How To Use Your Apple Watch And Gaia GPS For Hiking

In this video, I’ll show you how to use the Gaia GPS Apple Watch app to record a hike or outdoor activity. First thing you’ll need to do is to download the GAIA GPS smartphone app on your iPhone and the watch app should automatically download onto your Apple Watch. If it doesn’t simply go into your watch app on your phone and enable the app.

From the watch, you just need to find your Gaia GPS app and open it. From here you will have three main screen: Music controls, settings & notifications and main controls (Record, Navigate).

This video will focus on recording hikes, and not navigating routes, mainly because it doesn’t seem to work on for me just yet. But the track recording works very well is a good alternative when you don’t have a GPS handy.

The main thing to note while recording your track, is that the Gaia GPS needs to be the top app, meaning that you can’t switch apps on your phone this will pause the recording until you switch to Gaia GPS. The best way around this is to lock the app so Gaia GPS is locked on your watch face.

Previous versions of this watch app would. Mirror the smartphone app, meaning that the recording was done on the phone, not on the watch. The version used in October 2021 uses the GPS data from the watch leaving you to use the Gaia GPS app on your phone to lookup maps, create routes and other things.

Once you are done recording your hike the Apple Watch will transfer the track data to your phone pretty much within a few seconds. You can then review the track under the saved tab and edit accordingly.


How To Export Gaia GPS Tracks to Garmin

In this video, I’ll show you how you can export a track saved in Gaia GPS and import it to Garmin Connect or Garmin Explore. Here I’m using iOS so this will work on iPhone and IPad, but will also work in Android and on your desktop. Here I’ve recorded a hike using the Gaia GPS Apple Watch app and have it saved in Gaia GPS along with a few photos.

During this hike, I couldn’t use my Garmin device (batteries were dead) but I want to add this hike into my Garmin Connect history or Garmin Explore library for future use. From Gaia GPS, I should be take to export the track as a GPX file and then import it to either Garmin Connect or Garmin Explore.

Step By Step

  • Go to your SAVED section in Gaia GPS and select a track, route or waypoint you want to export. Click on MORE and EXPORT, select GPX.
  • (Garmin Connect) SAVE your GPX as a FILE.
  • (Garmin Explore) If you have Garmin Explore app installed on your device, you should see the EXPLORE ICON in the share pop-up window and SELECT.
  • (Garmin Connect) log into Garmin Connect via the desktop and click on the Import Data icon
  • (Garmin Explore) the GPX file will be automatically imported into the Garmin Explore Library as a new collection, ready to be sync to a Garmin Device.
  • (Garmin Connect) BROWSE and upload the GPX file you just saved and upload.
  • (Garmin Connect) Once the GPX file has been imported, edit the activity and upload photos as needed.

More Gaia GPS Tutorials Here

Check out my playlist on other topics related to Gaia GPS and Garmin Devices.

Hiking Outdoors

Thomas’ Cove Coastal Preserve

(Originally posted june 9 2012) We hiked 8k within this coastal preserve, just before you reach Five Islands, Nova Scotia. You have two loop to choose from: Headlands & Economy.


Planning An Urban Hike With Gaia GPS

A great smartphone app for outdoor recreation is Gaia GPS, I tend to use it to record my hiking activities around the urban core or use the downloaded maps when in the backcountry. In this video, I’ll show you some use cases where you can use Gaia GPS with your smartphone while out hiking.

Gaia GPS offers a basic & premium user model. The cost of premium per year is fairly cheap (as of 2020) and after several months of usage (especially living in Canada), premium is well worth it to be able to have access to so many map layers.

0:00 Intro

I still would recommend you taking a dedicated GPS device with you when in the backcountry and have some basic map navigation skills as battery management of your smartphone might be more important if you get into trouble while on the trail.

Scenario 1 – Route planning.

Let’s say that I want to do a hike for a set distance but not sure of my route if I have options, etc.. Using Gaia GPS I can create a Route and mark it out. I can set a starting point, like a parking lot which could be used when going off track and you want to navigate directly back your start.

Scenario 2- Track Recording.

You can record your hike, just like a GPS with Gaia GPS by tapping on the record button to record the track. You can add photos along the way or waypoints. This is a great way to add field data along the route.

Scenario 3- Navigate to a location.

With certain map layers, you can tap areas on a map like trails to get more information or to guide (navigate) yourself to it. This would be the same as with GPS waypoint navigation.

Scenario 4 – Map layers.

Gaia GPS offers dozen of map layers (based on your region) that you can toggle on or off. You have basic map layers or premium map layers. Certain image based map layers can have a transparency to it if you prefer a base layer underneath.

