Yangpyeong Mulsori Trail
Route 1 | English language walking guide
|Time||5 – 6 hours|
|Getting there||Yangsu Station (Jungang Line)|
* Walk near the meeting point of North Han River and South Han River. It is a special place for the Korean people where the Han River is formed.
* Visiting Seoul, but don’t have a lot of time and want to see the Korean countryside? Mulsori Trail starts and ends at subway stations. Done within a day.
* Visit the old tomb of Jeong Chang-so who served under many kings of the Joseon Dynasty.
* Find out about Korean independence figure Yuh Woon-Hyung.
* Mulsori Trail received consultation from the Jeju Olle Foundation with the Olle exploration team spending some two months in Yangpyeong selecting the best route for walkers.
Walking Mulsori Trail Route 1…
As you descend the steps from exit one at Yangsu Station you’ll be greeted by the bicycle hire and the Route 1 information board which doubles as the start point. Now look down at your feet and spot the arrows painted on the ground. You’ll need to immediately double back on yourself around the stairs to start the trail. Do not head immediately towards and past the bike rental hut. That is not the right way.
So with the start of the trail successfully navigated it is time to take in your new surroundings. Actually most of your surroundings will be very new. Yangsu Station is a far cry from the bustling metropolitan city that is Seoul. The station is the oasis in the middle of the countryside, but buildings are fast going up. There is a small green coffee hut right next to the station and more coffee shops selling bigger snacks across the street. You should spy some convenience stores down there as well in case you’re not stocked with supplies. Start out with a few bottles of water or soda and snacks if you don’t have lunch packed.
Moving along the trail and back under the train tracks, within a few blocks you’re already leaving everything behind. The sleek modern and monolithic subway station smudges into the background.
Within 20 minutes you’ll be moving towards Wolgyegol which is one of the first mountain climbs for the day. You won’t be going to the top and there are no views. However after being on the train for a while or working a week in the city this will be your first taste of the Korean countryside – especially so if you flew in as a tourist. This section has a length of 796m, but only to a height of 150m to give you some perspective on difficulty. In among the trees the countryside starts to come alive.
At first the trail is a little steep but levels out to a series or small dips up and down before finally spitting you out near a wooden pavilion for a rest. Just before the pavillion there is a slightly difficult section to navigate over a stream. Be careful here.
Just on from the wooden pavilion is the registered cultural grave site of Jeong Chang-so, a high ranking official who served under five kings and was a Prime Minister for three of them. During his life from 1402 to 1487, passing away at the rosy old age of 85, Jeong helped compile some very important books of the era including Goryeosa (History of Goryeo Dynasty), Sejong Sillok (Annals of King Sejong) and Chipyeongyoram (The Principles of Good Government).
His tomb – along with his wife’s – sit on a cleared hill-side. An old stone sits protected and was erected after Jeong’s death to recognize his important service for the country. Without any trees it is a hot climb on a sunny day and there is still much trail to be walked.
The next section of Route 1 brings you into much flat farmland and also the first proper sound of water. Amble along the side of a stream and cross over. Take a moment to stand on the rocks and enjoy the gurgling sound of water swishing around your feet.
The trail then begins to skirt around the side of a mountain, but despite the trail leading slightly upwards you do not go. You’ll pass the grave site of Yi Deok-hyeong (1561-1613) who was another high ranking official responsible for work against the Ming Dynasty. This place is also a registered cultural location.
On from this a narrow dirt footpath takes you into a wooded section with old military emplacements rotting here and there.
Back onto the asphalt a quiet country road winds along before a climb towards Buyeongsan begins. This section of the trail takes you 200 meters up for a distance of 1.7 km. The initial climb is steep so be prepared to work, but the woods will slowly and deeply close in around you. You will not summit on this mountain.
As the trees start to disappear on your descent another valley appears and in the far distance you can see the Namhan River for the first time.
It is still some distance because you’ll pass the birth place of Yuh Woon-Hyung (1886 – 1947) who was a Korean independence figure. Learn about his life and visit his recreated home. Toilet facilities are available here.
Not long after the museum the Sinwon subway station offers a chance to resupply and refuel at a restaurant. It is probably a good idea to get something because the next section follows the river with no shade. Note it can take up to five minutes for the traffic lights to change at the busy road.
When meeting the river you’re looking at about one hour and thirty minutes to finishing.
At the end of the river walk you’ll cross back over the main road via a footbridge and up on to the cycle route for a while. Passing through the train tunnel as a pedestrian leaves one with a bit of a strange feeling. There are very few places where this is possible in South Korea.
Finally weave your way through various farmer’s fields before arriving at the end point for Route 1 which is Guksu Station. Route 2 awaits.
Almost all walkers will arrive at the Route 1 start point via subway and that is how we recommend you do it for sheer convenience. From downtown Seoul you will need to take the light blue Jungang Line. You do need to make sure you’re on a train heading towards Yongmun when the line breaks in two. Please see this interactive subway map which will help you plan a journey to Yangsu Station. In fact you can input the departure and arrival station names which will plot out the most efficient way to take. It also give times and even the best cars to stand in for a quick transfer between trains. The fare from Gimpo Airport costs a little over 2,000 won, but could be more if you have to get a plastic transportation card. However this card is redeemable at your final destination station. The journey from Gimpo Airport to Yangsu takes about one-and-a-half hours. Expect a shorter journey if you’re already in central Seoul.
Also if you’re heading to Route 1 on a Saturday or Sunday there might be a lot of cyclists on the subway too. That’s because Yangsu Station is the start point for the Yangpyeong to Namyangju Bicycle Trail which opened in October 2011. The 27km stretch of railway line was no longer needed after the new subway line was created. Once you’ve done the Mulsori Trail you can come back and rent bicycles for a two hour stint if you fancy.