Unfortunate as it it, not everyone has the time (or the desire) for a multi-day, triple digit mileage cycling and hiking adventure. In an effort not to alienate the majority voice, I’m doing my best to map out some bike’n hike themed afternoon excursions that won’t leave you cursing the surrounding mountains.
The cycling portion of this trip is a quick 4km bike ride to and from the trailhead and the hike up through the valley to the final destination of Wonhyosa is another 4kms each way with modest elevation gains (for a total of 16km…click here for the cylcemeter link). You could easily bookend this trip with a tour through the Eco-Park near the house and lunch at one of the many bori-bap restaurants near Wonhyosa in order to fill out the afternoon. Alternatively, you could use this as a first step to a much larger hike through Mudeung National Park as Wonhyosa is home to a variety of trail-heads that put you within striking distance of just about every corner of the park.
The Wonhyosa Valley hike makes use of two of the lesser know trailheads tucked away down a gravel road near the entrance of Buncheongware museum (pottery) and right down the street from Eco-Park. The Pungam entrance is certainly the busier of the two and can even get a bit crowded during the summer months due to the infamous Mudung swimming holes found in the valley.
To get there, grab a bike and head out to the main road. Take a left. Take the first right across the bridge and follow this wooden duck lined road (called 속대) around the rice paddy filled valley.
Take a left at the first intersection and another quick left at the museum road entrance.
This road has seen better days so take it slow and avoid the massive pot-holes! Thankfully you’re not going far…take the first left down this little service road.
Follow this road to the gate and lock up your bikes (but don’t lock them to the gate as this is still an active service road which I believe goes through the entire park. Definitely looking forward to sneaking my bike up here!).
You can see the trailhead sign just in front of my bike. Follow this trail through the forest until you see this pogoda:
Head down past the pogoda, but don’t cross the river just yet. Continue up the valley on this side of the river until you see rock stairs guiding you down to the river. This is where you should cross.
Head up the river bank on the other side (you should eventually be walking away from the river) until you come out on a gravel road. You should see a sign marker for Wonhyosa at this point. This junction connects the two trails and completes the loop portion of the hike…if that first part seems too confusing just park your bikes at the end of this trail (Pungam entrance) and hike in and out at the same place.Follow the signs up through the valley toward Wonhyosa. Navigating all the guerrilla farmers is a bit tricky, but I sort of love that they’re all here in the middle of a national park. I suspect they were grandfathered in as this was only recently given national park status. This dude even has cctv cameras!
The rest of the trail is well marked and always within earshot of the river. Depending on the season, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for secluded swimming holes or picnic areas. The valley is filled with them and the further up the valley you go, the less likely you are to be disturbed by the hordes of families fighting over picnic space near the Pungam entrance.
At the top you’ll run into yet another old service road. Plenty of signage at this point so just head toward Wonhyosa and cross the old bridge.
From here you’re close to Wonhyosa temple, the ranger station and all the restaurants. You have a few choices to make…either grab some lunch, head back down or continue on up the mountain! It’s a quick and easy hike back down through the valley and an even easier bike ride back to the house.
It’s all downhill to the house 🙂
We had been hearing rumors of a few nice swimming holes in the area for weeks (thanks for the tip Geoff!). Busy summer schedules, vacations and wet monsoon weather kept us from actually locating them…until last week. Hosting Chuseok weekend for 20 of our closest friends was the perfect opportunity to go exploring and find them. The stretch of river just inside the Mudeung National Park entrance (the 원효계곡 entrance) offers a variety of swimming holes varying in size, depth and available shade. It’s about 4km from the front door of the house (or 3km from Eco-Park), look for the Buncheongware Museum turn off down a gravely road (분청사기전시길).
What a treat they turned out to be. So bummed we didn’t get there until practically the end of summer! More specific directions can be found here
or under the “swimming” page of this blog.