuitive in my experience as it isn’t really altering the difficulty, just how much of the gradient you feel. You will still go the appropriate speed in Zwift based on your power output, weight and the gradient, regardless of what percentage of the gradient you feel. For me, I find setting it to 100% works best,… Read more »
Option 2½ would be ZwiftPref for macOS users 😉
It would be nice if there were the option to pick a new route after the completion of riding a route. Like there is for workouts. Add a routes button to click on on the menu screen.
If you create multiple meetups you can do this. I have a”dummy” account set up which if free and I use this for meetups. So ride a route in New York, finish route.. create meetup for Yorkshire, ride route..create meetup for London. Saves the dreaded save and exit. I’ve got all the route badges though so not sure if this hack allowed you to collect multiple badges without exiting.
Neil, how do you create a “dummy” account?
Does it all save as a single Strava activity even if you do multiple meetup like this ?
id like to do a 100km ride but options limited unless you go round and round the same route 2 or more times
Each time to join a Meetup your previous ride is saved and uploaded as its own activity. Like joining any other event.
There is a way to combine Strava rides for rides in the real world and I would have thought you could use it for virtual rides too. Have a look at Combining Strava GPS (TCX|GPX|FIT) files, exporting GPX files from Garmin Connect, and adding time stamps to GPX files – GOTOES free utilities
Thanks, very insightful. Not a way to ride a route, but a good way to chose one: https://zwifthub.com. Lots of filters and information. I think a website any swifter should bookmark.
One thing that would be good for people who want to knock out routes they haven’t done before would be the ability to see what routes you have and have not ridden BEFORE you select a route.
It would be great if a user could access the Menu before choosing a map and then they could choose a route they hadn’t ridden before.
1000X this! Zwift does a lot of things well, but it has such a terrible user interface. Why can’t I see what routes I’ve done on the Zwift website? I should be able to jump on there now, see what routes I’ve done and what routes are left, so I can plan what to ride later when I fire up the game. And this should also be on the start-up menu as Tony says. When you’re selecting a route from the list, it would be great if those you’ve already done were flagged as completed.
Not all routes you choose give me you a route complete 😔 not sure what I’m doing wrong happened both on choosing a route and meet up?
Some routes do not start at the beginning and you have to ride a bit to start. Ex: Jungle Circuit does actually start until you get down I to the jungle and do a partial circuit. Can be a PITA on some routes to know exactly where the route starts.
I find Zwifthib.com the best tool to use. Each route shows you the distance and the lead in distance plus the elevation for the route. You can also see the elevation profile so you know when you’re about to hit a climb.
You can also highlight a routes completed so you can see which you have left..
I kind of like the quieter roads when I’m doing a meetup. Today I did Yorkshire (off-schedule) and the roads were lovely and quiet. Some of the worlds are nerve janglingly busy if you are after a quiet ride.
Wouldn’t it be oh so easy for zwift to mark as “been there done that”, in the route chooser, all the routes that a rider has already done?
Finding out which route is already completed is really uncomfortable. I see 2 options how this should be done:
1. We should have access to badges before w pick route.
2. Routes should be marked with different colors, let say, white – completed, gray – not.
I’m trying to ride every time different route to level fast as every time you complete new route you are rewarded extra XP.
How long a route is going to take you to ride is also a good thing to know for planning purposes. This resource is great – the times are pegged roughly to 2.5 w/kg, but can be customized to your own performance. https://www.bestbikesplit.com/zwift-routes
Good tips, Eric.
However on Method #2, I would suggest riders to note the event and pace that they are joining. Please don’t be riding above the stated pace of the group ride that you’re joining. Group rides are meant to be ridden as a group. If you’re a 3.0 rider joining a 1.5 w/kg ride, why not pay it forward by offering to help sweep the ride, or simply stay with the yellow beacon.
Another option is to join the event, then exit the event as soon as it starts. You’ll still ride the same route, but not be part of the group ride.
Thanks Eric, I didn’t know this
Eric, ZwiftPref is not PC only; i still use it on Mac without any issues 🙂
ciao, di solito scelgo le rotte o i tour da pc, però la cosa fastidiosa è che se voglio cambiare rotta devo scendere dall hometrainer e selezionare l altro percorso. Questo è veramente non buono. Uscire dalla pedalata e poi rientrare su un altra rotta e ricominciare non va tanto bene.
spero che venga risolto al più presto
Could the routes done, or not done, be shown in the app?
print out the “zwift route difficulty list”. 2 pages with each route listed for all the worlds. you can then check off each route once completed. handy hard copy to have.
