How to Load GPX or TCX files to a Garmin

Loading GPX or TCX files to your Garmin?

New and old Garmin users regularly ask how to get a ride file onto their device. Sportives, our own Club Rides and other events often supply a GPX file, useful to know how far the route is and where to go. But how do you get it on your Device? The instructions that come with a Garmin are not the best so hopefully the guide below will help you getting them on your device.

Here is a guide that will hopefully walk you through installing the file on your device.


1 –  Download the GPX file from the Club/Event website.

Firstly you need to download the file onto your computer. The clubs route files are available on the GPX files page. Either click on the link or Right click on the “download” link under the route and select “Save Link As..”

Note where your computer has saved the file, because you will need to be able to find it later.

2 – Transfer GPX file to Garmin

This is the bit that seems to confuse some people, but it’s easy once you’ve done it a few times. You now have the GPX file on your computer, and just need to move or transfer it over to the Garmin device.

To do this, follow these steps:

Connect the Garmin to the computer with a USB cable.
Check that you can “see” the device and if inserted its memory card. In Windows, double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop. This shows you the various drives in your computer, plus any attached storage devices like your Garmin.


This is what mine looks like with the Garmin connected. The G: drive is clearly labelled Garmin Edge 800. That’s the internal memory of the unit itself. The one labelled “Removable Disk (H:)” is the S D card inside the Garmin. Yours may be assigned a different letter. You can copy your route to either the internal memory OR the SD card.

Double click into either the Garmin’s own internal memory, OR the SD card.

Comp-02You’ll see a folder called Garmin. Double click on this folder, and you will see several other  folders. The one you are interested in is the one called NewFiles (6th folder down on my computer).

Copy or Move your GPX/TCX file into the NewFiles folder.

To do this, just drag and drop the file from your computer to the NewFiles window. Or copy and paste it, whichever is easier and quicker for you.

I know some people can get a bit stuck on this part, and it’s often overlooked. People who write tutorials on the web make certain assumptions that everybody knows how to undertake such tasks as copying files.

This might help –

You should have two windows open – the window with the GPX file that you downloaded, plus the window showing the NewFiles folder on your Garmin.
Try to arrange these windows so that you can see both of them on screen at the same time. You can drag the edges of the windows to re-size them.
Once you can see both, click on the GPX file and hold the mouse button down whilst dragging the file over to the “NewFiles” window. This is called a “drag and drop”, and will copy the file over for you.

Alternatively – find the GPX file you downloaded, and right-click on it (click on it with the right mouse button) and choose “Copy” from the options in the menu that appears.

Right-click inside the “NewFiles” folder and then choose “Paste” from the options. This will also copy the file over for you.

Congratulations, you can now successfully transfer a GPX file to a Garmin! Easy, wasn’t it?

3 – Disconnect and then restart your Garmin

When you restart your Garmin, it processes any valid route files in the NewFiles folder.

If it finds a GPX/TCX file, it will create a course out of it, which will then appear in the Courses menu. Your should find the route named as the name of the route file as it was created originally. Note – renaming the file on your computer will not update the route name.

To access the Courses menu

Tap the Menu button, followed by Courses button.

Garmin - 04

You should then see your GPX course in the list. Tap it to see more info.


This bit is important!

Before you start the course, you need to manually adjust the settings so that the unit will provide Turn by Turn directions for you.

To do this, tap the spanner icon, then choose the Turn Guidance option, and make sure it is switched to ON.


Most people advise to turn the Virtual Partner function OFF.
The course is now ready, and if you press GO it will calculate the route for you.


By the Way, if you like the DTCC background shown on the Garmin above, we can make this available via the website as well!