Cycle through the abandoned train tracks and bridges of the outside of Seoul.
- Start/End – Hanam (하남), Yeoju (여주)
- Length – 64.3 km (108m peak)
- Est. Time – 3hrs 33 mins
- Certification Booths – (5) Neungnae Station, Balgeun Gwangjang, Yangpyeong-gun Art Museum, Ipo-bo, Yeoju-bo
- Intercity Bus Terminals – Hanam, Yangpyeong, Daesin, Yeoju
- Difficulty – ??
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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).
Don’t worry! The rusty trusses are just for show. The civil engineers thought to reinforced the bridge from below.
Let’s jump back on the mainland and get down to business.
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.
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.
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.
A little further down the road, you’ll have your second extraterrestrial experience.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Speaking of final resting places. You got one more stop before you settle in to your cozy motel room.
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.