Cycle through the abandoned train tracks and bridges of the outside of Seoul.

Wake up! It’s time to hit the road.

Today we’ll travel from the outskirts of Seoul, along an abandoned train route, tunnels and all, to the final resting place of King Sejong.

First, let’s say goodbye to Hanam. First, we’ll cross over a tall bridge onto the northern banks of the Han River (한강).

As we roll along the river, we’ll climb up the embankment. Don’t forget to stop and gaze this valley of hills. On a sunny day, the clouds smear shadows over their green slopes.

And, look! Over the horizon something this way comes.

Paldang Dam

A photo of the Paldang Dam along the bike path in outside of Hanam.
The Paldang Dam marks the end of the Han River (한강) and the beginning of the South Han River (남한강).

The Paldang Dam (팔당댐) is the first of many dams and weirs you’ll stumble upon along the Four River’s Bicycle Route.

The dam also marks the end of the Han River (한강). Once you pass the retaining wall, you’ll arrive at the intersection of two rivers. The aptly named … North (북한강) and South Han River (남한강).

Stop at the foot of the dam and admire the power of rushing waters.

Ghost Tracks

The fun starts just passed Paldang Dam.

If you haven’t noticed yet, you’ve been riding on a decommissioned railroad route since you crossed to the north side of the river. The railroads have been removed and replaced with bike path.

The Bongan Tunnel (봉안터널) is your first real taste. Dip inside the arching tunnels and feel the cool air under the hillside.

The Wonbok Tunnel (원복터널) is one of the longest tunnels along the bike route. If they’re turned on, the color changing LED’s will light up their walls.

We emerge from the tunnel on a thin strip of land between the river and an estuary. Check out the reverse view of Paldang Dam.

The bicycle path flows into a peninsula above where the rivers meet. Old railroad tracks bisect the path.

Neungnae Station

A view of Neungnae Station. Bikers rest at the local shops.
Neungnae Station, a converted train station, is a biker’s paradise. Stop for some noodles and a chat with fellow cyclists.

In the middle of the peninsula, you’ll stumble upon a cyclist oasis: Neungnae Station (능내역 (폐역)). Restaurants and a mini-museum took over this closed down train station.

Stop for some noodles and a few pictures. You’ll find plenty of fellow bikers to chat with. Oh! And don’t forget to stamp your passport!

Trees accompany the path as you wind up the peninsula. When the river reveals itself again, you get a better angle of where the North and South Han Rivers meet.

Not only does the river split here, so does the bike path. If we follow the North Han, we’ll end up in Chuncheon (춘천).

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Chuncheon Path

The start of the Chuncheon Path begins at the Balgeun Gwangjang stamp booth. Though it’s not apart of the cross-country bike path, go ahead and grab the stamp. You’re already here!

Balgeun Gwangjang*

Map — Page 15, 17

The path up to Chuncheon (a.k.a. Romantic City) is filled with rolling waters and gorgeous hillsides. But, let’s stay on track and avoid any one-hundred-plus kilometer detours.

Bukhangang Railroad Bridge

The cross-country bicycle path bends over the North Han river. Here you’ll find the best photo op of the day: Bukhangang Railroad Bridge (북한강 철교).

Winter or summer, the rusty iron trusses of the Bukhangang Railroad Bridge (북한강 철교) brings the best photo op of the Yeoju bicycle path.

Don’t worry! The rusty trusses are just for show. The civil engineers thought to reinforced the bridge from below.

If you have time, you can hop off the path and check out the Yangpyeong Dumulmeori Island (양평 두물머리). You’ll find weeping willows, temples, and Semiwon (세미원), a botanical garden.

Tunnel Hopping

Let’s jump back on the mainland and get down to business.

Cyclists ride along the bike path just outside of Hanam. A train tunnel and a bike tunnel dig into the hillside.
The bike path follows a decommissioned railroad route. The newer train tracks and tunnel will run parallel with you.

The old railway clings along the hillsides above the river. It pops through the Buyong Tunnels (부용터널; 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ), a series of short tunnels punching under tree clad hills.

A railway line, high, and a few small towns crowd this corridor crowd. You’ll often cross busy intersections and dip into functioning train stations. Take it slow and obey the traffic lights.

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Real Train Stations

The Yeoju Bike Path follows a real railway line, too. If you’re looking for a place to hop on and off, take the Gyeogui-Jungang Line to these stations.

Ungilsan (운길산) Yangsu (양수) Sinwon (신원) Guksu (국수) Asin (아신) Obin (오빈) Yangpyeong (양평)

Just passed Guksu Station (국수), you’ll sail into the Wonbok Tunnel (원복터널). If you’re lucky, they’ll have turned on the color-shifting LED lights.

