The present invention is a system and method for routing cells in a wireless communications network, wherein the communications network includes a plurality of switching nodes and the cells are routed according to destination-rooted virtual path identifier (VPI) trees. The present invention includes a routing protocol for determining preestablished VPI trees rooted at each destination node. The routing protocol manages the routes of these trees, while ensuring that there are at least two VPI trees from each source to each destination for reliability reasons, and that each destination node has multiple VPI trees for load-balancing reasons. The routing protocol includes an off-line procedure for the determination of the initial VPI trees. In order to handle changes in network traffic and conditions, the routing protocol updates the routes of the VPI trees in a dynamic and distributed fashion. These update procedures are triggered by congestion, link/node failures and link/node additions.