▲ Oedolgae with Mun-sum (island) in the background. Photo by Veronica Fortune.
As summer brings more visitors to this lovely island, it can be relaxing to try to get away from the crowds. At first glance Jeju Olle Route 7 seems like it would be a place to avoid during the high season.
It starts at the best place to view Oedolgae Rock, which means that any hiker enjoying this route will have to contend with a crowd for the first kilometer or so of their hike. But after reaching Seogwipo Girl’s High School, about one and a half kilometers into the hike, the crowds thin out and one can enjoy the 15.1 kilometer trail without too much company.
In addition to the views of Oedolgae Rock at the beginning of Route 7, hikers can find Seon-nyeo Tang, one of the many public pools along this course. Local legend holds that Seon-nyeo, fairies, used it for bathing many centuries ago.
For the first kilometer islands dot the seascape and local fishing boats are seen floating on the ocean. Along this stretch there are also some smaller side trails for hikers to enjoy. If there is time, take one down to the water’s edge, but watch out for the waves as they can come up quickly.
▲ beautiful scenery of Dombaenang Road, a forest road linking Oedolgae and Seogwipo Girls’ High School. Photo by Kang Kil Soon.
This route cuts inland in a few places and it helps to follow the blue arrows and the yellow and blue ribbons that mark all olle courses. There have been a few changes made to the route in recent months.
After returning to the coastline the trail continues through rocky beaches and a few small towns. Every few kilometers hikers will find more natural swimming holes which are run by the Jeju Provincial government. Hikers should keep their eyes peeled for the famous Subong-ro and Subong-gyo.
This bridge and path were built by a local man using only his hands, a spade, and a sickle. To honor his dedication they both bear his name. These are great places to sit, swim, or rest. There is usually shade around each swimming hole and often food stands nearby.
▲ Locals gathering shellfish near Seogon-do. Photo by Veronica Fortune.
The World Cup Stadium can be seen once hikers are past Bubhwan Port, and adds an interesting flair to the landscape of grasses and palm trees. At this point the land surrounding the trail becomes flatter, so hikers can take in the sights in all directions. The trail also gets a little easier at this point.
The 1.1 kilometers from Seogeon-do to Poonglim Resort have some challenging parts, but also provide some of the most inspiring views. Not only do the wonderful ocean views continue, but the trail also provides a good vantage point for panoramas of Halla Mountain.
At Poonglim Resort there is a lovely park with a beautiful gazebo, hung with shell wind chimes that create a wonderfully soothing melody. This is a great place to stop and rest before finishing the route. Inside the resort is a Family Mart hikers can purchase supplies before heading homeward.
From Poonglim Resort to Wolpyeong Port most of the walk is relatively easy. These last six kilometers should take most hikers a little over and hour and a half. Green house after green house is found along this inland portion, many growing Jeju's famous oranges.
▲ a coastline looking at Beom-sum. Photo by Veronica Fortune.
It can be a little difficult to follow the ribbons at a few points through here, but just look a little higher up on the trees and light poles, they are there.
While on the route hikers will be struck by the kindness of those they meet. Being outside and experiencing the beauty that Jeju has to offer seems to bring out the best in people, and makes this scenic hike all the more enjoyable.
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