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Highlights

Geumgang Bike Path

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The Nakdong Bicycle Path is the longest certification path in Korea. Along its course, find natural wonders, ancient and modern highlights, and eight Four Rivers Project weirs, the most along any bike path.

Woryeong Bridge (월영교) or Woryeonggyo spans the Nakdong River a kilometer downstream from Andong Dam.

Measuring 387 meters long and 3.6 meters wide, Woryeong is Korea’s longest wooden bridge. Though the arch trestles under its deck look ancient, builders completed Woryeong in 2003. You can see modernity in the bridge’s concrete pillar base and hand railing.

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Woryeong’s name comes from the Woryeong Observatory, an ancient stargazing tower like the famed Cheomseongdae. Andong Dam flooded and destroyed it in 1976.

The walking bridge connects Woryeong Park (월영공원), which hosts the Andong Dam Certification Center, the Nakdonggang Bike Path’s start line, with the walking paths and pavilions surrounding the Andong Folk Village (안동민속촌). 

Along its span, strollers can rest under the octagonal Woryeong Pavilion or gaze out from two piers jutting from the walkway.

Fountain jets and multi-colored LEDs light up the bridge at night. In the morning, mist rises from the Nakdong River, shrouding the bridge in painterly magic.

Andong Hahoe Folk Village (안동하회마을) sits 20 kilometers west of downtown Andong City. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and visited by Queen Elizabeth in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2005, the village offers glimpses of Joseon-era architecture.

This 600-year-old settlement rests at the bottom of a bend in the Nakdong River. It’s name, “Hahoe” (하회), translates to, “river that flows around.” Surrounding spread sandy beaches, mountains, and Buyongdae Cliff (부용대), which offers a bird view of the village.

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Andong Hahoe’s layout includes 11 culturally significant and protected buildings and follows Feng Shui principles. The main hall sits in the center of town. Thatched roofed houses emanate outward, and two Confucian schools lie west and east of the village.

The village was home for the Ryu Family, which birthed a famous Joseon scholar and councilor. Today, most of the village’s 290 residents trace their lineage back to this clan.

Andong Hahoe also created, preserves, and performs one of Korea’s oldest mask dances, the Byeolsingut

Entrance isn’t free, however. At the top of a road into the village find an entry gate, the Hahoe Mask Museum, and restaurants serving Heotjesatbap (a variation on bibimbap), jjimdak (glass noodles and chicken), and salted mackerel.

Just east of downtown Sangju City (상주시) along the Nakdong River hangs Gyeongcheondae Terrace (경천대). It once held the name “Jacheondae” or “scenery created by the heavens.”

Crowned by a rock-faced cliff with an unparalleled high-angle view of the Nakdong, this famous park offers hiking trails through thick pine forests and by pavilions, a suspension bridge, and camping grounds.

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Since Joseon Dynasty times, scholars, poets, and generals have visited this natural cliffside. Here, they relaxed, contemplated, and stumbled upon dragon horses.

What?

Legend has it, legendary General Jeong Gi-ryong spotted a dragon horse living beneath Gyeongcheondae’s cliffs. So he dressed as a scarecrow and waited near the Nakdong River, where the beast often drank. Curious, the horse drew close. Brave, the General hopped on.

It’s said that General Jeong rode this ferocious animal into battle against the invading Japanese during the Imjin Wars (1592~1598).

Find a statue of General Jeong riding the ferocious horse near the artificial waterfalls.

The Sangju Bicycle Museum (상주자전거박물관) nestles along the Nakdong River just below Gyeongcheondae Terrace in Sangju City.

Built in 2002, it’s the only museum in the nation dedicated to bikes. It costs ₩1,000 a pop and opens 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Inside, find pedal powered contraptions of all shapes, sizes, and eras.

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The museum’s courtyard presents an assortment of bicycle inspired sculptures. Folks can borrow for free bikes and mill around the expansive patio.

Why a bike museum in Sangju?

In days past, Sangju was a regional hub. Its location on the Nakdong River and fertile farm fields produced disposable income for its citizens.

So when bicycles came to town in 1919, Sangju-ites bought them like hotcakes. Like cars later in the 20th century, they represented status and progress.

Sangju produced several famous cyclists, including Park Sang-heon. He won national racing competitions in Seoul, Daejeon, China, and Sangju’s own Joseon Paldo National Cycling Competition, which was held from 1925 to 1940.

