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Geumgang
Bicycle Path

Unearth Korea's lesser known historic treasures along the Geum River.

Hate learning history? How about experiencing it?

The Geumgang Bicycle Path (금강자전거길) flows with the Geum River (금강; Geumgang) from Daejeon (대전시) to a Gunsan (군산시) on the edge of the Yellow Sea (황해).

The route crosses ancient fortresses and tombs from the Kingdom of Baekje, one of Korea’s founding dynasties, before landing inside a bird sanctuary on the west coast.

The Stats
Start
Daejeon City
(대전시)
← 146 km →
8 hours
End
Gunsan City
(군산시)
Checkpoints Logo
Checkpoints (6)
Bus Icon
Bus Terminals
Link button to Kakao Maps directions.
Directions
Link button to Kakao Maps Highlights.
Highlights

City-to-City Path Breakdown

Ride through Korea’s second capital to a town with an ancient hilltop fortress.

Fly by weirs and land in a train alleyway along the Geum River’s wide mouth.

Bike Path Overview

The Geumgang Bicycle path follows the Geum River. It is one of the paths needed to complete the Four River Certification.

The Course

Municipalities

The Geumgang Bike Path passes two metropolitan cities, two provinces, five counties, and six cities. Check out these short profiles of each.

  • Daejeon Metropolitan City (대전광역시), Korea’s fifth largest, was a small settlement occupying a sweeping field until builders laid a railway through town in 1905. Now a transit hub, the city marks the point where the rail line from Seoul split in two. One heads southwest to Mokpo. The other runs southeast to Busan. Many of Korea’s leading tech companies locate R&D facilities in the metro city, earning Daejeon the nickname “Korea’s Silicon Valley.”
  • Sejong City (세종특별자치시), named after Korea’s most important ruler, is the nation’s second capital. Why? Like London and Paris, some Koreans thought Seoul wielded too much influence. (And, it sits in North Korea’s artillery range.) So the government founded Sejong in 2012 by seizing a South Chungcheong Province county, erecting giant government complexes, and moving dozens of national ministries within its borders.
  • South Chungcheong Province (충청남도) sits west of North Chungcheong Province along the Yellow Sea. Seoul’s extra long subway tentacles branch into the province’s northern Cheonan and Ansan Cities, the fastest growing districts. During Korea’s Three Kingdoms era, the Kingdom of Baekje (18 BCE ~ 660 ACE) retreated from their capital near Seoul to South Chungcheong Province and flourished for a few centuries.
    • Gongju City (공주시), after retreating from Wiryeseong near present-day Seoul, was the Baekje Kingdom’s temporary capital. Along the Geum River, it hosts many historical treasures, like Gongsan Fortress and Baekje Royal Tombs. Sejong City, Korea’s second capital, stole a few acres from the city when in 2012.
    • Buyeo County (부여군), once known as Sabi Fortress, was the last capital of the Baekje Kingdom until Silla conquered and united the peninsula in 660 ACE. The county’s downtown converted ancient hilltop fortifications into an enormous park, with famous temples, tombs, and a Baekje theme park nearby.
    • Nonsan City (논산시) held the last battle between Baekje and Silla forces in 660, leading to the Baekje’s downfall. Today, the city’s farm fields pump out rice, watermelon, and famed strawberries. The city also hosts a KTX station and connections to major expressways.
  • North Jeolla Province (전라북도) shares the southwest corner of the peninsula with South Jeolla. Koreans know the region for rich food at cheap prices and the birthplace and keeper of pansori, Korean musical storytelling. The least wealthy province in the nation, the area holds part of the Honam Plains, which has filled the country’s rice bowls since ancient times. It’s coast, before reclamation, contained extensive mudflats on the Yellow Sea. Jeonju, the largest city, boasts a famed hanok village, museums, festivals, and bibimbap restaurants.
    • Iksan City (익산시), whose downtown lies far from the bike path, is the ancient Honam region’s northernmost district. Once a second capital for the Kingdom of Baekje, today the city is a railroad hub, connecting the Honam Line, which flows from Seoul to Mokpo, with three regional lines.
    • Gunsan City (군산시), wedged between the Geum River and Yellow Sea, began as a fishing village. During the Japanese Occupation, the imperial air force commandeered the city’s mudflats and built an airport. After the Korean War, the US Air Force moved in. Today, Gunsan acts as a major port, exporting Honam Plain crops. Gunsan-ites also make a living sea fishing or building cars in a nearby GM factory.

Elevation

Bike Path Types

Certification

Six certification centers dot the Geumgang Bicycle Path.

