How to import routes to Garmin Fenix 5 and 3

Garmin Fenix 5 and 3 – loading routes for Navigation

The process is very simple, but it does require the cable connection (which is a shame, but you need it for charging your device before going on a long adventure anyway):

What you will need

  • PC or MAC
  • A GPX file that has already been prepared (I won’t cover this in this article)
  • The Fenix 3 or Fenix 3 HR
  • The Fenix docking/charging cable
  • 15 minutes of time

Watch this video for detailed instructions



  1. Connect your device and wait until it shows up as a mounted device on your computer. On my Mac, it shows up as a “Garmin” drive.
  2. Navigate to that device, and open the top folder. Within that folder, there will be a “New Files” folder. It seems that sometimes this folder is hidden. If it is, search the Web for how to display hidden folders in the way that best suits your needs.
  3. The “New Files” folder should be empty. You can now drag any GPX files in here that you want to use on your device.
  4. Unmount the device by ejecting the “Garmin” drive, and wait until the device has been properly ejected.

The device should now read the files and turn them into internal courses (and they will have disappeared from the “New Files” folder the next time you connect the device). On the fēnix 3, you can now go to “Settings”, “Navigation”, and “Courses”, and should see all uploaded courses listed there. For each course, you now have a variety of options, including showing a “Map” (to verify that everything is there), and to “Do Course”. If you decide to do the course, the fēnix 3 will ask you to start an activity and you can then follow the map and use it for guidance.

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For detailed information on how to use all course navigation features, please refer to the manual, and also make sure that you have the navigation pages set up in the way you find them most useful. There are plenty of options, but personally, I am content to just see the map, and get off course warnings when I start getting off the course track.

This is how managing and using courses can become much more useful and open with the fēnix 3. It is sad that getting out of Garmin’s closed world often is such a struggle, but at the very least it can be done somehow.

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Garmin Fenix 3 navigation feature
Garmin Fenix 3 navigation feature with loose hill in the background


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Jon Ratcliffe
I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years in a variety of roles. I cover Wearables, tech and smart home. My reviews and information will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.

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