Geoje Ridgeline trail 거제 마운틴 트레일
gyeryongsan 566 meters
seonjasan 507 meters
The Geoje Ridgeline Trail, aka the GRT, is a roughly 30km hike starting in central Geoje taking you to Mangsan at the southern tip of the island. This trail was created by a fellow teacher, and former Geoje resident, Michael Eschenbach. Michael has put together very detailed directions for the hike, so this post won’t be reinventing the wheel. You can download Michael’s detailed directions from the facebook page for the trail.
This post will include trailhead links as well as lots of pictures so I can document my hike. I’ve completed this hike twice and it really is spectacular and a great bucket list item. As of June 2019, the trail has been re-tagged with trail ribbons. I plan on making this a yearly goal to hike the trail in full to re-tag along the way (where needed) so it should be easy to follow.
In my opinion, Day 1 of the hike is much easier than Day 2. It’s possible that the entire trail could be hiked in one day, but it is definitely recommended that it be completed over two days. My hiking sidekick, Ashleigh, and I foolishly attempted to do it in one day, starting at 4am, before getting turned back due to a growling boar on the trail. Boars aside, there are so many great views, so it is better to take your time and enjoy the journey.
The trailhead begins in Jangpyeong at Simjeok Temple (심적사). You’ll follow a mountain access road before reaching a large viewing platform with a great view of Geoje. From here, you’ll make a sharp right and follow the road up the hill until eventually turning left into the woods.
Once you’re following the forest trail you’ll have already climbed the majority of the elevation, but you’ll have lots of ups and down over rocky outcrops throughout the day. There will be different forks in the trail, but there are sign posts, and it’s been well tagged. With the ribbons, signage, and Michael’s directions, you won’t get lost!
You’re first main stopping point along the way is a nice wooden gazebo that a more direct route joins up with. This is a great spot to take a break and have a snack before continuing onto the peak of Garasan. After your rest, you’ll be scrambling along rocky outcrops for a bit before reaching the peak. There are stunning views all around of both sides of the island.
The next highlight along the trail is the area where the monorail emerges. There is a store inside the monorail office, where you can buy an ice cream, drink, or snack. Both this year and last year I was hoping to reward myself with a cold beer from there, but they don’t sell alcoholic beverages as of now.
Continue past the monorail area up the wooden stairs and you will see the trail markers exiting the stairs and continuing on ahead. Enjoy the views on the viewing platforms before you go though!
You’re next stop is Seonjasan, but first you have another bit of a climb to complete. In the picture below, you’ll be heading down towards the back of that open field. Then the trail follows from there and you can see the small climb and the ridgeline that awaits curving to the left.
After a while you’ll reach another nice gazebo. Another rest is in order before continuing on!
Seonjasan is not usually a very busy mountain. Both times I’ve hiked it, I’ve only seen one or two other people up there. So if you’re looking for some solitude, this section of trail is for you. Continue following the trail and eventually you’ll come to an open grassy area. From here you’ll find trails going in different directions. Continue on straight through the other side of the area.
You’ll be working your way off of the mountain soon and finally emerge at the trailhead next to Geoje Natural Art Land. There will be one last amazing view looking down as you get near. Make sure you explore any little off-shoots so you don’t miss it!
Great job! You completed the first half of the GRT! Now it’s time to check out the second half of the GRT!