Written by Emily Creasman
This post is a continuation of my last post about skiing and snowboarding at Phoenix Park for Seollal. If you haven’t read that, I highly suggest heading over after reading this one but to quickly recap, I traveled with Adventure Korea on a 4-day trip to Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang in celebration of Seollal (Korean Lunar New Years). On the third day of the trip, Adventure Korea gave us a few different options of what to do for the day: we could ski/snowboard some more, go to the resort’s waterpark, relax around the resort and hotel, or go on a snow hike. Having snowboarded the last two days, I opted for the snow hike. So, the next morning I got my utterly sore body out of bed, out the door, and on the bus heading for Seonjaryeong, a mountain located in the city of Gangneung.
On the way to the hiking trail, me and the other hikers bought crampons at a nearby rest stop called Pyeongchang Rest Stop to help prevent us from slipping on ice and snow. Seonjaryeong is actually known as one of the snowiest places in South Korea, garnering an average snowfall of more than 1 meter from late December to early March! Luckily for us, by February the snow had already begun melting so there wasn’t any thick snow to trek through, but the crampons did help with the remaining ice patches.
The hike took 4 hours to complete from start to finish. Seonjaryeong is considered relatively easy as it lacks any steep inclines. On any average day, the hike would have been no problem for me, but the last two days of snowboarding (really just falling on a snowboard for hours) made my body really want to protest going up the mountain. Nevertheless, I made it and the views were totally worth it!
There was an observation tower halfway up the trail that had a good view of the city and ocean below.
At the summit, there were giant windmills and a rock monument overlooking the mountains. The windmills were huge up close and impressive to look at, though the intense winds they produced mixed with the chilly temperature was enough for everyone to start breaking out extra gloves and hot packs.
Once we returned to the start of the trail, me and another hiker grabbed some potato rice cakes (gamja tteuk) from a nearby food stand to share (potato is one of Gangwon-do’s staple crops). While the taste of the rice cakes was simple, they were perfect for an after-hike snack!
After boarding the bus and returning to the hotel, I rested for a while in my room before cleaning up and meeting with some friends for dinner at a local restaurant. I ate grilled pollack and seaweed soup (hwangtae miyeokguk).
Like that, the day came to a successful close~ All in all, if you’re in the area, I would highly recommend going to Seonjaryeong. There were a few other trails and monuments that I didn’t visit, including a sheep farm, so I might go back in the future and try those out! If hiking during the more intense winter months, I would highly advise you to do some more research on how to prepare as the snow will be more intense.
Trail start: 5721 Gyeonggang-ro, Daegwalnyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
Rest stop: 2159-58 Gyeonggang-ro, Yongpyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do