Now, we’re getting closer to the Yangpyeong (양평), the town that marks the midpoint.

Before you break for lunch, check out the Asin Gallery (아신갤러리). Just under a mass over highway overpasses, you’ll find sculptures on the old train tracks. Local art lines the walls inside a converted train car.

Yangpyeong (양평)

As you enter the city, don’t miss the Yangpyeong Museum of Art. Exhibits that brim into the courtyard. But, for our purposes, visit the passport checkpoint! It’s in the parking lot around back.

If you venture into town for lunch, you’ll find lots of restaurants along Yeonggeuncheon Stream (양근천). It flows through the middle of town.

The bike path continues along the South Han River. This long stretch of tree-lined path will give you a taste of the country to come.

Watch out! The bike path is also a popular park. Citizens escape here for peaceful, countryside strolls.

By the time you reach Hyun Deok Bridge (현덕교), the South Han has grown some marshy stubble.

The path veers inland for a little bit of hill-climbing fun. Our first real hill rises 70 meters to a 108 meter peak. Be careful! You’ll share the road with cars.

Catch your breath on the way down. You’ll curl around the oversized Gaegun Leports Park (개군레포츠공원) and pass by the little town (개군) that accompanies it.

Ipo-bo (이포보)

A little further down the road, you’ll have your second extraterrestrial experience.

A photo of Ipobo Dam. Light from the egg-like orbs reflect off the waters of the South Han River.
At night, the orbs topping the Ipo-bo dam reflect off the waters of the South Han River. The unique design reflects the history and culture of Yeoju.
Roll passed the giant orbs atop Ipo-bo. Slurpees await at the 7-Eleven on the other side.

The seven orbs atop the Ipo-bo weir symbolize eggs on the wings of an egret, the bird of Yeoju. This is the first of a series of weirs that reflect the culture of the area.

On one end of the weir you can find a library and viewing point. On the other end, a 7-Eleven.

Fellow cyclists and campers stroll up and down the weir taking selfies. You can cross over to explore. However, the main bike path continues on the east side, from whence you came.

Ipo-bo

Map — Page 15

Can’t find the local stamp booth? Pop inside the 7-Eleven. Show your bike passport and make a stamp motion. They’ll have the certification stamp behind the counter, near the Slurpee machine.

With your memory card full of U.F.O. (Unidentified Floating Object) pics, let’s get back on the path.

The path rolls on flat as the South Han River widens. Wildflowers bloom in the marshlands that protect greenhouses from floods. If the right time of day comes round, you might catch the sun kissing the hilltops.

Over a bridge and through the woods, you’ll come upon a large bog of green. Cheonnam Park (천남지구공원) sits at the end of this soft land. Take your time to wind around the well-manicured paths.

Yeoju-bo

At the end of the park, the bike path climbs an embankment. It spits you directly onto the third and last weir/dam of the day, Yeoju-bo (여주보).

At night, the spires bounce light on the shimmering river. The sundials on the concrete columns below represent the inventiveness of Korea’s greatest ancient ruler: King Sejong.

Just over the weir, check out the Yeoju-bo Office (여주보사업소). On the second floor, there is a convenience store with an observation patio.

Don’t forget to stamp your passport!

Yeoju-bo

Map — Page 15

Yeoju (여주)

Almost there! Let’s continue to down the path. Around the banks of the river, you’ll spot a grouping of high-rise apartments. Dip down to a rocky faced hill. A highway hops over Yang Island (양섬), a popular fishing spot.

Climb the embankment and you’ve made it! Your final resting place: Yeoju.

Yeongnyeongneung (King Sejong’s Tomb)

The Tomb of King Sejong (영녕릉) sits atop a mound. A ceremonial building sits at its feet. The surrounding grounds are expertly manicured.
The Tomb of King Sejong (영녕릉) sits atop a mound. A ceremonial building sits at its feet. The surrounding grounds are expertly manicured.

Speaking of final resting places. You got one more stop before you settle in to your cozy motel room.

If you visit Seoul or Gyeongju, you’ll find many relics of King Sejong. But, if you want to visit his burial grounds, this is the place. This is the Tomb of King Sejong (영녕릉).

The tomb is a five minute bike ride through city sidewalks. But, the meticulously laid out grounds are definitely worth the detour. Pay homage to the leader who invented a language and defined Korea.

Next, find a motel and grab some grub.

Tomorrow’s Chungju.

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