A desire path (also known as a desire line or social trail) is a path developed by erosion caused by footfall. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The width and amount of erosion of the line represents the amount of demand.
Desire paths can usually be found as shortcuts where constructed pathways take a circuitous route.
They are manifested on the surface of the earth in certain cases, e.g., as dirt pathways created by people walking through a field, when the original movement by individuals helps clear a path, thereby encouraging more travel. Explorers may tread a path through foliage or grass, leaving a trail "of least resistance" for followers.
“I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.”
— Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me