Saryang Island: One of Korea’s Best Hikes


Taekwondo is officially Korea’s national sport, but hiking may be its most popular. Here’s one of Korea’s best hidden hiking spots.

This guy had the pleasure of being underneath me while we climbed a vertical rock face...freestyle. He had no idea how likely it was that I would fall. Photo by Michael Johnstone

This guy had the pleasure of being underneath me while we climbed a vertical rock face…freestyle. He had no idea how likely it was that I would fall.
Photo by Michael Johnstone

Far from the domineering skyscrapers of South Korea’s capital, along the southern coast, is a small island called Saryangdo. Mountain hikes in the city can get crowded with people, and there’s nothing worse than being smothered by other bodies when trying to scale a peak.

If you’re a serious hiker, and you want to stare death in the face, I suggest you make your way down to the island and teeter on its precarious rock faces. Be forewarned: this is not a good hike for first-timers. Although it only takes about an hour to get to the initial summit, the longest trail takes you up five or so different peaks, and at many points you will find yourself on a rock where a wrong step in either direction will lead to a rocky death. It’s the sort of hike that probably shouldn’t be allowed for safety reasons, but is. Along the route there are several points where you have the choice of scaling vertical rock faces with the aid of only a rope to get you up. If you’ve been to a rock climbing gym, picture it twice as high with no ropes.

 

 

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