What Is Depth First Traversal in Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

Depth First Traversal is a popular algorithm used in data structures to traverse or visit all the nodes of a graph or tree. It starts at a specific node and explores as far as possible along each branch before backtracking.

What is Depth First Traversal?

Depth First Traversal (DFT), also known as Depth First Search (DFS), is one of the fundamental algorithms used in graph theory and other applications where we need to explore all the vertices/nodes of a graph or tree.

The main idea behind DFT is to go as deep as possible before backtracking. This means that once we start traversing a path, we will keep going forward until we reach a dead-end or a leaf node, and then backtrack to explore other paths.

Implementation of Depth First Traversal

To implement DFT, we typically use either recursion or an explicit stack. Here, I will explain the recursive approach.

Recursive Approach:

In the recursive implementation of DFT, we start by visiting an initial node and then recursively visit all its adjacent unvisited nodes, repeating this process until all nodes have been visited.

Here’s an example:

// Recursive implementation of DFT

void dfs(Node node) {
   if (node == null) {
   // Mark the current node as visited
   // Print/Process the current node
   node.visited = true;
   // Recur for all adjacent unvisited nodes
   for (Node neighbor : node.adjacentNodes) {
      if (!neighbor.visited) {


Let’s consider the following graph:

        / \
       B   C
      / \   \
     D   E   F

Starting from node A, the Depth First Traversal will visit the nodes in the following order: A, B, D, E, C, F.

Applications of Depth First Traversal

Depth First Traversal has various applications in computer science and programming. Some of them include:

  • Finding connected components in a graph.
  • Detecting cycles in a graph.
  • Solving puzzles like mazes.
  • Generating spanning trees of a graph.


Depth First Traversal is a powerful algorithm used to explore all the nodes of a graph or tree. It follows a depth-first approach by going as deep as possible before backtracking.

This algorithm has numerous applications and is widely used in various domains of computer science.

Understanding Depth First Traversal is crucial for anyone working with graphs or trees in their programs. I hope this tutorial has helped you grasp the concept and its implementation.

Discord Server - Web Server - Private Server - DNS Server - Object-Oriented Programming - Scripting - Data Types - Data Structures

Privacy Policy