Bicycles still dominate the city, averaging two per household, the most per capita in Korea. Almost 30% of Sangju residents commute by bike every day.

Sangju Weir (상주보; Sangju-bo) is the first of eight Nakdong River weirs built by the Four Rivers Restoration Project (2009~2011).

The watergate consists of 230 meters of fixed and 105 meters of movable beams. They regulate river flow, trapping water for farmers during droughts, and releasing it during downpours. Two hydroelectric power plants send 15.9 GWh per year to nearby homes.

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Sangju Weir’s design represents the local legend of Obok-dong (오복동). A lumberjack, Obok followed a deer into a nearby cave and discovered a utopia.

The five flat, pedal shaped stacks atop the weir’s three towers resemble a rose. In local legend, the flower symbolizes utopia and fruitful harvest, from which Sangju gained its wealth.

To continue on the Cross-Country and Nakdonggang Bike Path, you must cross the weir’s 540 meter bridge. Along the way, spot bicycles etched into the sides of the towers, rest in a nearby observatory, and don’t forget to stamp your bike passport at the Sangju-bo Certification Center.

Just upriver, find the futurist Gyeongcheon Bridge hopping onto Gyeongcheon Island Park (경천섬공원). Created by the Sangju Weir, this bit of land in the Nakdong River fills with strolling and picnicking families in warmer months.

Nakdan Weir (낙단보; Nakdan-bo) sits 17 kilometers south of Sangju Weir in Sangju City.

The second Four Rivers Project watergate on the Nakdong River, 142 meters of its 286-meter length are movable beams that regulate water flow for nearby farms. Two 1,500 kW hydro plants generate juice for nearby residences.

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The weir’s towers mimic the eaves of Gwansuru (관수루), one of three paramount pavilions built along the river during the Goryeo Dynasty (고려; 918~1392).

Where is Gwansuru Pavilion? Perched on the eastern banks, overlooking rushing waters a fraction of a kilometer down path (road view).

Workers discovered an ancient Buddhist statue (마애보살좌상이) carved in the granite hillside while building Nakdan Weir. It tucks under a wooden staircase southeast of the weir.

Cyclists must cross this weir to continue on the certification path, passing a post office and the Nakdan-bo Certification Center on the southeast side.

Gumi Weir (구미보; Gumi-bo), completed in 2011, might be the most photogenic Four Rivers Project watergate. Named after Gumi City, whose downtown buzzes 16 kilometers south, the weir’s towers resemble two dragons and a turtle, symbols of wisdom and longevity.

While most other weirs keep an observatory on the riverbanks, Gumi Weir’s lookout spot occupies the top floor of the middle, turtle-shaped tower. Visitors can ascend elevators or stairs and use a 360-degree view of the Nakdong to spot rare migratory birds.

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The weir itself measures 374 meters, 103 of which lift and lower to regulate water flow. Tucked on the western banks sit two small hydroelectric plants that together generate 3,000 kWh of power per day.

Cyclists and walkers can cross the weir’s 649-meter bridge and explore the western side of the Nakdong, which includes Geumo Seowon Confucian Academy (금오서원).

However, the Nakdonggang Bike Path continues on the river’s eastern banks, where the Gumi-bo Certification Center lies. Dorisa Temple (도리사), which offers temple stays, looms over all on a nearby mountain peak.

Chilgok Weir (칠곡보; Chilgok-bo) is the Nakdong River’s fourth watergate. Built by the Four Rivers Project in 2011, it borrows its name from where it stays, Chilgok County (칠곡군).

The weir measures 348 meters, with 200 meters of movable beams regulating the river’s flow, and a 452-meter maintenance and pedestrian bridge overtop. A pair of hydroelectric plants capture 15.4 GWh of juice per year to power 14,000 homes.

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Chilgok’s towers reflect the legend of Cheolu. During the Silla period, Doseon (도선; 827~898) a Buddhist monk, climbed nearby Ga Mountain (가산) and found iron bulls buried in a flat rock (가산바위) near the summit. It’s thought they brought good luck to the territory.

On the weir’s east side, find Chilgok Weir Observatory. It hosts a convenience store and an office where you can buy and certify bike passports. Chilgok-bo Certification Center sits just outside.

A handful of attractions lure families and tourists to Chilgok Weir, including: