Wonju Suspension Bridge Hike (소금산)
For our Chuseok holiday, Wonju was originially one of the destinations we had hoped to see. Instead, we opted for other areas that were harder to get to by bus and skipped over it. A few weeks later and we decided to go to Wonju via bus and see a very new tourist attraction—Korea’s longest suspension bridge! (원주 소금산 출렁다리) Additionally, it was the perfect opportunity for another hike. 😊
From the Incheon Bus Terminal, it took us about two hours to get to the Wonju Terminal. From there, we took another bus about 20 minutes to the attraction. At the bottom, there is a whole street area of small restaurants and food stands. There’s a gorgeous river area right behind it where you can picnic or walk around for a bit. As we headed to the bridge, we assumed we needed tickets and bought them for 3,000 won a piece. The kind man handed us our wrist bands, change, and 4,000 won in “Wonju Gift Certificates”. We weren’t too sure what we could use them for but figured it was free money for the area and continued on our way.
The walk up to the bridge was 578 steps and consisted of a very slow moving line of a billion people. Once we got to the top, we saw the insanely long, very cool looking bridge and took some pictures before we made our way over. The Wonju Suspension Bridge is about 200 meters long and 1.5 meters wide. It can also carry the weight of about 1,200 adults! As we walked across, there were children crying, people grasping on to the sides for their life, and others posing for pictures every ten steps. Between the wind and the hundreds of people that were on it, you could definitely feel it swaying a bit but MAN was it a gorgeous view!
After we made it to the other side, we weaseled our way between the crowd to take a few more pictures. Fortunately, 99% of everyone there went back over the bridge, whereas we continued on for a small hike up Sogeumsan Mountain so it was much more peaceful. The whole trail ended up being about 3 kilometers. From the end of the bridge, to the peak, I would say the trail is probably an intermediate level. There was a bit of an incline of course but quite a bit of just walking on a path. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the peak which was honestly…pretty disappointing. This was the first of any Korean hikes we’ve done that didn’t have an amazing view at the top. Regardless, we sat down for a bit to get some food and photos.
Instead of going back the way we came, we continued on the path to see the other side, and about ten minutes in, we realized THIS was where the view was. I can’t express enough how freaking gorgeous it was. It was peak foliage so the leaves were all sorts of reds, yellows and greens. We had also started this part right before sunset so this was the golden hour! This side of the hike was also much more difficult and I would not recommend anyone to come from this side. There were huge rocks and the steepest staircases we’ve encountered. I held onto Luke at the top of the staircase while he took a million panoramic pictures just for precaution. Sheesh! But I couldn’t blame him. We would have stayed there for the rest of the night if we could have. The entire rest of the way down, and even the walk back at the bottom was beautiful. From the peak back to the other end, it took us about an hour, but we stopped quite a bit to enjoy the scenery.
At the end of the night, it was cooold. The temperature quickly dropped, which meant I quickly added all the layers of clothing I brought with me. Places were closing and it was dark as we were leaving the park, but we were able to snag two hotteoks for free with our gift certificates! The perfect snack to finish with and to warm our insides a bit. We missed the bus back to the bus terminal and the next one wasn’t going to come for another hour or so, so we ended up getting a taxi back to the terminal. And once we got there, we realized the next and last two buses back to Incheon were sold out. Of course. We got tickets to Dongseoul and then rode the subway back from there. Whew! It was a long trip home but it was yet another absolutely incredible day with stunning landscapes and views.