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Jukdo Mountain in Yangyang

Gangwon Bike Path

Jukdo Mountain (죽도산; map; Jukdosan) lies in Hyunnam Town along Yangyang County’s coast. One of Yangyang’s eight scenic sights, this distinctive coastal hill’s name translates to “Bamboo” (죽; Juk) “Island” (도; do) “Mountain” (산; san).

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Flanking this picturesque mountain there hangs a pair of beaches known as Korea’s surfing mecca.

Let’s explore more.

The Mountain

Deokbong Mountain in Samcheok and Jukdo Mountain in Yangyang share similar pasts and presents:

  • Both were island-mountains that sat in the East Sea, before a shifting landscape reconnected it to the mainland.
  • Now, they are both a standout bit of elevation stuck between flat, sandy beaches.

Jukdo Mountain rises 53-meters and measures 1 kilometer in circumference. It features hiking trails that navigate a unique mixture of bamboo and pine trees.

It’s said, like Jukbyeon Cape in Uljin County, Joseon Dynasty warriors used the mountain’s thin and dense bamboo stalks to make arrows to defend Korea’s coast from foreign invaders.

At the foot of Jukdo Mountain, near a local shrine, lies a collection of unique rocks:

  • Fan Rock — resembles a giant folding fan.
  • Immortal Rock — looks like a turtle’s back where, legend tells, immortals once sat.

Jukdo Mountain Observatory

Jukdo Mountain Observatory sits at the summit of Jukdo Mountain. Standing 20-meters tall, it is formed by a latticework of metal poles which resemble bamboo, mirroring one of the mountain’s defining features.

The observatory offers a panoramic view of the surroundings, including the Taebaek Mountain Range, known as Korea’s spine, the rock formations at the foot of the mountain, and the pair of surfing beaches along the coast.

Jukdo Pavilion

Jukdo Pavilion (죽도정; Jukdojeong) rests on the mountain’s hiking trails. It was built from a local fundraiser in 1965 — young compared to the thousand-year-old Gyeongpodae and Jukseoru Pavilions.

The pavilion holds three bays in the front and two bays on the side. It sits on a wooden viewing deck under evergreen pine trees overlooking the East Sea.

Surf Beaches

Jukdo Mountain marks the border between two beaches known for its waves: Ingu Beach (인구해변; map) and Jukdo Beach (죽도해변; map).

First, some history:

Surfing didn’t reach Korea’s shores until the 1990s, where it took off in Jeju Island’s Jungmun Saekdal Beach (중문색달해수욕장; map), then spread to Busan’s Songjeong Beach (송정해수욕장; map).

In the 2000s, Korea’s newly wave-addicted surfers discovered Yangyang County as a prime surf spot. Its rural seascape, regular waves, and proximity to the Seoul Capital Area made the county’s beaches famous for the surf-curious.

Today, Ingu and Jukdo, as well as Dongsan Beach (동산해수욕장; map) just south, are a part of a stretch known as “Yangri-dan-gil” (양리단길; map), an unofficial “road” that combines the names for Yangyang and Garosugil, a hyper-trendy street in Seoul.

Yangri-dan-gil is a mecca for surfing in Korea. It holds over 30 surfing and watersports shops, as well as trendy cafes, clubs, and restaurants serving the famed Yangyang-style burger.

In summer, Ingu and Jukdo’s beaches swell with professionally trained locals tutoring crowds of amateur surfers.