Can I Use Garmin Edge 520 For Hiking? (Must Know This)

Can I Use Garmin Edge 520 For Hiking

You can have fun during your outside workouts in a variety of ways. While some people prefer to walk, others prefer swimming or hiking. 

No hiker nowadays wants to set off without a GPS computer. However, so many types are available, and there is no way of knowing which would perform best for you. 

Understandably, you might be unsure about which one to purchase. One such GPS computer is the Garmin Edge 520. Can it be used for hiking, though?

You can use a Garmin Edge 520 for hiking. However, even if the map tracking is precise, the distance you travel and the distance it registers won’t be correct. Additionally, even with auto-pause disabled, it struggles to record low-speed movement and automatically filters GPS drifts at low speeds.

This article will provide everything you need to know about the Garmin Edge 520 and the service it provides you when hiking.

Is Garmin Edge 520 Good For Hiking?

Can I Use Garmin Edge 520 For Hiking

The Garmin Edge 520 is only useful for hiking when you need to pinpoint your exact location on a map. 

However, they have several restrictions for hiking that make it inappropriate to measure and keep track of the distance you have traveled.

Since it is only for cycling, it cannot accommodate the unpredictable arm-drift movements that occur when hiking at low speeds. 

It struggles to determine the distance traveled and lacks a hiking-specific profile.

Numerous people discovered that utilizing the Garmin Edge without tampering with the settings results in a 25% drop in the distance measured.

You will see that it only records roughly half the points when you contrast the number of scores collected using the Garmin Edge 520 with a specialized hiking GPS device. 

The distance when walking is wrong primarily due to this. Compared to features required for hiking, features for cycling differ when calculating distance. 

Garmin did not add these functions, and its models only use smart intervals, a dynamic range calculated by the Garmin software, to capture data.

Does Garmin Edge 520 Offer Turn-by-Turn Navigation?

The Edge 520 does not offer turn-by-turn navigation even though it is equipped well with Garmin Cycle Map. 

It does not also offer navigation notifications that let you know when you approach a turn. 

It can, however, direct you back towards the route or even to the beginning if you go off track or opt to return home earlier.

It only uses the layout of the course rather than a routable map. That is where the prompts like “Head Northwest” come from when giving directions.  

Since it doesn’t work, it is best to turn it off. You can turn guidance off by going to Training -> Courses -> Course Options.

The application, of course, turns on by default. You should have received the same prompts as the 500 if you hadn’t switched that off. 

The “Crs Pt Dist” data section displays the turn icon and the distance to the next course point.

Does Garmin Edge 520 Provide Maps?

Yes, it does. Although, the base map on the Garmin Edge 520 is thinly distributed and not particularly accurate. 

However, Garmin also allows you to download and install detailed maps on the device. 

A few maps come from the community and have their extractions from this website. Despite being third-party apps, they function fairly well.

These maps are also available on the Garmin Edge 1000 and Edge touring devices. On edge 520, there are approximately 54 megabytes of free space. 

It implies that while you can use it on your typical hiking region, you cannot download a huge map area.

You may use the website to calculate the space required to install the map region. In a day or two, you may fill that space, format it the way you want, and reload it.

It’s crucial to remember that the device does not provide routable directives. It indicates that there is no directional cue to move.

The maps were, however, improved in the subsequent Garmin Edge 520 plus. Maps and navigation are where the two systems differ most. 

The Garmin Edge 520 Plus offers the best value with the most recent improvements. 

Even though the Garmin Edge 520 has excellent data and Training features, you might want to invest in the Plus model for the upgraded navigation system.

Here are some noticeable differences between both versions;

Garmin Edge 520Garmin Edge 520 Plus
It is more expensive.It is less expensive.
It weighs lower.It has a higher weight.
It can store 180 hours of history.It can store 200 hours of history.
It does not have turn-by-turn navigation.It includes turn-by-turn navigation.

Is Garmin Edge 520 Good For Running and Walking?

The Edge 520 computers offer riders a full range of functionality focused on cycling training. It is, therefore, not advised for uses other than riding.

Since arm swing filtering is not present in the device’s firmware, expect to observe speed and distance inconsistencies if you use the Edge for walking or running.

You could use it for walking or running. But the 520 doesn’t undertake the smoothing required for walking or running, so the pace plot might not be as appealing. 

Since running takes much longer than riding, the 520 will gather much data that it won’t attempt to analyze or change. 

With the most recent version of Strava Live Segments included with the Edge 520 Plus, you can access even more competition and segments when running. 

You may start your favorite Strava segments, and while running, you’ll get a warning when a section is about to start. 

Then, you will race against actual speeds, not just an average, and obtain second-by-second, real-time assessments of your performance versus your most pertinent rival. 

You can wirelessly synchronize starred routes to the Edge 520 Plus, which comes pre-loaded with the Strava Routes Connect IQ software. 

It allows you to navigate and compete on your favorite Strava segments simultaneously.

Running watches include numerous adjustments for arm swing, vertical oscillation, and all the other peculiarities absent from a conventional smooth ride.


#1. Does Garmin Provide GPS Computers For Hiking?

The best hiking watch available is the Garmin Fenix 6 series, which is continuously updated.

The watch has everything, from preset base maps to the choice of a solar-charging screen.

#2. How Long Should the Battery on a Garmin Edge 520 Last?

According to the Garmin edge buying guide, all models’ batteries can last up to 15 hours. 

However, the 520’s battery usually runs out after around 4.5 hours of navigation.

Can You Get a Waterproof Garmin Edge 520?

The Edge 520 Plus has IPX7 standards for water resistance. Splashes of water and accidental immersion in water up to one meter for up to 30 minutes do not pose a problem for the device.


In conclusion, the Garmin Edge 520 is solely for cycling, and even if you can use it for hiking, it won’t determine the distance you’ve walked precisely. 

Also, remember that these gadgets cannot monitor elevation changes while hiking. However, if you want to use the Garmin Edge 520 just for the maps, you can.

Josh Matthews

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