Korean East Coast Bicycle Route icon.

Gangwon Bicycle Path

Ride along Korea's east coast towards the DMZ.

The Gangwon Path hugs the east coast of Korea. Sometimes challenging, sometimes breezy, you’ll pass harbor cities, explore a few resort towns, and  stumble upon beach after beach.

Your destination is the DMZ. Dashes of barb wire and a sprinkling of military outposts accompany you along the way. Don’t worry. Defense infrastructure is more of adornment nowadays.

The Stats
Uljin City Icon
Start

Uljin

(울진)

← 242 km →

16 hours

End

Daejin

(대진)
Daejin and DMZ icon.
Start

Uljin

(울진)

Uljin City Icon
End

Daejin

(대진)
Daejin and DMZ icon.
An elevation graph of the Gangwon Bike Path.

City-to-City Path Breakdown

The Samcheok cable car crosses a bay near the city of Samcheok in South Korea.

Start in a fishing village, pass resort city and land in a port city.

A seaside hotel near the city of Gangneung in South Korea.

Discover a unique ship hotel and an endless collection of beaches.

The Gangwon Bicycle path along Korea's East Coast route.

Ride your bike from resort town to resort town and beach to beach.

A bicycle sits near a barb wire fence on the Gangwon Bicycle Path in Korea.

This final ride up to the DMZ brings you to lesser known towns and beaches.

Gangwon Bicycle Path

The Ara Bicycle Path follows the Ara Waterway, a man-made canal upstream to the Han River on the edge of Seoul.

Begin near the Ara West Sea Lock, the point where the waterway spills into the Yellow Sea. Both the north and south side of the canal hold bridges, parks, and recreational areas.

The main bike path sails along the southern side of the canal. But interesting landmarks inhabit the north side, as well.

There are fourteen bridges that cross the canal. Bicycle rental stations, restrooms, art installations, and more park facilities rest under many of the bridges.

The bike route touches three cities. The longest stretch, eastward from the Yellow Sea, crawls along the northern edge of Incheon (인천). Near the end, the path touches the bottom bit of Gimpo (김포) before unfurling into the westernmost edge of Seoul (서울).

Highlights & Eight Scenic Views

The city of Incheon designated eight scenic views (수향8경) along the Ara Waterway. Beginning from the Cross-Country Bike Route, they are:

You will spot these sights as you ride the Ara Bicycle Path. We’ll explore each in depth below.

For a detailed Korean language map of the Ara Waterway, click here.

Path Types & Difficulty

The Ara Bicycle Path is the easiest in all of Korea. You can conquer the twenty kilometer (20 km) in two hours.

Only a few kilometers near the beginning and end of the route detours onto protected sidewalks in industrial areas. The majority of the course follows bicycle-only paths.

Both sides of the Ara Waterway canal hold bike paths. The south bike path climbs a ten meter embankment to hop onto a bridge: your only hill.

Getting There

If you’re already in Seoul or Incheon, subways provide the quickest accessed to the Ara Bicycle Path.

The Airport Express (AREX) is a commuter train that travels from Incheon Airport to Seoul Station. The train runs right along two thirds of the Ara Waterway. Like most subways in Korea, the AREX allows passengers to board with any type of bike on weekends and holidays.

Three AREX stations will drop you off on or near the bicycle path.

The Gangwon Province Coast

The Ara Bicycle Path borrows its name from the Gyeongin Ara Waterway (경인 아라뱃길) or Ara Waterway.

The name “Gyeong” (경) is an old name for Seoul. “In” refers to the city of Incheon. The name borrows “Ara” from Arirang, an ancient Korean folk song.

The Ara Waterway is Korea’s first man-made canal. 18 kilometers long. 80 meters wide. 6 meters deep. The canal flows from the Han River in Seoul towards the Yellow Sea.

King Gojong of Goryeo first explored its construction in the 13th century. However, limited technology scrapped the project. The canal’s construction didn’t break ground until 2009, with its completion coming in 2012.

Cities & Towns

Behind Seoul and Busan, the city of Incheon (인천) is the third most populous city in Korea, holding over three million residents. The city sits on the northwestern corner of South Korea, with the Yellow Sea to its west and Seoul to its east.

Incheon is a part of the Seoul Capital Area (수도권), which includes Gyeonggi Province (경기도). Many of Incheon’s residents commute to Seoul via the Airport Express (AREX) or Subway Line 1, which extended across both cities.

Transportation and international business churn the Incheon’s economy.

Incheon International Airport (인천국제공항) is the primary hub for those leaving and coming to Korea. In 2016, worldwide, the airport ranked fifth busiest for cargo and nineteenth for passengers.

Behind Busan, Incheon operates the second largest port in Korea. Its docks feed goods to and from Korea’s largest metropolitan region.

Additionally, Incheon designated fifty thousand acres as a Free Economic Zone. Foreign businesses that set up shop here receive tax incentives and more.

Some of Incheon’s highlights include: