finds a cycle in the graph g.


finds a cycle of length at most k in the graph g.


finds a cycle of length exactly k.


finds a cycle of length between kmin and kmax.


finds at most s cycles.


finds cycles that include the vertex v.


uses rules vw to specify the graph g.


  • A cycle is also known as a circuit or loop.
  • A cycle is a path with no repetitions of vertices or edges other than the starting and ending vertices.
  • FindCycle gives a list of cycles. Each cycle is given as a list of edges.
  • FindCycle will return an empty list if there is no cycle.
  • FindCycle[g,kspec,All] finds all the cycles.
  • For weighted graphs, FindCycle[g,k] gives all cycles with total weights less than k.
  • FindCycle works with undirected graphs, directed graphs, and multigraphs.

Background & Context

  • FindCycle attempts to find one or more distinct cycles in a graph. Cycles are returned as a list of edge lists or as {} if none exist. A cycle of a graph (more properly called a circuit when the cycle is identified using an explicit path with particular endpoints) is a consecutive sequence of distinct edges such that the first and last edges coincide at their endpoints. Cycle enumeration can be used for planning a cyclic route in many situations (subway, road trip, etc.), computing voltage or current in electronic circuits, or discovering infinite loops in computer programs.
  • In general, FindCycle[g,kspec,s] attempts to find s cycles of length kspec. The count specification s may be omitted (in which case it is taken to be 1), may be a positive integer, or can be All. The length specification kspec may be a positive integer k (in which case it stands for cycles of length k or less), Infinity, a positive integer inside a list {k} (in which case it stands for cycles of length exactly k), or a list of two positive integers {kmin,kmax} (in which case it stands for cycles of lengths kmin through kmax).
  • A graph for which FindCycle[g,{3}] returns {} is known as a triangle-free graph, and one for which FindCycle[g,{4}] returns {} is known as square free. A cycle of length n, where n is the number of vertices in a graph, is known as a Hamiltonian cycle, and a graph possessing such a cycle is said to be Hamiltonian.
  • A graph that does not contain any cycle is called an acyclic graph and can be tested for using AcyclicGraphQ.
  • FindCycle returns simple cycles, while FindHamiltonianCycle, FindEulerianCycle, and FindFundamentalCycles return specific types of cycles. FindPath may be used to find a path (a set of edges for which the endpoints do not coincide) between two specific vertices, returned as a set of consecutive vertices along the path.


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Basic Examples  (2)

Find a cycle in a graph:

Highlight the cycle:

Find all cycles in a graph:

Scope  (12)

Specification  (6)

FindCycle works with undirected graphs:

Directed graphs:

Weighted graphs:


Use rules to specify the graph:

FindCycle works with large graphs:

Enumeration  (6)

A cycle of length exactly 8:

A cycle of length at most length 6:

A cycle of length between 3 and 5:

A cycle that includes a given vertex:

Find all cycles:

FindCycle gives an empty list if there is no cycle:

Applications  (4)

Find Hamiltonian cycles that visit each vertex exactly once:

Show the cycle:

Find cycles with a given property:

Include a vertex:

Include an edge:

Find the longest loops in the Korean Busan Underground:

The length of the longest loops:

Find the loops:

Plan a dog walk tour:

For a given starting node, find 5 tours of at least length 20 that avoid streets with bad dogs:

Properties & Relations  (3)

Use FindHamiltonianCycle to find cycles that visit each vertex exactly once:

Equivalent to:

EdgeCycleMatrix gives a basis for all cycles:

Build all cycles:

Find all cycles from FindCycle:

FindCycle gives an empty list for acyclic graphs:

Possible Issues  (1)

FindCycle ignores self-loops:

Wolfram Research (2014), FindCycle, Wolfram Language function, (updated 2015).


Wolfram Research (2014), FindCycle, Wolfram Language function, (updated 2015).


Wolfram Language. 2014. "FindCycle." Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Wolfram Research. Last Modified 2015.


Wolfram Language. (2014). FindCycle. Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Retrieved from


@misc{reference.wolfram_2024_findcycle, author="Wolfram Research", title="{FindCycle}", year="2015", howpublished="\url{}", note=[Accessed: 23-June-2024 ]}


@online{reference.wolfram_2024_findcycle, organization={Wolfram Research}, title={FindCycle}, year={2015}, url={}, note=[Accessed: 23-June-2024 ]}