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Bike Changnyeong to Busan

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The winding, flat end of the Nakdonggang and Cross-Country Paths.

You’ve made it. Breath deep. Get your wind.

This last leg of the Nakdonggang Bike Path forgoes hills. Its vistas sweep along the wide Nakdong River as it meanders through waterside parks.

In Busan (부산시), Korea’s second largest city, the river spills into the Korea Strait.

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Namji Busan - Distance City Names
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Namji Bridge to Changnyeong Haman Weir

Ride east along the Nakdong River along riverside parks to the Nakdong’s final weir.

Directions (9.9 km)

Exit Namji Town (남지읍). Cycle across the Nakdong on the blue-trussed Namji Bridge (남지교; road view).

On the south side, find Neunggasa Temple (능가사) clinging to a rocky outcrop above the river (road view). Its well-tended temple keeps vibrant patterned eaves and a pair of Buddha statues.

Follow a rural road seven kilometers along the river (directions). Hop the Haman River Ferry Forest (함안강나루숲) for a short stretch to avoid barreling automobiles.

After bending around a panoramic bridge (road view), find a blue arrow bike sign pointing left down a side street (road view). Follow it until you wash upon another bike path (road view).

Swivel onto a road with a protected bike lane (road view) and wheel to Changnyeong Haman Weir (창녕함안보; Changnyeong Haman-bo).

Head inside the management center (road view). Find a museum and someone who’ll certify your bike passport. Visit the Changnyeong Haman-bo Certification Center outside to collect your stamp.

286.9 km (Nakdonggang Bike Path)

The Changnyeong Haman Weir (창녕함안보; Changnyeong Haman-bo) is the final Nakdong River weir built by the Four Rivers Project. Completed in 2012, its name comes from Changnyeong (창녕군) and Haman (함안군), the counties on its north and south ends.

The weir measures 549 meters long. Retractable watergates makeup 144 meters of its length. They regulate the river’s flow, providing water for local farmers. Four small hydro plants create 50 GWh of electricity per year, enough power for 8,000 households.

286.5 km (178 mi) from start
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Changnyeong Hamanbo certification center checkpoint stamp for Korea's Bicycle Certification system.

Changnyeong Haman Weir to Haman City

Hop north and south along the Nakdong River as it flows east through a series of eco parks.

Directions (19.2 km)

Cross Changnyeong Haman Weir and swivel into Gilgok Eco Park (길곡수변생태공원). At night, green LEDs embedded in the path’s center line light the way.

Carve under willow trees and by waves of white-haired autumn grass. Find toilets and camping families strewn about.

Further down, dip to the water on a concrete bridge (road view), then wash onto a road before Sowu Pavilion (소우정), dedicated to a local Joseon Dynasty scholar (road view).

Watch out! After a 37-meter hill, the next 5 kilometers (directions) switches between the safe paths of Hakpo Eco Park (학포수변생태공원) and a road with an uncomfortable shoulder (road view). Keep your eye trained for the turn offs herehere, and here.

Ride under, then over Bonpo Bridge (본포교road view). If the traffic is light, stop mid-deck and admire Cheonma Mountain (천마산) rising behind the Nakdong (road view).

Land on the northern edge of Changwon City (창원시), the capital of South Gyeongsang Province (경상남도). Continue east for 6 kilometers on the river’s south side until you reach Su-san Bridge (수산대교).

Is it dark? Head across the river and into Hanam Town (하남읍), a waterside settlement in Miryang City (밀양시). Find motels, restaurants, and convenience stores.

Is the sun still in the sky? Forge forth.

Hanam Town to Sinnakdong Steel Bridge

Pick a side. Ride the Nakdong River’s north side and view a panorama of merging rivers. Cycle the south side and travel through a tunnel, cutting kilometers off your route.

From Hanam Town along the Nakdong River, the Nakdonggang Bike Path splits in two. However, the diverging routes lead to Sinnakdong Steel Bridge not too far down the path.

Su-san Bridge (수산교road view) represents the fork.

