Getting turn notifications on your Garmin Instinct courses

It turns out the Garmin Instinct supports notifying you that a turn in your course is coming up. Like this:

It took considerable fiddling to work out how to make this happen consistently and Garmin doesn’t provide any instructions, so I figured I’d explain here.

TLDR: Use a 3rd party service to create the course, export it as a TCX file and then import into Garmin Connect.

If you create the course with Garmin Connect, these turn notifications don’t show up. Instead, you need to create the course in another service and then export it as a TCX file. If you don’t want the notifications (they can be annoying on trails with lots of switchbacks, or if you already know the area well), then use a GPX file instead.

Here are examples of exporting a TCX file from Strava (free version), AllTrails (paid version), and RideWithGPS (paid version)

The final steps are to import it to Garmin Connect. You can either do this by opening the TCX file on your phone and selecting the app, or by importing it in the web version.

Finally, to actually get it onto your watch you need to select the course in the app and choose “Send to Device”

It’s a bit of a confusing process to learn, but having these turn directions is really useful when running or biking in a new location. One thing I haven’t worked out is if there is any way to silence these notifications from your watch. Sometimes if the trail is windy they can get annoying. Let me know if you’ve got an answer to that!


Trail Runs in New Zealand’s South Island

A brain dump (in a routhly north to south order)

Anything and everything on the Abel Tasman Track. North of Totaranui tends to be less crowded and so an especially good choice. Water Taxis can provide transport if needed.

Nydia Track

From the Cobb Valley road – up the up the Lake Peel track, along the ridge track and back down to the road

Lake Rotoiti Circuit (23km)

Charming Creek Walkway (9.5km oneway)

Avalanche Peak – a good loop option from the village is to run up the Mt Bealey Track, scramble over Mt Bealey, Lyell Peak and Avalanche Peak and descend via Scotts Track.

Hooker Valley – go early to avoid crowds of tourists in the summer

Up South Temple Valley to the hut

Upper Clutha tracks (eg. Alexandra to Clyde)

Up the Dart River from Chinamans Bluff carpark (or the full Rees-Dart if you’re really keen)

Routeburn Track (and any of the other great walks in the region)