Scenario 5 – Offline Maps.

Another powerful feature of Gaia GPS is being able to download offline maps. Perfect for situations when you are in no service areas. You can select from you map layers which ones you want to download offline or the tiles necessary for a track.

Scenario 6 – Sharing Your Hike.

Once you have your hike done, you can categorize, file and document your hike on the Gaia GPS web site where all Gaia users can view it or you can share your hike with friends or just for yourself. This is a great feature for those who nice Garmin Adventures. In other videos I’ve shown you how you can import GPX tracks from Garmin GPS into Gaia GPS.


30 Minute Hike – Rogers Brook & Grafton Woods – Kejimkujik Nova Scotia

I hike along two trails within Kejimkujik National Park in the fall – my favourite time of the year to come and explore.

Today we do the short Rogers Brook trail. This is a nice relaxing walk along the Mersey river and the wetlands before the jakes landing.

The other trail is just beyond the turn of from the canteen at Grafton Woods. A great example of evergreen forest and evidence of what happens when humans dam up a waterway and sacrifice trees for fishing (didn’t quite work out).


30 Minute Hike – Coastal Hike Along Clam Harbour – Nova Scotia

It’s November and no better time to hit the beach and hike along rugged Atlantic Ocean coastline in Clam Harbour Provincial Park. Park up to the gate (if it’s closed) and simply walk in as parking lots are not maintained in the winter but the road up to the gate are maintained.

Start by walking along the beach towards the rocks, you will see trailhead signs which will guide you along the way. Best time to hike this is during low tide when you can easily walk the firm beach sand and jump onto the trail up to a certain point.

You can hike along the point and return to the first trailhead. The trail is beach, cobble rocks and dirt. Appropriate footwear and good balance is needed for portions of the trail. Expect to clock around 10k after exploring everything. Off season is my preferred time as you might encounter the local hardcore dog walkers. Otherwise great spot to hang out. Or come by during the summer when they have their famous sand castle festival

novascotia #canada #hiking

Light Awash by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.




Clothing Layers For The Outdoors

No matter the season, you will be packing clothing that can be layered on so that you can stay warm, cool or dry.

The exact contents will vary from region to region, so this post will focus on the items you might pack for New England or the Canadian Maritimes.

It’s All About The Layers

Typically you will be dealing with three (3) layers where given the season and region you might be adding or removing layers.

  • Base Layer
  • Mid Layer
  • Outer Layer

Base Layer a.k.a. Spider-Man Layer

The purpose of the base layer is quite simple; wick away moister off your skin. Getting that dampness off your skin will reduce the chills or skin irritation. I call this the spider-man layer because traditionally it is a form fitting layer and since I call it the Spider-Man layer, well you get the idea how tight it should be. But let’s not kid ourselves, this layer for most is a t-shirt.

A good example of this can be found be a number of brands and I prefer a long sleeved base layer or compression shirt from Nike and base layer pants from Smartwool for bottoms during colder months.

Mid Layer a.k.a Insulation Layer

This layer varies a lot mainly on thickness and your personal preference. The purpose of this is to give you a bit of insulation protection. This layer is not meant to protect you from the wind or rain but you may find some clothing choices that may include some panels in strategic areas like chest or shoulders.

I tend to gravitate towards wool products instead of synthetics because of my personal preference as they tend to be more breathable and when they get wet, they still retain much of their insulating properties.

The Skar Hoody from Kuhl is a good example of a light mid-layer where you can use it for camping on those cool nights or on winter hikes.

For something a little more heavier, the Interceptr Hoody from Kuhl is also a goos example of being warm enough to use on its own or underneath the last layer.

Outer Layer a.k.a. Ziplock Layer

This layer is pretty simple; it’s the one that will keep you warm or dry. This layer is usually a jacket and pants you put over the other layers. As with a ziplock bag, you wrap yourself in this layer but based on your preferences, you may prefer material to be breathable or not.

If you are standing still working along a roadside or watching a game in the pouring rain in October, you probably want something pretty water tight. But if you were hiking or working up a sweat you may want something that can let out via evaporation the moisture from the inside.

Thanks to Kuhl for providing support to produce this post. All opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.Thanks


Hiking The Flume Gorge At Franconia Notch State Park

On my latest road trip with “the boys”, it lead us along New Hampshire I-93 for Lincoln. Along the scenic drive we entered Franconia Notch State Park and noticed all the road signs for the attractions. I didn’t have anything planned, rather we were heading for Lincoln Woods trails. A last minute decision to take the off-ramp for Route 3 for the Flume Gorge turned out to be a great decision.