  • Cross the Su-san Bridge to ride the north side bike path, the “official” Nakdonggang route. It offers a peripheral-filling vista of the Miryang and Nakdong River’s merging. But it also detours around the Miryang River, adding 7.5 kilometers to your trip.
  • Don’t cross the Su-san Bridge to cycle the south side bike path. Shorter than the north, it flows past villages, riverside parks, and through a converted train tunnel.

Let’s explore each.

South Side

Directions (15.6 km)

Cycle under Su-san Bridge and pedal into Daesan Town Culture and Sports Park (대산문화체육공원). Pass a flower garden (대산플라워랜드), a green waterside expanse, then climb switchbacks into Yudeung Village (유등리).

Roll along an embankment, by farm homes and greenhouses, and into Gimhae City (김해시), South Gyeongsang Province’s second largest city and Busan neighbor.

Float above Sulmoe Ecological Park (술뫼생태공원) and spot an 18-hole course (road view) where aged folks play a hybrid of croquet and golf.

Navigate through a village (road view) on the top of Hallim Town (한림면) and cruise until you meet Hwapo Stream (화포천), a Nakdong River tributary that reaches deep into Gimhae City.

At the stream’s mouth, find Hallim Drainage Gate (한림배수문). The rebuilt 23-meter long watergate prevents the mighty Nakdong from flooding upstream towns.

Swivel inland and hop Hwapo Stream. Plow into quaint Geumgok Village (금곡리), then zig right (road view) and zag left (road view) until you arrive at the mouth of Masa Tunnel.

Masa Tunnel

318.7 km (Nakdonggang Bike Path)

Completed in 1963, Masa Tunnel (마사터널) once carried trains on the Gyeongjeon Line (경전선), which spans the nation’s southern coast, connecting Miryang City to Gwangju Metropolitan City (광주광역시).

The train tunnel, however, lost its job of 47 years when the rail company completed a new electrified double-track, which runs parallel to the old tracks.

In 2019, Gimhae City revitalized the 329-meter long, 4-meter wide Masa Tunnel. Inside, they removed tracks and added bike paths and decorative lights.

Thank Masa Tunnel as you work your way through its refrigerated insides. Before it, the cycling route ascended the Mojeong Pass (모정고개), a 70-meter-tall hill above you. 

Burst into Masa Tunnel’s courtyard, rest at the Unmanned Bicycle Cafe (마사자전거카페). Or take photos of the art installations reinterpreting the Gaya Confederacy, the ancient states that occupied the area.

Slide onto a country road, cycle by farms, Cafe Dumoeli (카페 들머리), quirky coffee shop overflowing with shabby chic, and Saengnim Auto Camping Site (생림오토캠핑장).

Down the road, the criss-crossing cage of Nakdong River Railroad Bridge (낙동강철교), which carries Gyeongjeon Line’s new tracks, shoots overhead and across the Nakdong (road view). 

Pedal further and arrive at a shabby noodle shop (삼거리국수집) near “Old” Samrangjin Bridge’s entrance.

Samrangjin Bridge

On either end of “Old” Samrangjin Bridge (삼랑진교), named after nearby Samrangjin Town (삼랑진읍), perch 3-meter square frames with 2-meter wide bumpers (road view & road view).

Why? Samrangjin Bridge opened in 1905. Its century-old trusses have only the strength to carry cyclists and family sedans across the Nakdong River. Those makeshift gates forbid fat freight trucks from buckling the bridge’s geratric supports.

Before you ride onto the old bridge, stop at a patio fitted picture frame framing Sinnakdong Steel Bridge and mountains (road view).

Find a friend or fellow cyclist. Hand them your smartphone. Pose in front of the frame and lift your bike above your head. Say “money.”

Cross the river and meet the Nakdonggang’s north side bike path a couple hundred meters before Sinnakdong Steel Bridge.

North Side

Directions (23.1 km)

Want to take the “official” Nakdonggang route from Hanam Town to Sinnakdong Steel Bridge

Find a cycling on-ramp (road view) that leads directly onto the deck of Su-san Bridge (수산교). Cross to the north banks of the Nakdong River and land in the middle bottom of Hanam Town.

