Data Structures & Algorithms in Java – Linked Lists- Linked List Cycle


Given a linked list and the head node of the linked list find if there is a loop / cycle in the linked list, that is if the tail node points back to any of the previous nodes.

For example:

The below linked list has a cycle:


Output is true for the above linked list.

Try out the solution here:




  • Have two pointers , a slow pointer moving one node at a time and a fast pointer moving two nodes at a time. If they meet each other there is a cycle.


STEP 1: Initialize two pointers , slow and fast pointing to the head

STEP 2: While the pointers are not null , increment slow pointer by one node and fast pointer by two nodes.

STEP 2a: If the pointers meet return true

STEP 3: Return false


 * Definition for singly-linked list.
 * class ListNode {
 *     int val;
 *     ListNode next;
 *     ListNode(int x) {
 *         val = x;
 *         next = null;
 *     }
 * }
public class Solution {
    public boolean hasCycle(ListNode head) {
        ListNode slow = head;
        ListNode fast = head;
        while(fast!=null && != null ){
         slow =;
         fast =;

            if(slow == fast) return true;
        return false;

Time complexity is O(n) where n is the number of nodes.

There is no extra space required apart from storing the slow and fast pointers.

That’s it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s