I use GaiaGPS and Garmin GPS products to plan new routes or trails to follow in a wilderness area for my off road trips using my Can-Am Defender side by side ATV.
I’ll be using GaiaGPS, but other mapping programs like Garmin Basecamp or Garmin Explore will yield similar results a but I find that GaiaGPS is more flexible tool for route planning, map layers and exporting the GPX file directly to my device or to Garmin Explore. Also GaiaGPS offers web & smartphone app versions.
Garmin Explore To Sync Your GPS Devices
I use Garmin Explore to import/export tracks, waypoints & routes from my compatible Garmin GPS devices (GPSMAP 66, Montana 700, Tread), it allows me to access the data either while on the trail or save it as soon as I’m done my ride (via cellular connectivity in the field)
Finding Off Road, ATV trails in GaiaGPS
Depending on the type of riding you want to do, you want to scout out or plan appropriate routes for you to ride. In my situation, I am exploring a new area for me, so I want to be aware of the side by side friendly trails so that I don’t go down more technical trails when I’m riding solo.
Using Premium Map layers to evaluate the type of route you want to plan for
In GaiaGPS this means you can leverage the different may layers or map sources. For my region of Canada, I have a few maps I can refer to. Having looked up maps from local trail groups, I can use a combination of maps including satellite imagery to verify trails. I know that most of these are established trails but maybe these are no longer passible. How can I find out?
If you Save data in GaiaGPS, you have the option to make your track public or private. If you choose public, then other users can enable the PUBLIC TRACKS map overlay which displays all public tracks as green tracks on the map. The more tracks for a trail, the darker the line – showing you which trails are popular as you can see when clicking the line which tracks are public. You can certainly copy these tracks for your planning, but this is a good way to see if anybody has gone down a trail recently.
Creating the Route
Now’s that you have done your planning, you can create a route in GaiaGPS. A route is a path where it doe not contain many points along the line. Unlike a track where it contains multiple points.
You can save a route, name it and now it is ready to be viewed on your smartphone in GaiaGPS or you can export it as a GPX file to other apps or email it.
Exporting the Route as a GPX and Import it into Garmin Explore
Exporting the route as a GPX gives you the ability to save it as a file, email it, copy it onto a micro SD card or import it into other mapping applications like Garmin Basecamp or Garmin Explore.
For this example, I’m importing into Garmin Explore as I use the Garmin Tread for my off-road ATV riding, so it will be easier to get the route onto that device via the Explore Library. I can also access this route on my other compatible Garmin devices that sync to Garmin Explore.