Using Trail Maps on a Garmin 60Csx

Once you have downloaded your trail map to your GPS take some time to experiment using your the map on your GPS. It is best to get familiar with with it before you head out on the trails. The following procedures and illustrations were done on a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx model GPS. Your specific model of Garmin GPS may operate slightly differently, but you will probably find similar functions on most Garmin handheld models. If you are using an automotive or crossover GPS like the Nuvi 500, our article on Using Snowmobile Trail Maps on a Garmin Nuvi 500 GPS.

Turn on your GPS and press the page button until the map is displayed.

Display the Map

This map is zoomed out to the entire state of NH. Several red green and blue lines representing snowmobile trails can be seen across the states of ME, NH and northern VT. At this level, you can see trails, but it's difficult to distinguish details such as trail numbers, or even secondary roads. The beige triangle indicates your current position and heading.

Use the zoom buttons to zoom in and out on the map. Watch the scale legend on the lower left of the screen to see the zoom level. You can hold down the zoom buttons until the desired zoom level is achieved. You do not have to wait for the map to repaint at each level.

For snowmobile trail riding, you will probably want to be zoomed into about the 5 mile level. That way, you can see the overall context of the trail system and enough detail to determine things like how soon the next intersection can be expected.

Scroll to different places on the map

Use the rocker key to scroll to an area in northern NH where there are an abundance of snowmobile trails. When you scroll, a display is added to the top of the screen to give information about the position of the cursor (arrow). In this example, it is over a snowmobile trail as indicated by the word Primary 127. The elevation, latitude and longitude are also indicated.

Zoom in/out

Zoom in more by pressing the IN button on the GPS 6 times. As you zoom in you will see lines in red, green and dark blue that represent snowmobile trails. With the default color scheme, red lines are corridor trails, green are primary trails, and dark blue are club trails. Circular numbers on top of the trails indicate the trail numbers.

Scroll over a line (trail or road) to identify it

Move your mouse over a line that you think may be a snowmobile trail. Even though you are not zoomed in close enough to see the trail number or names, a pop-up will display the name assigned to the line. In this case, we can recognize this line as a primary trail 126. On our trail maps we use the words Corridor, Primary and Club to identify the type of snowmobile trail. Similarly, if you move your cursor over US Route 26, a pop-up would occur indicating Hwy 26.

Keep in mind that many trails are very close to, or even ON secondary roads. You pointer may be over a road that is actually a snowmobile trail, and indicate road or highway. If you are unsure, zoom in closer and reposition your pointer.

Setup (and modify) Map settings

When the map page is being displayed, press the Menu button. Use the rocker button to scroll down to the Setup Map item and press the Enter button.

Navigating through Map Settings menus

There are several settings in this menu that will affect your map display. These settings have a direct impact on how easy or difficult it is to use your trail maps. These settings affect all maps loaded on your GPS, not just trail maps. Use the rocker to scroll left and right to display different map setting sub-menus. Use up and down on the rocker to select sub-menus (e.g. detail drop-down).

Get used to the content of these menus, because you will probably have to make changes to these settings frequently in the course of using your trail map.

An Orientation setting of North Up probably makes the sense for trail riding. Otherwise, the map will constantly be rotating with every turn that you take, making it difficult stay oriented.

Map Setup General – Increase/Decrease Map Detail

The map detail setting impacts how much detail is displayed, including how precise the lines (trails and roads) are drawn, how text labels look, when waypoints and other items that make up a map are displayed.

Detail setting affect all enabled maps in your GPS. Very high levels of detail may make the map too cluttered to be usable. To low a detail and you may not see important information such as trail numbers. The trails may appear as jagged lines lacking smooth curves. Normal detail setting is usually a good compromise between too much and too little detail.

The zoom level that you typically operate in also impacts this, so you need to experiment a bit to learn what is most comfortable for you.

Map Setup – Points

These map settings determine the zoom levels at which map points, such as waypoints, POI's, and labels along trails and roads will show up on the map.

If you have many user waypoints stored, you may want to increase the zoom level setting so they do not show up until you are zoomed close. Otherwise the map may appear too cluttered. The same is true for street ( and trail) labels. Use the default settings, and then experiment a bit to see what works best for you.

Use AUTO to let the GPS decide what's best until you know that a specific zoom level works better for you.

Map Setup – Text

These settings impact the size of text displayed for several map items. We prefer a setting of Small for all text, but you may want to experiment to find what is most comfortable for you. The trade off seems to always be between too little information and too much (screen clutter).

Map Setup – Map Information

The Map Setup Information page is used to turn on/off individual map segments. Use the rocker to scroll up and down the list of maps. Use the Enter button to check/uncheck a map segment.

Disabling our snowmobile trails map can be useful if you want to de-clutter the screen to navigate highways and roads in your truck after you are done snowmobiling.

Disabling other maps, such as a topographical map can be useful if you want to see trail maps in a less cluttered environment.

The less map information you have enabled, the faster you screen will repaint as you move.


Map Setup – Map Information – Sub Menus

If you hit the menu button while in the Map Setup page, a very useful menu appears that enables you to hide/show entire map sets. This feature is especially useful for products like Topo US 2008 which may contain tens of individual maps for a region like New England. It also allows you to hide the basemap or our trails map.\. BackWoodsGPStrails maps are grouped into a mapset named Backwoods GPS Snowmobile.

In the second image, the TOPO US 2008 has been enabled with our snowmobile trail map.. This provides an very detailed view of snowmobile trails, topography, and increased detail of streams and geographical place names provided by the topographical map.

The last image shows the map with only the basemap and the snowmobile trails map enabled. This less cluttered view is easier to see when you snowmobile is bouncing down the trails.

If you really get your settings all fouled up, you can always try Restore All Map Defaults in an attempt to recover.

Learn how to download trail maps to your GPS using Garmin MapSource.

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