Photos by ChiHon Kim
Photos by ChiHon Kim

Geumosan Provincial Park: Time for a change of scenery

by Chihon Kim
Stripes Korea

The stress from everyday life and work can wear on you. Sometimes you just need to get away, but that’s hard to do without taking vacation days. But, instead of sitting on the couch and wasting time, why not try re-energizing and reconnecting with nature close by? If you have the motivation to drive a little or hop on a train, the Geumosan Reservoir and Olle is a great place to unwind and enjoy nature at its finest. And you don’t need to make a lot of travel arrangements or do any packing; this is the perfect day trip!

Zig zag path
If you are driving, slow down and enjoy the scenery! Some tourists drive so fast up the mountain that they miss the entrance to the Geumo Province Park. There are two parking lots on the mountain, so when you ask a taxi driver to take you at Geumosan, make sure to ask to be dropped off at “Geumosan Daejuchajang” (big parking lot) next to the Geumochen stream. Then you can slowly walk up to the mountain and enjoy more scenery.

If you’re taking a train (make sure you look out the window and take in all the beauty), get off at Gumi Station and grab a taxi to the parking area. It’ll cost you about 3,600 won (around $3) each way.

Note: It takes more than two hours to get there by car from Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base. By train, it’s about 20 minutes less.

Another option is walking. From Gumi Station, you can reach the entrance to the Geumo Province Park in 10 minutes by foot. On your walk, you’ll notice the tiled roof of a traditional-style building, which is a museum dedicated to the people of the Joseon era (1392-1897).  A little further down, coffee drinkers might enjoy a pitstop at the three or four different hipster and classy-style coffee shops near the entrance of the parking lot. I know some folks really need their coffee, so here’s some good places to enjoy a cup or two.

Once you arrive at the entrance, you’ll see a path zig-zagging its way toward the reservoir Olle Gil. The railing along the uphill path has traditional paintings and calligraphy mounted on it, so take your time and enjoy the painting and drawings at your own pace.  

Geumosan Reservoir
At the end of the path, set your eyes on the beautiful waters of the reservoir and let the breeze wash over and refresh you.
The Olle Gil path is about 2.4 kilometers long, surrounds a large portion of the reservoir and connects to Gumi Eco Park. After walking the path and seeing all the strange rock formations and bizarre stones along Mt. Geumo, you just might feel like walking it two or three more times. 

Floating bridge
Along the path, you’ll walk on a floating bridge, which at night is lit up with LED lights. It’s quite a sight and many visitors time their visits for this illuminated night view. It’s also not uncommon to find turtles resting on rocks near the bridge and spot fish jumping in and out of the water. This is a great spot for children.

The entire path along the Geumosan Reservoir is a great place to walk and take pictures. Large trees line up along the path and there are plenty of benches and pavilions great for some rest. It takes less than 40 minutes to walk the entire path, but take as long as you want .It’s also a great place to have a picnic with family, friends or that special someone.

Chaemi-jeong 
At the end of the Olle, you will see a beautiful building named Chaemi-jeong.  The scholar Gil Jae, who lived during the turbulent transition period of Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), escaped Seoul for the countryside because he would not serve for another king of a new dynasty. Although he wasn’t wealthy, he refused to take the new Joseon Dynasty’s high official position and he barely managed to stay alive, existing on herbs, roots and tree bark. Thus, his home was named Chae Mi (Chae Mi means herbs)-jeong.

From Chaemi-jeong, you can hear the sound of a stream running under the bridge leading to a shrine. In the summer, people crowd under the bridge to avoid the hot weather and play in the water. If you enter the Chaemi-jeong, you can see the architecture of a Hanok (traditional Korean-style house) and try to imagine the conviction this scholar had.

Directions: 
Train from Waegwan station to Gumi station. 
– Mugunghwa: 15mins /  2,600won                                                                                                                                   
– ITX-Saemaeul: 10mins / 4,800won
Train form Pyeongteak station  to Gumi stioan  
– Mugunghwa: 2hrs 20mins /  13,100won
– ITX-Saemaul : 2hrs /  19,400wo
After off the train, take a taxi to the Geumosan province park public ‘entrance’ parking lot ( With in 10min,  about 3,000won )

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