How to Create a Custom Route on Google Maps

Experiment with new ways to get to your destination

What to Know

  • Desktop: Open Google My Maps > Add directions > Transportation mode > Departure point > Destination point. Click and drag route line to customize route.
  • Add a marker to map: Open Google My Maps and click Add layer > Add marker > click location and select Save.
  • Android and iOS (view only): In the Google Maps app, tap Saved > Maps. Select the saved custom route you'd like to view.

With the Google My Maps tool, you can build custom routes for any upcoming trip. This lets you plan the route exactly how you want, and you can even share your custom routes with others.

You can only create custom routes with My Maps from a desktop browser. However, you can view the routes you’ve made on both Android and iOS devices.

How Do I Create a Custom Route in Google Maps?

Creating a custom route in Google Maps is a two-step process. First, you'll need to create a new map in My Maps and add a custom route. Below, you'll find instructions for both tasks:

  1. Navigate to Google Maps and make sure you’re signed in to your Google Account.

  2. Click the three horizontal lines (hamburger menu) in the top-left corner.

    Opening Menu in Google Maps.
  3. Select Your places from the drop-down menu.

    Your Places in Google Maps menu.
  4. Select Maps in the top row and then click Create Map. Your custom map will open in a new window.

    Creating map from Your Places menu in Google Maps.
  5. Click Untitled Map in the top-left to enter a name and description for your map.

    Changing map name in Google My Maps.
  6. Click Save to confirm.

    Confirming map name in Google My Maps.

One downside to My Maps is it doesn’t let you navigate your custom route in real-time in Google Maps. Instead, it’s more valuable as an offline map tool you can use as a reference while navigating to your destination.

Customize Your Route on Google Maps

Now that you have your map, it’s time to plan a route.

  1. To begin, select Add directions under the search bar. This will create a new directions layer in the menu located on the left side of the screen.

    Adding directions to Google My Maps.

    You can add up to 10 layers on a custom map. Having additional layers is useful if you want to create multiple custom routes for a single trip.

  2. Select your transportation mode by clicking the Driving icon under the new map layer.

    Selecting transportation mode in Google My Maps.

    Google’s custom routes do not support transit. You can only select driving, cycling, or walking.

  3. Enter your departure point in the A text box.

    Entering departure point in Google My Maps.
  4. Enter your destination point in the B text box.

    Entering destination point in Google My Maps.
  5. Google will automatically plot a route. Then, to customize it, click and drag the destination line to the desired point.

    Moving destination line in Google My Maps.
  6. Your custom route will be saved to your Google Drive automatically.

How to Access Custom Routes on Mobile

Once you’ve finished a custom route, you’ll be able to access it on the go with your mobile device. While you won't be able to edit your maps, you can still view custom routes on any Android or iOS device using Google Maps.

The screenshots below were taken on an iPhone, but the process is identical on Android.

  1. Open the Google Maps app.

  2. Tap the Saved icon from the menu at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Tap Maps.

  4. Open the map you’d like to view. You should see your custom route displayed.

    Opening custom maps in Google Maps for iOS.

Can You Draw a Route on Google Maps?

In addition to directions, you can add markers, lines, and shapes to your custom route in My Maps. 

Add a Marker

If you want to plan stops along your route, you can use a custom marker to indicate those points.

  1. Click Add layer.

    Adding a new layer to Google My Maps.
  2. Click the Add marker icon under the search bar.

    Adding marker to custom map in Google My Maps.
  3. Click the location you’d like to pin. Enter a name for the pin and click Save.

    Renaming a marker in Google My Maps.
  4. The location will now be pinned to your map. From here, you’ll be able to:

    • Change the font color.
    • Change the pin icon.
    • Edit location name.
    • Add a photo or video to make the location more visible on your map.
    • Add directions to the location.
    Saved marker displayed in Google My Maps.

Add a Line or Shape (Desktop)

You can use lines and shapes to fine-tune the route you're creating on Google Maps. Here's how to add them.

  1. Click Draw a line under the search bar.

    Draw a Line marker displayed in Google My Maps.
  2. Select Add line or shape.

    Selecting "Add a line" in Google My Maps.

    You can also choose to draw a driving, cycling, or walking route with this tool. This is useful if you want to fine-tune your route, but the Add directions tool is more intuitive for plotting an A to B route.

  3. Click the location on your map where you’d like your line or shape to start.

    Pinning a line location in Google My Maps.
  4. Drag the cursor to another point and click to pin a line. Once you’re finished, double-click to confirm line or shape placement.

    Drawing a line in Google My Maps.
  5. Your line or shape will now appear in your map legend on the left-side of the screen. From here, you can edit the color and width, change the name, add a photo or video, or delete.

    Saving a line/shape in Google My Maps.
  • How do you create a route with multiple stops on Google Maps?

    After adding a starting point and a destination, select Add Destination on the left, below the destinations. Next, enter the destination for the next stop and repeat for all the stops you need to add. Finally, select a route to get the directions.

  • How do I share a custom route on Google Maps?

    After you create a custom route, you can send it to someone by selecting the Share button. Google Maps will provide a link that you can copy and send to others. In addition, you can select Let others search for and find this map on the internet if you wish to share it publicly.

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