Hiking Dinosaur Ridge – Bangawoyo Tours

by Mike Still
Hiking Dinosaur Ridge – Bangawoyo Tours

Last weekend I did what I vowed never to do again and I hiked Dinosaur Ridge, or as locals call it, Gongryong Ridge Seorak Mountain!  Ronda had never been on the trail so we joined Bangawoyo Tours for a weekend excursion to Seoraksan National Park.  We started our 15 hour trek with about 15 other crazy people just as keen on climbing the ridge-line for some awesome views.


Getting to Seoraksan National Park from Seoul
Go to Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Gangbyeon Station of Seoul Subway Line No.2, Exit 4)
 Take a bus bound for Sokcho
First bus at 06:25, last bus at 23:00 ~ Runs 49 times daily
~3 hour busride
Take a taxi or local bus 7 or 7-1 to Seoraksan National Park


This time I led the group on a loop from the main entrance past the giant Buddha towards Biseondae.  We hung a right towards Geumganggul cave to catch sunrise from the first ridge line.  Its name escapes me but I always remember it as Dinosaur Ridge’s friendly younger cousin.dsc_0031-001

Following the loop I told everyone “go straight or left and you can’t get lost.”  Truth is Dinosaur Ridge is a pretty straight forward trail.  Its just incredibly grueling with well over 10,000 ft of elevation change along the 20 km hike.

dsc_0068-001

We posed for regular pictures and Ronda sported the GoPro as we both traded off our favorite Nikon.  If you’re heading on the trail pack light!  We opted to skip extra lenses and shared the camera and were happy to keep our packs to a minimum.

Places to visit in South Korea

DCIM117GOPRO

The autumn views from the ridge line looking down onto the colorful valley below are simply amazing but green pines liter the ridge hinting at the coming winter.  Fall colors are absent this high up either from wind or just the altitude but the gigantic rock formations create an awe inspiring view that has convinced me to come back to this hellish trail again and again.

I recommend hiking Dinosaur Ridge in spring if you want to see the ridge at its peak but then you’ll miss the fall colors below.  Maybe you should just hike it three times like I did 😉

Gongryong Ridge Seorak Mountain

dsc_0093-001

The series of 8 or so peaks bring you up and down about 20 different rope courses and along a few cliffs.  Even though Dinosaur Ridge itself is only about 5km long but will take 4 or 5 hours to traverse you’ll spend another 3 or 4 hours getting there and back.

There’s no reliable water along the trail so I recommend bringing 2L per person!

dsc_0212-001

dsc_0155-001Climbing along we continually felt in awe of our surroundings.  Mountains for as far as the eye can see in every direction were a welcome sight after a grueling work week in Seoul, the world’s 3rd largest city.  Along the way you’ll find dozens of Koreans hiking in full regalia.  When we sat for a picnic lunch (provided by Bangawoyo Tours) the locals insisted we eat with them and offered us a few snacks and rice cakes!

Trekking in South KoreaDCIM117GOPROdsc_0118-001

Halfway through the ridge your legs will want to give out on you.  Take a scenic break, sretch or take a nature nap to rejuvenate them because the views are well worth the effort!

dsc_0124-001

Truth is I almost didn’t join this trek with my masters classes keeping my weeks jam packed but it turns out mountain air and a day immersed in nature were just what I needed to decompress.

dsc_0286-001

View from the final peak of Dinosaur Ridge

After hiking Dinosaur Ridge you can keep climbing towards Daecheongbang, the 3rd highest peak in Korea or turn back towards the main gate like we did.  Hiking through Cheonbuldong Valley is always amazing but especially serene in the fall.  Lucky for us the fall colors missing in the mountaintops were at their peak down here in the valley.

dsc_0301-001

South Korea Travel Guide

dsc_0353-001

Hiking in Seoraksan National Park

Although the trail was finally sloping downwards the final 3 hours along the valley felt like the worst part of this trail.  Our knees buckled and our muscles ached from a full day of climbing.  Watching the the sun rise and set in the same day gives you a different perspective on things but mostly makes you want to take a nap!

dsc_0343-001 As the sun finally went behind the mountains behind us we could only think of Korean pancakes and rice wine waiting for us at the restaurants near the entrance.  It was another successful hike and beautiful day in the mountains.  Seoraksan never fails to impress me even if I’ve been there practically a dozen times already!

South Korea Tourist Attractions

dsc_0329-001I can’t wait to join Bangawoyo Tours for another fall trip to Naejangsan National Park in 2 weeks.  Be sure to check out their Facebook page for upcoming events!  I doubt he’ll go as all out on a shorter trek but the sandwiches, granola bars, candy bars and gimbap for every hiker were the saving grace for many of us on this long trek.

Photos by Mike Still & Ronda Christensen

Mike Still on FacebookMike Still on InstagramMike Still on PinterestMike Still on Twitter
Mike Still
Mike is a travel enthusiast, photographer and teacher. He loves adventure travel, meeting the locals and exploring new culture. As an outdoor enthusiast you can often find him hiking mountains or exploring forests trying to capture the beauty of mother nature. In 2013 he founded www.LiveTravelTeach.com as he left his home in America and has been teaching or traveling around the world ever since!

