Hiking Wolchulsan to Cross One of Korea’s Must See Bridges

Way back in the day (*cough* two years ago *cough*), I began a secret Pinterest board for places I wanted to see in Korea. I just went in and typed “Korea” into the search bar and began pinning any photos I found attractive. I was determined to see every inch of this country if I could. One of those pins included hiking Wolchulsan, specifically seeing its orange suspension bridge (named “Cloud Bridge”) in person. I kind of have a thing for suspension bridges, as seen here and here. It took me exactly two years to finally go, but I fit in the hike between the last day of my contract and going to Jeju for a few days.

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I went straight from Namwon to Mokpo, where Nicole is based, Friday night (mere hours after leaving school for the last time), and we made plans to go hiking on Saturday before I took a ferry to Jeju Sunday morning. Since I didn’t want to be too exhausted with all the travel I had planned, we decided to take it easy and only hike to the Cloud Bridge instead of going all the way to one of the peaks.

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Making Nicole model while I commandeer her camera ;p

The hike itself isn’t super easy, but it’s not the most difficult hike I’ve ever done (see Baemsagol for that one). The whole hike up is about 1.7 km. I highly recommend taking the route that’s mostly rocks versus that stairs. Don’t listen to the Koreans telling you it’s the easier way. We went down the stairs, and I would have never made it going up. As my co-teacher pointed out to me once, they’re my oldest and worst enemy. The rocky side, though, isn’t bad and is much more fun. When you look at a map, the rocky side will be 1km straight while the stairs will be broken up into .4 km and .6 km

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The bridge is easily worth the hike. The bright orange stands out among the mountainous scenery, and, at least when we went, it seemed less crowded. The views are stunning. You get the mountains on one side and all the rice fields on the other. Since it’s fall, the fields are this rich yellow color, and seeing them all from up above is seriously something. Over all, it was a great way to spend my last day in the Jeolla provinces, and I’m glad I managed to get my lazy bum to go hiking when I normally would have just relaxed.

MORE INFORMATION ON HIKING WOLCHULSAN

  • Korean Names:
    • 월출산국림공원- Wolchulsan National Park
    • 월출산 – Wolchulsan | Mt. Wolchul | Wolchul Mountain
    • 구름다리- Cloud Bridge
    • 천화가사 – Cheonwagasa | Cheonhwaga Temple | Cheonhwagasa Temple
  • Wolchulsan Main Page | This includes more background info, hiking courses, and fees/facilities
  • The cloud bridge is 120m high, 52m long, and 6m wide.
  • Hiking was free, parking was 2,000 KRW (~$2)
  • While Nicole drove from Mokpo, you can get there via public transportation:
    • Take a bus to Yeongnam Terminal (usually from Mokpo). Then take a bus from Yeongnam to Cheonhwagasa Temple.

Photos by Samantha or Nicole

Leave a Reply

  • What amazing views you must have seen from the bridge. I would have definitely chosen the rocky route versus the stairs as well. Now, I need to add this destination to my Korea bucket list.

  • Stunning photo – I really love how the bright orange stands out among the mountainous scenery – it’s gorgeous :)! Definitely sounds like well worth the hike .. thanks for the tip on taking the rocky route vs the stairs!

  • Hi Samantha,

    Stunning views indeed! And I love the bright orange coloring. Great contrast. Massive gorge you’re walking through there, too. Unlike bridges I’ve crossed in less, umm….un-safe parts of the world LOL (not calling you out SE Asia hahahaha) this one seems stable to me. Looks stable at least. So a hike across would not feel like a death sentence. Or game of chance ;) Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  • Our first year in Korea we were heavy into hiking! Sadly, we never made it to Wolchulsan! I wish we would have made it a priority though! I will miss the hiking in Korea! Love the photos Sam, especially the one of you crossing the bridge!

  • I totally do the ‘Secret Pin Board’ thing myself! This looks absolutely stunning; you’re right that the bridge makes a perfect contrast. And only 1.7 km?! That seems like a breeze! I have got to get to Korea…

  • Looks like quite the scenic hike! But I’m scared of suspension bridges haha I hate it when someone jumps or shakes it on purpose!! Why is it coined the cloud bridge??

  • The view looks amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever hiked to a bridge like that before. I definitely would mind trying this if I make a trip to Korea some day :)

  • What an amazing bridge! I’ve seen pictures before, but yours are stunning – I really get a feel for what it would be like to walk across it.

  • Wow! That looks pretty amazing. I’d do the hike just for the photographs (ha ha!). I too would prefer to clamber up rocks than stairs – stairs can be a real killer. there IS a reason someone created the stair master.

  • That bridge looks really cool, if a little terrifying – it must be really amazing to hike there. Why were you so drawn to Korea? I have never been there, but hear so many great things about it.

  • I’m pretty impressed that you hiked up to see the “Cloud Bridge.” I’m with you on the rocky way up — stairs do terrible things to my knees going up, so it would have made the journey much less fun for me. The view from the bridge is stunning! Well done for taking this off of your pinterest wish-list!

  • Whereabouts is this in Korea and is it near the ski slopes? It looks fab and as we head to Korea in march I would love to do some other things than ski.