Can you confirm the only way to ride multiple routes and collect the badges Is to come out if Zwift after each route is completed. I rode volcano circuit then once completed did a u turn and ride reverse but didn’t get a badge
You have to start a new ride with the particular route you want to get the badge. You can’t manually turn to get it. As far coming out of Zwift goes, it depends. You can schedule another meetup with yourself or others and the join it directly from the ride you are already on, avoiding going back to the title screen. But the rides will be split and considered 2 different activities. 2 quick things to know though: in order to create a meetup with yourself, you need to invite someone else. The easiest way to do this is to… Read more »
Love this, how you can selected your world. However it is a little frustrating the on a Meetup IN NYC it’s only seem to take you around park perimeter, despite selecting Highline or Lady Liberty, etc. Once this problem is fixed, it will be great. 😀
I couldn’t give a toss about the social aspects – I just want to ride with scenery that that is nice. If anything, the game-like nature and social stuff is a turnoff.
I can’t seem to access the new watopia routes for a meetup on my companion app? any ideas?
Not yet available. Hopefully soon!
I want to ride the PRL Full on Sunday 07.02.2021 for the Badge… As the London map is officially not in the calendar on this sunday, I planned to ride through the meetup-hack.
Does this count to get the badge or do I have to ride the course on an official day to get it? I do not want to ride 173km for nothing… 😀
Any answer?…. 🙂
I am a fairly new rider with Zwift. I was in the middle of The London Triple Loops, about 20km in, when I needed to pause my ride. I left my computer open to Zwift, and my phone had the companion app open as well. When I returned to my ride about an hour later, my avatar on the laptop was still there at the side of the road, my phone app still open, but once I began cycling the avatar remained stationery and my watt readout was blank. I was not able to get my avatar going again and… Read more »
Sounds like your trainer went to sleep/disconnected. Bring up the pairing screen next time and re-pair it.
I know this article is from Apr 2020, but maybe it’s good to update it anyway:
Option 2: Here you should insert ZwiftPref and write “macOS or Windows only” since it exists for both operating systems. ZwiftPref is also from ZwiftHacks.
I don’t know if zwift-preferences has any benefits over ZwiftPref but they look very similar…so I suggest mentioning ZwiftPref instead since it’s available on Mac.
Option 4: The number of worlds has increased, but Makuri Island still can’t be reached through meetups. Looks like it will take a while before that’s possible.
Swift doesn’t get cycling. New first day to swift. Terribly disappointed. My thoughts, for many cyclists, cycling is about exploring, riding roads, and for me, that takes all over Europe. Zwift is a social media thing, I get that. But Swift doesn’t get cycling. Offering only 100 rides, so few locations, so short a distance sucks. Just imaging been being able to swift Col du Tourmalet 18km up and down the other side to Toulouse / Gap or cross a swiss alp of a cycle a legionary pass.
Hi Eric. I’m working my way through the new Neokyo routes on Makuri Islands and notice that there is a “Neokyo Crit Course” badge achievement to be had. However, it is not on the list of available routes on my version of Zwift, and I can’t see it coming up on Zwift Events yet. Am I missing something here, but how do we achieve this badge?
It’s an event-only route – more info here: https://zwiftinsider.com/route/neokyo-crit-course
Option 0: Change the date on your phone/ device – simples 💁🏼♂️
With the new UI this is really easy now. Choose a workout, then a world (all are available), then a route. Only available if you choose a workout first, so if you’re just riding around there are some free ride ones.
ETA: still can’t access event-only ones through this method
How come I am restricted to do a ride?
Hi, when I compare the Zwift insider route calendar with Zwift calendar they don’t sync? I.e. today Insider lists: Innsbruck and Richmond, but Zwift has: Marakuri and NYC… How do I align? Ta
November 2022 eight days in a row of Makuri Islands is not a way to get new or resubscribers. Just sayin’
True, it was exactly that that led me to finding this article when I was looking for the reasoning why Zwift doesn’t allow all of it’s worlds to be opened all of the time.
I’m a solo rider and am not interested in the social aspect, I would like the ability to have whatever world I want to ride that day open without the need for hacks or workarounds so I can choose and the reason given in the above article about the maps not appearing empty doesn’t really cut it.
hey eric.i think the route changes at 11pm eastern time not midnight.i have seen the next days route appear at 11:05pm.there was a time when it was midnight..then it switched i believe
Actually, you can create a workout and then select any route to do the workout on. That came with the interface rework.
I go to custom workout. Select 60 or 90 free ride. Select any route and ride on…..