You may also like

53 comments

Paul October 30, 2016 - 8:59 pm

This looks like an awesome adventure! You’re crazy for doing it twice, this sounds like the time when I did the 3 peaks challenge in Britain and vowed never to do it ever again but then got roped into doing it again a few months later! We would love to try this challenge though, especially for that scenery!

Reply
Carol Colborn October 31, 2016 - 6:29 am

I am not a hiker with plantar fasciitis but your pictures make the rocks come alive! I would love to see that scenery and hope my foot heals!

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com October 31, 2016 - 3:33 pm

Carol, I hope your foot heals soon too! There are so many beautiful places to see. If you ever make it to Seoraksan there is a cable car up a different mountain too 🙂

Reply
Norbert Micus October 31, 2016 - 7:04 am

Whow, nice pictures and a great country

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com October 31, 2016 - 3:33 pm

Thanks Norbert!

Reply
Nathan October 31, 2016 - 1:00 pm

As crazy as a fifteen hour hike sounds these photos are totally worth it! I’ve never done such a long hike in one day. I might die lol

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com October 31, 2016 - 3:34 pm

I thought I was going to die a few times Nathan. In the end its so rewarding and much more beautiful in person!

Reply
Victoria October 31, 2016 - 3:24 pm

This place has already added to my list. It really looks amazing!

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com October 31, 2016 - 3:35 pm

Its so amazing and even better in person! Hope you make it there one day 🙂

Reply
Edwina October 31, 2016 - 6:37 pm

That looks crazy exhausting! But the views do look worth the effort of getting up there, especially with the fall colours.

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 3, 2016 - 1:47 pm

It is probably the most exhausting thing I’ve done in a single day. But totally worth it!

Reply
Lala October 31, 2016 - 8:17 pm

As a new lover of hiking, this looks amazing!! The scenery looks amazing!

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 3, 2016 - 1:47 pm

Welcome to the club. Glad the hiking bug bit you 😉 There are so many beautiful places to see and the best ones can’t be found with 4 wheels

Reply
Nathan October 31, 2016 - 8:20 pm

Some great pictures, definitely need to do some more hiking.

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 3, 2016 - 1:46 pm

Hiking cleanses my mind from the busy city weeks. Get out as much as you can!

Reply
Nathan C October 31, 2016 - 8:21 pm

Some awesome photos, need to do some more hiking!

Reply
Travelog with Jem November 1, 2016 - 5:45 am

I would visit it twice like you did. One of my regrets when I was living in South-east Asia was that the travel bug had bitten me yet. I really hope I would get another chance. Korea is so beautiful.

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 3, 2016 - 1:46 pm

Jem, returning to a place is often way more exciting than seeing a new place, especially as a photographer! I hope you get to travel around SEA again soon

Reply
Evan Kristine November 2, 2016 - 5:28 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience! It was a great one and all your photos are great. More adventures to come to you! ❤️

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 3, 2016 - 1:45 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed them. Many more adventures are in the works for 2017!

Reply
Evan Kristine November 2, 2016 - 5:31 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience! That was a great one and all your photos are great. More adventures to come! ??

Reply
Night Hiking in the Fall – Seoul, South Korea | Live, Travel, Teach November 3, 2016 - 5:02 pm

[…]  I’ve been fortunate enough to take a few hiking breaks in Seoul and even got out to Seoraksan National Park and hiked Dinosaur Ridge again for some much needed nature time to de-stress and look forward to […]

Reply
NoMAD NiNo November 7, 2016 - 5:26 am

That looks real intense! I have wanted to do Dino ridge for a while now. Great pics! enjoy SEA. Thanks for sharing your life with us =)

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 8, 2016 - 12:12 pm

Nino,

If you’re in Korea you’ve got to try Dino Ridge. Its awesome!

Reply
Gokul Raj November 7, 2016 - 5:43 am

The pictures are really jaw dropping. Looks like you had a great adventure.

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 8, 2016 - 12:09 pm

The views were even better. Definitely a great adventure!

Reply
Aisha November 7, 2016 - 9:12 pm

Gorgeous photos! Those are some spectacular views that you guys were able to take in. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 8, 2016 - 12:08 pm

I always appreciate a fellow photo lover!

Reply
Sumti November 7, 2016 - 11:42 pm

Looks like an amazing adventure. Thanks for sharing the experience. Photo are amazing too 🙂

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 8, 2016 - 12:07 pm

Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

Reply
Lydia@LifeUntraveled November 8, 2016 - 1:38 am

The views are stunning! This seems like a long hike but once you start you have no choice but to finish and I’m sure it’s well worth it!