Hungry? Tired? Cycle two streets in and find the main road. Travel a little west and discover motels, restaurants, and convenience stores.

Feel fit to ride? Travel east from Hanam Town and dip into a riverside park. After 5 kilometers, roll by Miryang Auto Campsite (밀양오토캠핑장). Find a fountain and fill your water bottles (road view).

Churn 6 more kilometers and arrive at a pavilion (road view). Climb off your bike and rest inside. Watch the Miryang River (밀양강) dump into the Nakdong behind a backdrop mountains. Leaping the currents below, find the gridded trusses of the Nakdong River Railroad Bridge (낙동강철교), which carries Korea’s flagship KTX trains on the Gyeongjeon Line.

Continue on. Wind around a wide bend onto the Miryang River. Travers a 10-kilometer detour up, across (road view), then back down the waterway (direction).

Just before rejoining the Nakdong River, hop onto a one-lane road that passes riverside buildings clinging to low cliffs (road view).

Ripple along rocky faces and dip under trusses of the Nakdong River Railroad Bridge. It’s the first of five bridges clustered on this section of the Nakdong.

  1. Nakdong River Railroad Bridge (낙동강철교) — KTX railroad bridge built in 2009. It took over the Sinnakdong Bridge’s duties.
  2. “Old” Samrangjin Bridge (삼랑진교) — a single-lane bridge completed in 1905. Connecting the north and south side bike paths from Hanam Town, it allows bikes and small to midsize cars across.
  3. Sinnakdong Steel Bridge (신낙동강철교) — a train bridge transformed into a railbike park. More below.
  4. “New” Samrangjin Bridge (신삼랑진교) — completed in 2011. This two-lane truss bridge connects Miryang and Gimhae Cities.
  5. Nakdong “Big” Bridge (낙동대교) — carries the tolled New Daegu Busan Expressway (신대구부산고속도로).

Sail into a riverside park. Just before Samrangjin Bridge (삼랑진교), the south side bike path rejoins the north (road view).

Sinnakdong Steel Bridge (신낙동강철교) arrives a couple hundred meters later (road view).

Sinnakdong Steel Bridge to Yangsan Water Culture Hall

As the Nakdong River bends south, cycle along boardwalks above the river and beside the Gyeongbu Line, Korea’s most traveled railroad.

Directions (19.5 km)

Cross under Sinnakdong Steel Bridge and enter Samrangjin Eco Culture Park (삼랑진생태문화공원).

If you head 1.7 kilometers north, you’ll find Samrangjin Station (삼랑진역), the first rail station along the lower reaches of the Nakdonggang Bike Path (directions).

Along the river, the bike path curls and nestles next to the Gyeongbu Line (경부선), which carries KTX and ITX Saemaeul trains from Seoul to Busan.

Up ahead, the rail line shoves the cycling route into the Nakdong, along the first of two long boardwalks that meander over the river’s current (road view).

Cycle 2 kilometers then land on a path of expansive river bank (road view). In its southeast, find Gayajinsa Temple (가야진사). First built in 1708, locals performed rituals for ancestors and dragon gods in its walls.

As the riverbank narrows again, roll near Wondong Village (원동면). Malnourished? Head into town under an overpass to grab grub (road view).

Take out your camera (smartphone)! A famed photo-zone lives just beyond Wondong Village.

  • In spring, photographers flock here to fill their memory cards full of the Gyeongbu Railroad curving below cherry blossom-covered mountains.

Below the winding railroad, fly south along a sliver of land until Seoryong Park (서룡공원).

Still hungry? Drop by a pathside food truck (road view). Tired? Take a break and chat with cyclists at a nearby rest stop (road view).

From Seoryong Park, enter the second stretch of cycling boardwalk snaking over the river.

Near its end, the boardwalk swerves around the Yangsan Water Culture Hall (양산물문화전시관), a water pumping station once open to the public (road view).

Land back on dry ground just in front of the Yangsan Water Culture Hall Certification Center.

양산 물문화관
341.2 km (212 mi) from start
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Yangsan Water Culture Center certification center checkpoint stamp for Korea's Bicycle Certification system.

