Hence its name, the contestant called to the stage has to walk a path of side-touching numbers (straight forward, backwards, or side to side, not diagonally) which form the price of a brand new car.
- The contestant is asked to stand on the center space of a 5-by-5 grid of 25 digits; that space represents the first digit in the price of the car. The second number in the price is on one of the four squares adjacent (not diagonal) to where the contestant is standing. The contestant is asked to step to the square they believe is the second digit. If they are right, they proceed to step to the third, fourth and fifth digits in order, without using the same spaces twice. Doing so wins the car.
- However, if at any point the contestant steps to an incorrect space, they must return to the previous space and earn a chance to continue. To earn these chances, three small prizes are used. The contestant is asked to choose one of them and select which of two displayed prices is correct. If they guess correctly, they win that item and may continue with the price of the car; if they are wrong, they must select one of the other small prizes, if one is available. The game is lost if the contestant makes an incorrect step with no small prizes left or guesses the final small prize incorrectly after having already made an incorrect step.
- When Pathfinder debuted on April 7, 1987 (#6452D), The Price Is Right still offered cars worth less than $10,000. When played for a car with four digits in the price, the center space where the contestant began was a G-T asterisk, the first window in the overhead display was a dollar sign and the contestant needed to light up all four digits in the car's price. Also when the game first premiered, it originally used regular bells to indicate that the contestant stepped to the right number and the standard buzzer when moving on the wrong number, as the clangs and "trap" sound were not in use yet; although the standard dings were used on the April 25, 1997 (#0355K) playing, as the clangs did not work. Not surprisingly, the game was won on April 7, 1987 (#6452D) with no mistakes made for the price of the car. When the 5-digit car debuted on September 22, 1988 (#6954D), the contestant stood on the first number for free.
- The tall prop at the back of the game board which displays the car's price is recycled from Add 'Em Up and in fact, is still a separate part of the Pathfinder setup. The sound indicating a contestant's step to an incorrect number was originally used as the "trap" sound from the short-lived ABC game show Trivia Trap, also produced by Goodson-Todman Productions.
- On December 1, 1992 (#8602D), a contestant named Ben Reynolds (who was stout, had a full white beard, and dressed in red prompting Santa Claus jokes from Bob), while playing for a $13,598 Buick Skylark briefly touched his foot to an adjacent number, but moved back waving his arms around, making it seems that he had lost his balance. That number he touched lit up, as though Ben was going to move there. Bob briefly pointed out his "slick maneuver", and warned him, "Santa Claus or not, don't try that again." The game proceeded as normal, with Ben going on to win without making any mistakes.
- One of the most famous playings was on November 30, 1993 (#8992D), where Bob and Janice try to demonstrate the Crocodile Dentist game after contestant Jane Ward made a mistake and choosing the Crocodile Dentist game to earn her second chance, taking a turn pressing one tooth at a time until Bob pressed the "sore tooth" and the crocodile bit Bob's hand.
- On November 12, 1996 (#0132K), a case of errors occurred. First off, when Bob asked them to light up the first number contestant Keith Loudin stood on in the center, which was a "2", the second number lit up instead, which was the "1" on his right. After the small prize descriptions, the "0" on the path lit up. After being on the fourth number, which was a "4", he moved to the "0" already lit up, which was incorrect, after being perfect on his first four numbers. He lost after guessing all three small prizes incorrectly, but before revealing the actual retail prices of the Showcases at the end of the show, because of the latter error, Bob decided to award Keith the van.
- The game board remains virtually unchanged while the small prize stands had undergone several revisions. On November 9, 2000 (#1574K), the colors of the price choices and the price reveals were reversed. On December 4, 2007 (#4112K), the fonts were changed from Helvetica Bold and PT Banana Split to Kingpin and Dom Casual. On October 1, 2010 (#5245K), the colors were changed back to its original scheme. On December 12, 2014 (#6915K), the small prize stands have received another revision; the borders are now silver/grey with decorative arrows added the ARP flap. The numbers have a drop shadow effect. Also, the green bases became silver/grey as well.
- During the playing on February 6, 2012 (#5831K), incorrect information was used to determine the price of the car. After review, contestant Celeste Green was awarded the car as described.
- On January 5, 2017 (#7754K) during Publishers Clearing House week, contestant Thomas Kotlarsz won a $20,000 bonus for being the contestant to win a pricing game. It was played in the fifth slot.
- Pathfinder was played twice on the primetime version of the show. It was won once under Bob Barker's tenure & Drew Carey's tenure for a total of 2 primetime wins.
- The most number of times this game was played in any season was 29.
- Pathfinder was one of four "new" pricing games seen on the sixth taping session of Season 36, which was seen on December 4, 2007 (#4112K), December 12, 2007 (#4123K), January 18, 2008 (#4145K), and January 23, 2008 (#4153K).
- If Pathfinder is to be the Million Dollar Game on The Price is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular, the contestant would need to step to every number that is correct without making a mistake to win the million dollars.
- On the UK's Bruce's Price is Right, the game used a replica of the American board, but much larger. It was played for four-digit cars, and its rules were the same as the American version, except should the contestant make a mistake, the contestant does not choose one of the three prizes, but rather they would go from the first prize to the last.