Walking past Mt. Sanbangsan. Photo courtesy Kang Yong-ho
Unsure about which Olle Trail to walk next? Perhaps you are only on Jeju for a couple of days and only have time for one or two trails?
Well, if you are unsure about which trail to hike, then we are here to help!
Back in 2011, The Jeju Weekly reviewed all the island's Olle Trails. (at the time there were only 24).
This article is a full list of all those reviews. It shows you a quick snippet of each review as well as the overall rating that was given to the trail. Simply click on the link to the individual trail to find out more information.
How were the trails were evaluated?
Firstly, these reviews are the opinion of just one person. However, as Steve Oberhauser had walked every single one of the trails when he wrote the reviews, we beleive he was very well qualified to rate all the trails.
The trails were given a score out of five in the following ten categories:
Natural scenery and landscape
Conditions of the trail
Environmental damage/lack of footprint on the area
Crowd control/compared to how many people are using the trail
Facilities around the area
Short-term impression factor
Long-term impression factor
This gave each trail a score out of fifty. The highest ranked trail on our list scored a massive 49.5, while the lowest ranked trail only scored 30 out of 50.
Which is the best Olle Trail?
Again, the best will depend on what exactly you are after on a trail. Some of them are full of oreums, some go past the island's most famous sights, while others take you deep into gotjawal forests, or past beautiful beaches. However, according to our list, the top five Olle Trails are:
“While there are constant reminders of modernity around - motorbikes, plastic coverings on gardens, and powered digging equipment - seeing a woman clearing her own field can take a walker back to a simpler time.”
"The course markers on Udo seem to be problematic in parts, perhaps due to overuse. Tourism numbers continue to climb for visits to the island, which reduces reflective time for individuals and small groups during peak season."
"In Samdal-ri, housed in a converted old elementary school is the gallery for Kim Young Gap, Jeju’s preeminent photographer who passed away in 2005. One of the top 10 highlights for all of Jeju’s Olle trails."
"Variety in small doses is apparent on this course. For lovers of the natural night, the Fireflies Reservation is the place to see lightning bugs in all their glory. Before that, Jungmun Beach is always a stronghold on the south coast."
"Gotjawal is a front-runner for this course. Although it is only a few kilometers, every step is worth the journey. Many articles have been written in English about Gotjawal and it enriches an experience to have that background knowledge before entering magical land for the first time. "
"The minor hits are Mundoji Oreum and O’Sulloc green tea fields. The home run is the long walk through Gotjawal, the pinnacle of nature on Jeju Island. This course reveals Jeju’s best-kept secret to those who do not know; affirmation to those who already do know. Gotjawal is all action, no talk. It is what it is, the best."
"Around Susanbong, there are a few nice offshoot trails, as well as on the backside a person will meet a very old (400 years) Japanese black pine and the Susan Reservoir. This short blip on the course is the place to be."
"No need to repeat all the superlatives for Chujado. If a potential hiker has a weak stomach, the high-speed ferry to the island is going to be a gamble. Prepare ahead of time for any sea conditions. Even the most harrowing ride over will be a must-do trip to experience this island’s grandeur."
"All parts of the course south of road 1132 are a complete surprise. Little is know about that stretch of land. It goes through some interesting terrain of tight forest paths and overgrown areas forgotten years ago. "
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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