Bike Path Overview
The Gyeongbuk Bike Path is shorter than the northern Gangwon Bike Path — 122 versus 225 kilometers. But it features several sudden and steep climbs.
Unlike other bike paths, Gyeongbuk doesn’t start and end with certification centers (stamp booths). Yeongdeok’s southern border and Uljin’s northern border defined its endpoints.
(You won’t miss the first certification center if you begin in Ganggu.)
Continue north past villages to a resurrected sunrise park on a hilltop. Then tackle a series of steep climbs until you reach Chuksan, Yeongdeok’s second largest port. It features a bamboo blanketed mountain and lighthouse observatory.
From Chuksan, follow a wavy coast to the 8-kilometer long Goraebul Beach (a.k.a. “Whale Fire Beach”), one of the east coast’s most famed beaches.
Begin by cycling north under a seaside mountain covered in highlights. Pass a crab sculpture park and land near a pair of ancient pavilions — Wolsong, surrounded by pine trees, and Daepung tucked behind houses in Gusan Port.
From Gusan Port, hop over back-to-back hills to Giseong Mangyang Beach, where you’ll find a second crab sculpture park. At the top of the beach, rest at the Mangyang Service Area, then continue up the coast and discover a collection of landmarks: another ancient pavilion, an expansive eco park with a cable car, and a bridge decorated with giant metallic fish.
The Gyeongbuk Bike Path crosses one province and two counties. Here are brief breakdowns of each.
- North Gyeongsang Province (경상북도; map) is one half of the old Gyeongsang Province. The largest province by area, it birthed several famous leaders and scholars, like Yi Hwang (이황; ₩1,000 bill). The province’s most visited city is Gyeongju. Known as Korea’s open-air museum, the old Silla capital claims countless relics and museums.
- Yeongdeok County (영덕군; map) earns its fame for snow crabs, which thrive just offshore in the East Sea. The rural county offers the expansive Goraebul Beach, large ports, and seaside parks, which tourists visit to see the first sunrise on New Year’s.
- Uljin County (울진군; map), like Yeongdeok County, earns its reputation by catching and cooking up the best snow crabs in Korea. The district also owns many natural and historic sites, including a pair of ancient seaside pavilions, busy ports, and pristine eco parks.
The first climb leads to Sunrise Park. The north and southward ascents are similar in length and steepness.
- Total Climb (northward): a 55-meter climb over 687 meters with an 8% average incline (directions).
- Total Climb (southward): a 46-meter climb over 577 meters with an 8% average incline (directions).
The second hill begins north of Nomul Port (map). The climbs in each direction are identical.
- Total Climb (northward): a 56-meter climb over 723 meters with a 7% average incline (directions).
- Total Climb (southward): a 55-meter climb over 770 meters with a 7% average incline (directions).
The third hill passes through Seokri Village (map). The southwards climb offers a greater challenge than the northward ascent (9% gradient vs. 6.5%).
North Gyeongsang Province Coast
The Gyeongbuk Bike Path traverses the coast of North Gyeongsang Province (경상북도; map) on the East Sea. Sits in the country’s southeast, it was one half of Gyeongsang Province (경상도) from 1314 to 1896 CE.
Though Korea split Gyeongsang into north and south provinces, North Gyeongsang Province still accounts for 18.95% of South Korea’s total area, the second largest behind Gangwon Province. But, when Daegu became a self-governing metropolitan city in 1981, North Gyeongsang became the nation’s second least populated.
The East Sea has a handful of unique characteristics:
- It’s the deepest of the three bodies of water that surround the peninsula.
- Narrow straits effectively separate it from other bodies of water, including the Pacific.
- A relatively higher oxygen level produces abundant marine life.
The residents of North Gyeongsang Province’s coast depend on the East Sea’s bountiful fish and crustaceans for food and commerce.
How To Get There
The Gyeongbuk Bike Path isn’t like other certification bike paths, which mark their endpoints with certification centers (stamp booths). The borders of Yeongdeok County and Uljin County define the Gyeongbuk Bike Path’s start and finish lines.
No major town lives on these boundaries. Getting to them presents a challenge.