Soon after moving to the small fishing village of Samgilpo, we discovered a hiking trail right up the hill from our pension. We ventured up the trail a few times, but did not bring appropriate supplies for a full-blown hike, until now. Turns out, this trail is part of the Seosan Arame-gil hiking trail system. This trail system is huge- there are 18-22 km trails for avid hikers. With our kiddos in tow, we find the shortest hikes possible! Check out the whole trail system here (Korean website).
The trail is a loop, and on the website the start and end point is the Samgilpo tourist information booth (the actual trailhead is up the road from there, on the right). We started and ended at our pension, but it still worked! Our first views once we climbed the initial hill behind our pension was the Winchest golf course across the main road. The trail starts out easy but soon turns more intermediate with stairs to reach the top of the hill. Trees shade the entire route and once we got up the first hill, the trail goes up and down along the ridge line until we reached Beacon Hill.
As long as we remind Landon that he is a Jeep and that he has 4-wheel drive, he is a pretty good little hiker. Some of the long stretches of stairs look daunting at first, but if we distract him as we climb, he does great. Of course, once we hit the downhill portion, he takes off and has unlimited energy again- no matter how tired he said he was a few minutes before!
Along the trail, the tree cover is so thick that it is hard to snap pictures of the incredible view- that is until we reached Beacon Hill. On this hill is an old stone beacon that was used in the past to signal that invaders were coming (I always think of the very beginning of Mulan when I see these beacons). The views of the small islands off the coast were incredible! We could see Daesan port and some refinery complexes as well. I would love to return here on a very clear day and snap some pictures, as it was a little hazy when we went.
I should mention that there is a much easier way to visit the beacon. Up the hill from the Samgilpo Tourist Information booth is a road that passes by a military station and goes up the mountain. It is paved for most of the way, and then a maintained dirt road continues to a trail sign and restrooms. The sign at that point says that there is something .2 km up the mountain. The beacon is right at the top, so instead of a 3 km hike, you can do a .2 km jaunt up the hill to see the beacon and the view. A Korean man visiting Samgilpo came up to the beacon right after we did. He spoke good English so we chatted for a while before he asked us where our car was. We explained we had hiked over from our pension and he seemed impressed! Probably because we were not wearing typical hardcore Korean hiking clothes. Or that we somehow moved two small children to the beacon. Anyway, it was funny for him to be like… “How did you get up here?!?” That’s one thing I have not seen at all- children hiking. It seems that hiking is a retired person activity here!
For anyone visiting Samgilpo, I would recommend this hike on clear days for the incredible views. We really enjoyed this short hike and Austin was a champ carrying Owen! We will probably do this one again before we move away from Samgilpo.