Collect all stamps and receive the Geumgang Bike Path certification. The route counts towards the Four Rivers and Grand Slam certifications.

Certification Centers

An Extra Stamp

On the eastern border of Sejong City, the Hapgang Park Certification Center (합강공원인증센터) sits at the intersection of the Ocheon and Geumgang Bike Paths. It marks the end of the Ocheon Path and does not count towards the Geumgang certification.

The Geum River

Highlights

How To Get There

The Geumgang Bike Path begins (or ends) in Daejeon Metropolitan City. Though equipped with subways, intercity bus terminals, and train stations, getting to the start line requires planning and pedaling.

Here are your transportation options to get you and your bicycle to the Geumgang Bike Path:

Intercity Bus

For most of Korea’s cycling routes, intercity bus terminals are cyclists’ best points of entry and exit. For the Geumgang Bike Path, that’s true for the finish line. Fast for the start.

A picture of an intercity bus with the luggage compartment open.
Pop your bike in the luggage compartment and hop on board the intercity bus.

The Start

Daecheong Dam Certification Center (대청댐인증센터) opens the Geumgang Bike Path. It lives near Daecheong Dam and Lake on the northwest border of Daejeon Metropolitan City (대전광역시).

This far-flung region wedges between three major cities: Daejeon, Cheongju, and Sejong. Over 20 kilometers separates their major bus terminals and the start line.

Let’s check them out. (Spoiler: trains are better.)

Sejong Bus Terminal

Perhaps the simplest option, the Sejong Bus Terminal (세종고속시외버스터미널) sits less than a kilometer from the Geumgang Bike Path. It accepts intercity (timetable) and express (timetable) buses from nearby metro cities and towns.

Though it is the closest to the cycling route, the terminal lies 36.6 kilometers downriver from the Daecheong Dam Certification Center (directions). So if you jaunt upriver to the first stamp, then cycle back down, you’re staring down a 71.2-kilometer round trip (directions).

The plus side? No navigating city streets. Only one crucial turn

Daejeon’s Bus Terminals

Daejeon Metropolitan City holds plenty of intercity bus terminals and stops within its borders. Most require a 20-plus-kilometer ride to Geumgang Bike Path’s start.

However, a series of major streams flow through the downtown area. All hold bike paths that bypass normal traffic, allowing cyclists to speed to the Geumgang River.

Here are some major intercity bus stops in Daejeon:

Cheongju Bus Terminals

A provincial capital, Cheongju City dwells north of the Geumgang’s start. But its southern border lies just across the river from the Daecheong Dam Certification Center.

Its terminals sit closer than Sejong City’s and handle more buses. However, city streets and boundless farm fields separate them from the bike path’s start.

Nevertheless, they can be useful drop-off points.

One advantage cycling from Cheongju: the Musim Stream’s (무심천). It holds a bike path that leads to empty farmer roads, ushering cycles south to the Geum River.

The End

Loads of useless terminals litter the bike path’s start. But only one intercity and one express bus terminal sit at the finish line.

Both terminals settle two blocks from each other in downtown Gunsan City near the Yellow Sea. The Geumgang Estuary Bank (금강하구둑 인증센터), the end of the Geumgang Bike Path, rests 7.2 kilometers away (directions).

Gunsan’s express buses visit Seoul and a highway transfer stop (timetable). Intercity buses also visit Seoul, Daejeong, and Gwangju. Local buses stop in South Chungcheong, Gyeonggi, and more provinces (timetable).

The Middle

Gongju City and Buyeo County form the two big population centers in the middle of the Geumgang Bike Path.

Gongju Bus Terminal (공주종합버스터미널) sends out intercity (timetable) and express buses (timetable) to metro cities and South Chungcheong Province settlements. It lies 800 meters from the bike path (directions). 

Buyeo Intercity Bus Terminal (부여시외버스터미널) only works with intercity buses, but offers similar service to Gongjo (timetable). It dwells 1.5 kilometers from the bike path (directions).

The Ganggyeong Intercity Bus Stop (강경시외버스터미널) is a tiny outpost near on the edge of Nonsan City, 900 meters from the bike path (directions). Only a few buses a day depart for downtown Nonsan and Daejeon.

Geumgang Bus Terminals

Subways

The Geumgang Bike Path passes Daejeon Metropolitan City (대전광역시). It’s single line subway system (Line 2 may arrive in 2027) travels east/west and doesn’t touch the Geumgang Bike Path.

Daejeon’s Metro System offers one useful route, however.

Daejeon Bus Terminal (대전복합버스터미널) and Daejeon Station (대전역), two major transportation hubs, sit near Line 1. From them, hop on a train at Daejeon Station (대전역1호선) and ride it to Banseok Station (반석역), the end of the line.

