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Chogok Dragon Cave & Candlestick Rock Trail

Gangwon Bike Path

Chogok Dragon Cave & Candlestick Rock Trail (초곡용굴촛대바위길; map) lies at the top of Chogok Port. It is a 660-meter long trail that snakes along the rocky coastline of Samcheok City, featuring a 512-meter deck path and a 56-meter suspension bridge. It showcases the area’s unique geological formations and breathtaking sea views.

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Known locally as Haegeumgang, the trail is steeped in legends and surrounded by picturesque rocks, with the Chogok Dragon Cave (Yonggul) and Candlestick Rock (Chotdae Rock).

The Legend of Chogok Yonggul Cave

The tale of Chogok Yonggul Cave, also known as Dragon Cave, begins with a poor fisherman who lived by the sea. One night, he dreamt of a dead snake floating in the middle of the ocean, a vision so vivid it haunted him upon waking. In the dream, a white-haired elder appeared, urging him to retrieve the snake and perform a ritual in its honor at Chogok Village, promising prosperity in return. When the fisherman discovered the snake exactly as foreseen, he was astounded.

The fisherman brought the snake to Chogok Yonggul Cave and conducted the ritual he envisioned in his dream. When the ceremony concluded, the once lifeless snake stirred, slithering into the cave’s depths. Moments later, it transformed into a majestic dragon, soaring into the heavens, leaving the fisherman and onlookers in awe.

Following this event, the fisherman’s fortune changed. Each time he ventured into the sea, his net yielded bountiful fish, lifting him from poverty to prosperity. The villagers attributed it to the fisherman’s act of kindness and the cave’s mystical power.

Chogok Yonggul Cave, henceforth known as Dragon Cave, became a symbol of hope and transformation. The people of Samcheok passed the story down through generations.

History and Development

Initially, the trail’s rugged beauty and unique rock formations were known only to locals and a few adventurous visitors. And, after the Korean War, the coastline remained inaccessible because of its designation as a military zone.

In 2014, local authorities invested 9.3 billion won to convert the once-restricted area into a tourist and public space. Engineers built a 512-meter-long eco-friendly deck path that winds from Chogok Port over the area’s unique rock formations while minimizing the impact on the natural surroundings.

A highlight of the trail’s design is the 56-meter suspension bridge.. The bridge, with its glass-bottomed section, allows visitors to cross over the East Sea’s choppy waters while viewing the seascape.

The Trail’s Features

Chogok Dragon Cave & Candlestick Rock Trail blends the rugged beauty of the East Sea coastline with thoughtful human craftsmanship. Visitors can walk the trail and see the following features:

  • The heart of the trail is the raised 512-meter-long deck path. Floating on metal supports, this wooden pathway meanders through the area’s distinctive rock formations, allowing visitors to witness the geological diversity.
  • The 56-meter suspension bridge offers sways gently over the crashing waves below, allowing visitors to gaze below with a transparent section in the middle.
  • The trail is dotted with iconic rock formations, each with its own story. Among them, Candlestick Rock, Turtle Rock, and Lion Rock. Sculpted by millennia of wind and water, these natural formations serve as silent guardians of the coast.
  • The trail culminates at the Dragon Cave, a site shrouded in myth and legend. A walkway offers a glimpse at the legend associated with the mythical site.
  • Along the coastal trail, find observation decks that feature panoramic vistas of the East Sea and surrounding landscape. These vantage points provide a pause in the journey, inviting visitors to soak in the views and take pictures.

Visitor Information

  • Opening Hours:
    • 9 AM to 6 PM — March to October
    • 9 AM to 5 PM — November to February
  • Fee: Free