Yangsan Water Culture Hall to Daedong Hwamyeong Bridge

Ride through a sweeping riverside park into Busan Metropolitan City.

Pedal on from the Yangsan Water Culture Hall Certification Center.

Roll by water processing facilities, a coffee and bike shop (road view), and into Hwangsan Park (황산공원), an expansive riverside park in Yangsan City (양산시).

Here bike paths wind around recreation fields, campsites, and grassy laws. Near its end, squeeze onto Hopo Bridge (호포교) and jump Yangsan Stream (양산천).

(Don’t get lost! Yangsan Stream’s bike path splits from the Nakdong route here.)

Hopo Bridge hangs near Hopo Station (호포역), a subway stop on Busan Subway Line 2.

Busan Subway System

Need to get across Busan? Have a bike? If it’s the weekend or holiday, cyclists can take their full-size bikes onto Busan Metro’s Line 1, Line 2, & Line 3. (Folding bikes can ride anytime.)

Busan Metro Line 2 runs parallel to the last stretch of the Nakdonggang Bike Path in Busan. Beginning with Hopo Station (호포역) in Yangsan and ending at Busan’s Sasang Station (사상역), twelve stations lie just off the bike path.

Ride down a slim river bank between the Gyeongbu Line and Nakdong River. Pass under the uncrossable-on-bike, cable-stayed Nakdong River Bridge (낙동강대교) and enter Busan Metropolitan City (부산시).

The riverbanks expand as you glide into Hwamyeong Ecological Park (화명생태공원). This is the first of five eco parks built by the Four Rivers Project along the Nakdong Estuary. They preserve wetlands on both the east and west banks.

Hwamyeong Eco Park is the smallest (1.41 sq km), but it boasts winding boardwalks over a photogenic marsh full of migratory birds. A nearby marina hosts an eco river cruise.

Double Paths!

Hwamyeong Eco Park Bike also hosts the Daedong Hwamyeong Bridge (대동화명대교). 

Why is it important? Do I need to cross? It’s up to you. 

East and west side bike paths run along the Nakdong River from Yangsan City until Eulsukdo Island, the finish line. However, Daedong Hwamyeong Bridge’s pedestrian and cycling lane (road view) provides your first access to the Nakdong River’s west side.

The “official route” runs on the east side of the Nakdong River in Busan until Eulsukdo Island. But the west side lands in the same destination and it offers fewer obstacles.

Let’s explore both.

East Side to Eulsukdo Island

Cycle the last section of the Nakdonggang Bike Path on the river’s east side. Cross eco parks and slog along an arduous embankment between two busy roads. Finish on Eulsukdo Island, a bird sanctuary on the edge of the Korea Strait.

Pedal under Daedong Hwamyeong Bridge and through the rest of Hwamyeong Eco Park.

Just before Gupo Nakdong River Bridge (구포낙동강교), the route swivels east and crawls along Gangbyeon Road (강변대로).

Squeeze next to Busan Subway Line 3 then dip below Gupo Subway Station (구포역; road view). Wash out near the Gangbyeon Road’s northbound lanes, which float over the river (road view).

The Arduous Embankment

Zoom up a small hill onto an arduous embankment and crawl down a tree-canopied path squashed between Gangbyeon and Nakdong (낙동대로) Roads.

Why arduous? This stretch only lasts 6.9 kilometers (directions), but both its single-lane bike and walking paths (road view) fill with zigzagging and pausing strollers. Watch out!

The arduous embankment also passes six Gangbyeon Road offramps, each gated with time-sucking traffic lights.

While the arduous embankment has benefits — glowing trees past dusk, bathrooms, and a shady canopy — there is an alternative.

Samnak Ecological Park (삼락생태공원), the largest Nakdong Estuary park (4.72 sq km), maintains the arduous embankment. The park’s reedy marsh, willow trees, and grasslands attract both migratory birds and bird watchers.

Want to ride it? Because Gangbyeon Road cuts off access, there’s only one inlet about a fifth of the way down the arduous embankment (road view). Follow it into and across the park’s quicker paths (directions).

