The ParABS system is essential for prokaryotic chromosome segregation. After loading at parS on the genome, ParB (partition protein B) proteins rapidly redistribute to distances of ~15 kilobases from the loading site. It has remained puzzling how this large-distance spreading can occur along DNA loaded with hundreds of proteins. Using in vitro single-molecule fluorescence imaging, we show that ParB from Bacillus subtilis can load onto DNA distantly of parS, as loaded ParB molecules themselves are found to be able to recruit additional ParB proteins from bulk. Notably, this recruitment can occur in cis but also in trans, where, at low tensions within the DNA, newly recruited ParB can bypass roadblocks as it gets loaded to spatially proximal but genomically distant DNA regions. The data are supported by molecular dynamics simulations, which show that cooperative ParB-ParB recruitment can enhance spreading. ParS-independent recruitment explains how ParB can cover substantial genomic distance during chromosome segregation, which is vital for the bacterial cell cycle.