How To Import GPX To Google Maps (And Export Google Maps To GPX)

Photo of author
Written by
reviewed by Rory McAllister
Last Updated:

Google Maps is a fantastic tool for cyclists.

In my career as an ultra-endurance cyclist, I’ve used Google Maps extensively to plan the quickest and most efficient route from A to B on roads and trails that are appropriate for cycling, saving me valuable time and energy along the way.

However, in order to make full use of these features for cyclists, it’s essential to understand how to export or import GPX to Google Maps.

GPX files are used to store GPS data including routes and waypoints, and can be shared with devices such as bike computers to show directions and other essential data about your route while you ride, or to analyze your route afterward.

In this article, we’ll be covering:

  • Why Import or Export GPX Routes From Google Maps?
  • How To Import GPX To Google Maps
  • How To Export Google Maps to GPX

Let’s dive in!

How To Import GPX To Google Maps (And Export Google Maps To GPX): Title Image

Why Import And Export GPX Routes From Google Maps?

Importing and exporting GPX routes is a great skill to learn for Google Maps. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Route Sharing: Google Maps is an easy way to send shared routes between friends.
  • Exporting Maps To Bike Computers: After exporting, you can use them for navigation on cycle computers.
  • Backup Files: Great as a backup file if something goes wrong with your navigation device and it needs replacing.
  • Analysis: After planning routes, you can export GPX files to investigate the terrain on applications such as Komoot.

How To Import GPX To Google Maps

Step #1. Sign In To Your Google Account

Annotated screenshot showing how to sign into a Google account.

First, sign in (or register) to your Google account. Open your browser, head to Google’s homepage, and sign in with your details by clicking the profile icon in the top right corner.

If you don’t have an account, registering takes around 10 minutes. A Google account is required to save routes in Google Maps. 

Step #2. Go To Your Saved Maps

Now, open Google Maps.

How To Import GPX To Google Maps (And Export Google Maps To GPX) 1

In the search bar at the top left of the screen, click the three lines to open the menu, then click on “Saved”. A new menu will appear showing your saved routes (if you have any).

Annotated screenshot showing how to access saved maps in Google Maps.

Across the top of this panel, you will have four options: “Lists”, “Labelled”, “Visited”, and “Maps”. Click on “Maps”.

Annotated screenshot showing how to access saved maps in Google Maps.

At the bottom of this panel, you will see a small button that says “Create a Map”. Click here, and a new tab will open in your browser. This is a custom map. 

Annotated screenshot showing how to create a new custom maps in Google Maps.

Step #3. Import The GPX File

Next, we are going to get that GPX file uploaded.

On the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll see that you have one “Layer” in place automatically.

Annotated screenshot showing how to import GPX to Google Maps.

Under the layer title, you’ll find an import button.

Click the button, which will open a file explorer. Find the GPX file you want to upload and then click “Import”. This will import your GPX file to Google Maps.

Annotated screenshot showing the file explorer within Google Maps.

In my experience, I have occasionally found that the upload function sometimes doesn’t work properly and displays an error message when importing GPX files directly.

If this happens, I’d recommend uploading the GPX file to your Google Drive first. Then, in the file explorer you have open in Google Maps, click on the “Google Drive” tab instead of “Upload”, and select your GPX file from there.

You can add multiple routes if required.

Step #4. Rename And Save

Annotated screenshot showing how to rename and save a GPX file in Google Maps.

Before you finish, rename and save the map.

Click where it says “Untitled Map”, then enter the route’s name and add a short description if you wish.

Hit “Save”. Your route is now saved on your Google account and can be accessed or downloaded on your devices.

Now you know how to import GPX to Google Maps!

How To Export Google Maps to GPX

Google Maps is an excellent place to plan a route, but many cyclists encounter difficulties in making Google Maps export to GPX.

The export process is actually much simpler than you might think with Google Maps – check out our step-by-step guide below!

Step #1. Load Google Maps

Annotated screenshot showing Google Maps in a desktop browser.

First, open Google Maps.

Unlike importing GPX to Google Maps, you won’t need to sign into a Google account to export Google Maps to GPX.

Step #2. Create Your Route

Annotated screenshot showing how to create a custom cycling route in Google Maps.

Next, create your route.

Ensure that you are on the bicycle tab so the route planner automatically avoids major highways. We recommend trying to remain below 300 miles for a single route, as some devices struggle with very large GPX files.

Step #3. Export Google Maps To GPX

Annotated screenshot showing how to copy the URL of a Google Maps route.

Next, it’s time to convert the map to a GPX file.

Google doesn’t currently offer a direct export to a GPX file within the app, but other websites do. Open a new tab, and head to a website such as Maps To GPX, which is free to use.

Return to the Google Maps desktop page with your route open, take the link from the address bar, and paste it into the entry box to create a map on Maps To GPX. It will then let you download the map as a GPX file to guide you on your travels.

Annotated screenshot showing how to use "Maps to GPX" to export a GPX file from Google Maps.

If you are using an application on a smart device, you won’t have the address bar, so you will need to click the button with three little dots in the top right-hand corner (next to the locations) and select share.

Here, you can take the address and paste it into Maps To GPX.

Step #4. Send To Device

Now you have the option to send it to your device, such as a Garmin cycle computer or a Wahoo computer.

You can even send it across to an application like Komoot to analyze it more closely.

Now you know the Google Maps to GPX export process!

Photo of author
Robbie has traveled the globe as an endurance athlete and bikepacker, breaking world records and competing in international ultra-cycling events such as the BikingMan series and the Transcontinental Race. He's also worked as an ambassador for some of the industry's leading names, including Shimano and Ritchey. If Robbie's not on a bike, he's either fixing them or out walking with his dog!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.