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Constructed in the last years of the Second Age; extant into the Fourth Age
Running from Minas Tirith (formerly Minas Anor)1 westward along the northern flanks of the White Mountains at least as far as the Firien Wood2
Built by Elendil and his sons
The westward road began at Minas Tirith (originally Minas Anor); after the foundation of Rohan, Edoras stood on the road, and it passed near the Hornburg (originally the Gondorian fortress at Aglarond)
Important peaks
The road passed close by the line of the Beacons of Gondor
So named because it ran westward from Minas Tirith
Other names
The Great West Road; formed a part of the longer road to the North-kingdom variously known as the Great Road, the North Road, the North-South Road or the Royal Road


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 October 2023
  • This entry is complete

West Road

The road running westward from Minas Tirith

Map of the West Road

Sometimes called the Great West Road, the road that left the Great Gate of Minas Tirith and turned north and west to pass around Amon Dîn and the Drúadan Forest, and on westwards through Anórien. It travelled past each of the Beacon-hills, and crossed Gondor's later western border within the Firien Wood. From there, it carried on westward through lands that had been known as Calenardhon when it was first made, but belonged to Rohan at the end of the Third Age (see note 2 below for a detailed discussion of the road's course).

Eventually, the Road reached the Fords of Isen at the edge of Westfold, and passed across into the wilds of Enedwaith. This appears to be the point where the 'West Road' came to an end: though the road itself carried on into the far north of Middle-earth, after this point it was known as the 'North-South Road'.



At the time that the road was made, the chief city of Gondor was Osgiliath, not Minas Anor, and so we might expect the road to have started there. Maps relating to the end of the Third Age, however, clearly show the West Road originating from Minas Tirith (as Minas Anor was later known). This might simply have been because that western city was a more convenient starting point for the road, or it might imply that the road's course changed over history to reflect the increased importance of the city of Minas Tirith.


The West Road formed a part of the long North-South Road that joined Gondor and Arnor, but the name only seems to have applied along the stretch that ran through Gondor and later Rohan, along which the road truly ran westward. The point where the name ceased to apply is open to question, but the westernmost point that is specifically named the 'West Road' ran through the Firien Wood on the borders of Rohan. Maps of the region, however, label the part that ran from there to Edoras as the 'Great West Road', which we can presumably take as a continuation of the 'West Road'.

When the road was originally made, the city of Edoras did not exist, and so that cannot have been its western extent. It presumably ran on further at least as far as the (originally Gondorian) fortress at Aglarond, and perhaps as far as Athrad Angren, the Fords of Isen. Beyond Isen, the course of the road turned decisively northward rather than westward, and so it was probably not known as the 'West Road' past this point (though the road itself carried on for hundreds of miles to reach the distant North-kingdom).


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 October 2023
  • This entry is complete

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