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 8, 2016 - 12:02 pm

Yeah, I remember when we passed the ‘point of no return’ and realized that even if we turned around it would be like 7 hours before we left the park

Reply
Christina November 8, 2016 - 6:04 pm

Those amazing pictures tell their own story already, and it seems like doing the hike twice was well worth it! And earned yourself that treat of pancakes 🙂

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 8, 2016 - 10:22 pm

Those were the best pancakes I’d ever eaten haha! Glad you like my photos 🙂

Reply
Jessica November 11, 2016 - 2:10 am

That looks super intense! This post describes how I feel pretty much every time I go hiking… it seems grueling at first, physically exhausting, but is usually worth it in the end. I can tell by the photos this one was worth the work! Too bad you didn’t see any dinosaurs though.

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 14, 2016 - 3:34 pm

Jessica,

It would have been something else if I saw dinosaurs right? Its absolutely worth the effort!

Reply
Wanderlust Vegans November 12, 2016 - 7:26 am

Such beauty! I dont know if i could do a hike like this. I love the views, very magical, but the climb would be a nightmare.

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 14, 2016 - 3:35 pm

It was magical to stand on the ridge and just look in either direction at the mountains! Nightmarish climb but well worth it

Reply
Bella WW November 13, 2016 - 1:21 am

The view from up there is incredible, so it’s very understanding why you wanted to hike it the second time. I would love to go there and enjoy that amazing landscape.

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 14, 2016 - 3:35 pm

Bella,

I hope you make it up to Dinosaur Ridge one day!

Reply
Brown Gal Trekker November 15, 2016 - 12:50 am

Beautiful trail. I was in Seoul in winter but didn’t get a chance to hike. I’ll add this to my list next time.

Reply
mike.j.still@gmail.com November 15, 2016 - 11:12 am

This trail is actually about 3 hours from Seoul in Seoraksan National Park. If you want to hike in Seoul I recommend checking out my post on Bukhansan National Park that you can reach on the subway!

Reply
Kathy November 30, 2016 - 11:40 pm

This is exactly what I needed to read right now. I am in Seoul at the moment with my also very active friend. We been looking for hikes which are a day trip away from Seoul before we move on. This is perfect!

Reply
Mike Still December 1, 2016 - 1:06 pm

Kathy, how long are you in Seoul for? Sokcho is pretty easy to get to on public buses (about 3 hour journey) but you’ll want to spend the night at a guesthouse near the park.

A closer option might be Bukhansan National Park
livetravelteach.com/2015/06/16/a-guided-hike-up-dobongsan-bukhansan-national-park-south-korea/

Or you could try and join a night hike!
http://livetravelteach.com/southeast-asian-adventure/night-hiking/

Reply
Carmen Baguio December 1, 2016 - 5:57 am

That looks like quite the hike. I don’t know if my legs could handle it, but the views would be a true motivation for me! Love your pictures!

Reply
Mike Still December 1, 2016 - 1:08 pm

Glad you liked it Carmen! If you can’t handle the steep climbs of Dino Ridge there are still some amazing trails in Seoraksan. Plus there’s a cable car!

http://livetravelteach.com/2014/10/15/seoraksan-3-germans-a-finn-and-me/

Reply
Katalin @ Our Life, Our Travel December 1, 2016 - 2:14 pm

This Ridge hike looks amazing! 10.000 feet elevation gain is pretty impressive (now I am pretty fine with half of it :D) ! I would love to do it!

Reply
Madhurima Maiti December 2, 2016 - 2:12 am

I enjoy hiking and this is just amazing! Though initially I cringed at fifteen hours but then realized how beautiful the experience could be. The pictures are wonderful. I just hope I can visit this place soon. And yes, I actually clapped while reading that you recommended visiting twice to catch the flavors of the different seasons. You sound so me! 🙂

Reply
Mike Still December 2, 2016 - 4:07 pm

Madhurima its so much fun to revisit places and see how they change with the seasons!

Reply
Beomseo February 10, 2017 - 5:26 pm

Hello, Mr. Still. I enjoy hiking Bukhansan, so looking at this blog, I again feel like hiking to Bukhansan. Happy new year and I hope you find more amazing places. Bye!

Reply
Mike Still February 10, 2017 - 5:47 pm

Thank you Beomseo! I will miss teaching you. When you go hiking think of me. I love hiking in Bukhansan too. Have fun in 5th grade!

Reply
Seoraksan National Park Autumn Korea Day Trip - Live, Travel, Teach March 7, 2018 - 7:50 pm

[…] fall much sooner at the higher altitudes.  If you do this hike the right, way which I explain here, then you’ll enjoy lots of fall colors in Cheonbuldong Valley and at Bisondae Rocks on the […]

Reply
Seoraksan National Park, Best Day Trips for Autumn in Korea - Live, Travel, Teach June 19, 2018 - 10:58 am

[…] you decide to go in the fall then I recommend following the route I explain here, so you can enjoy lots of fall colors in Cheonbuldong Valley and at Bisondae Rocks on the way […]

Reply

Leave a Reply