Both the arduous embankment and Samnak Eco Park touch down on a bike-lane enabled sidewalk along the busy Gangbyeon Road (road view).

This straightaway blasts by 4.3 kilometers (directions) to the Nakdong Estuary Bank. It crosses to Eulsukdo Island (aerial view), the Nakdonggang Bike Path’s finish line.

West Side to Eulsukdo Island

Explore two ecological parks on the Gimhae Delta, the nation’s most fertile patch of dirt. End at Eulsukdo Island at the bottom of the Nakdong River.

Though the west side route adds 2 kilometers to your trip, it subtracts a mountain of headaches as you avoid the cramped quarters of the east side’s arduous embankment.

First things first. How can you get to the Nakdong river’s western banks? Daedong Hwamyeong Bridge in Hwamyeong Ecological Park.

Three-hundred meters before the bridge, turn left near soccer fields, weave to the back of the park, and climb switchback wooden ramps onto the bridge’s deck (directions; road view).

Land on the Gimhae Delta (aerial view). This patch of accumulated sediment at the river’s end is Korea’s largest delta. It’s also the most fruitful farmland. Find an endless grid of fields and greenhouses on its shores.

Cycle down an embankment and into Daejeo Ecological Park (대저생태공원), another Nakdong Estuary park built by the Four Rivers Project. In its plot (2.66 sq km), find rec fields, walking paths, and every April, a Canola Flower Festival painting its grasslands yellow.

As you sail down the eco park, notice a parallel access road 50 meters to the east (road view). Though frequented by family SUVs, cyclists often hop on it. It doesn’t zig or zag like the bike path and runs all the way to Eulsukdo Island.

Downriver, 2 kilometers after Daejeo Eco Park narrows to a green sliver, spot a turnoff that leads to Airport Road (공항로road view). If you navigate 2.2 inland (directions), you’ll arrive at Gimhae International Airport (김해국제공항), Korea’s fourth largest airport.

(Gimhae Airport and Gimhae Delta once sat in Gimhae City (김해시). When Busan City claimed the land, the names stuck.)

The riverbanks swell as you roll into Maekdo Ecological Park (맥도생태공원), the last in the Nakdong Estuary.

In the past, rice gushed from the park’s soil and into farmers’ bushels. However, in 2006, the Four Rivers Project razed the paddies and gave the land back to its original owners: migratory birds and water-bound wildlife.

At the end of Maekdo Eco Park, the bike path curves and lands on the western side of the Nakdong Estuary Bank. It crosses to Eulsukdo Island (aerial view), the Nakdonggang Bike Path’s end.

The End

Welcome to the end.

East Side Access

Did you travel the “official route”? Zoom down the eastern portion of the Nakdong Estuary Bank (road view). Peak below at the mini canal built for fishing boats to pass between the Nakdong River and the Korea Strait (road view).

Land on Eulsukdo Island and take the first right (road view) and hop into Eulsukdo Tower Park (을숙도탑공원road view). Up ahead, find a gateway that reads “Welcome.” It’s your finish line.

West Side Access

Take the headache-free route? Zip across the western section of the Nakdong Estuary Bank (road view). Touch down on Eulsukdo Island and cycle along South Nakdong River Road.

Before the finish line, pass a handful of sights queue along the roadway.

Near Eulsukdo Island’s eastern edge, pass a glass-faced building, then take a left at a blue bike sign (road view). (This is where the east and west side bike paths meet.)

Roll into Eulsukdo Tower Park. Up ahead, find a gateway that reads “Welcome.” Your finish line.

The Finish Line

Glide under the “Welcome” gate in Eulsukdo Tower Park. Glance around the courtyard.

In front of the River Culture Center, near a dribbling stream and pond, find the Nakdonggang Estuary Bank Certification Center (낙동강하구둑 인증센터), the last (or first) stamp booth on the Nakdonggang Bike Path and Cross-Country Route.

369.4 km (230 mi) from start
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Nakdonggang Estuary Bank certification center checkpoint stamp for Korea's Bicycle Certification system.

Stamp your passport and bask in golden rays of glory.