Here, find the start of North Star Road (북유성대로), a highway with 10 kilometers of solar-panel-topped bike path wedged in the middle, connecting Daejeon to Sejong.

Cycle up North Star Road 11.2 kilometers and you’ll roll onto the Geumgang Bike Path… near Sejong Bus Terminal (세종고속시외버스터미널), 36 kilometers from the start (directions).

Remember these rules when riding Daejeon’s Subway with your bike:

  • Line 1 allows full-size bicycles on weekends and public holidays.
  • On weekdays, outside of rush hour (7:00~10:00 & 16:00~17:30), you can bring your full-size bike onto Line 1.
  • Folding bikes can board at any hour.
A picture of a Busan subway train crossing over the bike path in the city of Yangsan along the Cross-Country bike path.
The Busan subway crosses over the bike path in the city of Yangsan along the Nakdonggang Bike Path and Cross-Country Route.

Trains

Only a handful of Korea’s trains allow regular bikes on board. And each designates between 4 to 8 total spots per train.

So why bother? The closest entry point to the start of the Geumgang Bike Path is a train station. Let’s look closer.

A picture of a mugunghwa train arriving at a station in South Korea.
Though limited and require reservations, trains offer an alternative way to get you and your bike to Korea's bike paths.
Sintanjin Station

As we explored earlier, Daecheong Dam, the first certification center, lies at the end of an isolated stretch of river. No subway stations. No intercity bus stops. Just one train station (and city buses) enables those without cars access to the area.

Sintanjin Station rests on the Gyeongbu Line (경부선), which travels from Seoul Station (서울역) to Busan Station (부산역).

It sits 7.5 kilometers from the Geumgang Bike Path’s start (directions); a 14 kilometer return (directions). That’s far closer than any intercity bus terminal.

Train Trials

Want to ride a train with your full-size bike (MTB, road, hybrid)? You’ll need to book a ticket that includes a bike cradle.

How? Download the Korail app or search their website. Find one of the select trains with bicycle seats and purchase it in advance.

Read our guide to the app here and check bike-friendly train timetables here.

  • Booking online or by using the app requires an ARC number or a kind Korean friend.
  • All bicycle tickets come with a seat for the human and a cradle for the bike in an adjoining train car. 
  • All trains accept folding bicycles. No special ticket. Just compact and stuff it in the luggage compartment.
Other Stations

Five train stations lie close to the Geumgang Bike Path. Let’s explore each.

  • Bugang Station (부강역) sits on the Gyeongbu Line north of Sintangjin Station near the start of the bike path. Farther than Sintanjin, it requires a 2.2-kilometer cycle to the bike path (directions). 
  • Sintanjin Station (신탄진역) sits on the Gyeongbu Line. As mentioned above, it’s the best option to get to the start of the bike path (directions).
  • Nonsan Station (논산역) is Honam Line station on the bottom third of the Geumgang Bike Path. Because it’s in downtown Nonsan, you’ll need to navigate 9.9 km of country roads to get to the bike path (directions).
  • Ganggyeong Station (강경역), on the Honam Line, rests only 1.1 kilometers from the Geumgang Bike Path. Though 35 kilometers away, it’s the best train station to get to or from the finish line (directions).
  • Hamyeol Station (함열역) uses the Honam Line. It’s the closest to the end of the bike path. But 8.6-kilometers of country roads lie between it and the bike path (directions).

At Daejeon Station (대전역) in downtown Daejeon, the Honam Line (호남선) splinters off from the Gyeongbu Line and continues southwest to Mokpo Station (목포역).

A picture of Woryeong Bridge (월영교) on the Nakdong River in Andong City, South Korea.
Near the start of the Nakdonggang Bike Path, Woryeong Bridge connects Woryeong Park with Andong Folk Village.

Woryeong Bridge (월영교) or Woryeonggyo spans the Nakdong River a kilometer downstream from Andong DamMeasuring 387 meters long and 3.6 meters wide, Woryeong is Korea’s longest wooden bridge.

A picture of the Nakdonggang Estuary Bank (낙동강하구둑) on the Nakdong River leading to Eulsukdo Island in Busan.
The Nakdonggang Estuary Bank consists of two sections, east and west Eulsukdo Island in Busan.

Two dams comprise the Nakdong Estuary Bank (낙동강하굿둑) near the Nakdong River’s end. They block the two streams flowing around Eulsukdo Island. The east dam crosses from mainland Busan to Eulsukdo and over to the Gimhae Delta.