Getting There Early

As you can imagine, this area of the White Mountains in October can be quite busy. We arrived at the Flume visitor center to an empty parking lot before 9am. Once we were done the hike, the lot was full. The visitor center had lots of local history of the area along with the usual rest rooms & gift shop.

Crossing the covered bridge at the flume gorge for a moderate uphill 😏 #hiking #newhampshire

A post shared by Jim Cyr (@thecyr) on


Buying Tickets and The Flow

It is 16$ per adult to enter the flume gorge. The ticket booth is your entrance and exit point as crowds are directed through the doors. Once you reach the outdoors again, you can start the hike by going uphill along your left. You might see the small tour bus on the right. Pets are not allowed.


Moderate Uphill and Slow Climb

The posted 2 mile loop trail up to the flume is moderate uphill that’s bound to get the heart rate going. But don’t worry, once you pass the table rock it slowly levels to an easy climb a short distance later once the stairs start to Avalanche Falls. There are plenty of stops along the way to learn about the ecosystem to catch your breath.

Crossing the covered bridge and past the old lodge (I’ll call it a lodge). The gorge portion is absolutely fantastic as you walk along the stairs in between this 800 foot gorge 70-90 foot tall walls which narrows between 12-20 feet.

Great morning of #hiking nice start of the day with Flume Gorge #trail

A post shared by Jim Cyr (@thecyr) on


Downhill To The Gorge

Once you reach the top of the Flume, you can take the quick way back to the covered bridge or loop around Liberty Gorge where you can spot a few lookouts of the notch and Mount Liberty where the Appalachian Trail hikers need to pass.

The trail up to this point is wide and well worn, but I’d still would wear good shoes with traction such as trail running shows, or light hikers. Most of the uphill is now past us.


Liberty Gorge, Sentinel Pine Bridge and The Pool

The next money shot is Liberty Gorge, a tight hairpin turn overlooking a 100 foot drop water fall. Take the side trail after the bridge to get a better view. Did I mention the rain shelters along the way? These are three sided shelters with benches, accommodating about 8-10 people.

Almost next to this great sight is the first sight of Sentinel Pine Bridge and the Pool. When framed within the fall colors, an absolutely amazing view. Take time at the two lookouts to admire the pool and the pine bridge before taking a walk along the bridge itself. For the adventurous bunch, try the Wolf’s Den which is a narrow trench in between a few boulders. Expect to get your hands and knees dirty.

The last bit of the trail will take us past glacial boulders which reminds me a lot of the hiking trails at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia where you’d be running into these enormous boulders in the middle of the woods.

Great views around "the pool"

A post shared by Jim Cyr (@thecyr) on


Wrapping Up

As promised, our final track file was 3.4km after a leisurely 90min tour. As mentioned at the start, we got in just in time to beat out the many tour & school buses, it got busy pretty quick! When exiting, we noticed a tour bike shuttle station next to the pay phone, I’ll have to look this up as the recreational trail passes nearby. If you know more about it, leave your comments!


Hit The Trails This Weekend

What better way to celebrate Canada’s 150 Birthday, than to get outside and experience its vast, beautiful, and unique landscapes. From coast to coast Canada’s awe-inspiring trails offers escapes for day hikes to multi-day wilderness adventures.


Whether you are a newly inspired beginner hiker or you’re a seasoned trekker, these are some great essentials for hitting the trail.


Icebreaker Women’s Sphere

For her, pair the light, versatile, breathable merino wool Icebreaker Women’s Sphere Low Crewe T-Shirt with Columbia Women’s Back Beauty Long Sport Shorts for ultimate comfort. Finish the outfit off with the North Face Women’s Ultra Mid Day Hiking Boots great for any weather and terrain.


As he navigates the great outdoors the moisture-wicking Canada red North Face Men’s Longline Short Sleeve Crew T-shirt  and Arcteryx Men’s Lefroy Shortswill keep him warm and dry. Attack the rugged trails in the Scarpa Men’s R-Evolution Hiking Boots that offer optimal traction and protection.



Osprey Stratos 34L Day Pack

Hiking can be tough work! That is why having the right gear is so important to get your prepared for the challenging treks.  The Black Diamond Trail Back trekking poles offer reliable stability and easy adjustment to suit any terrain.  Venturing into the backcountry? Have peace of mind in the palm of your hand with the Garmin inReach SE + Satellite Communicater with GPS. Pack smart with the Osprey Stratos 34L Day Pack that is supremely ventilated, durable, organized, and features an integrated rain cover to keep your gear protected.