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Photo essay: Ocheon Trail



The Ocheon Trail links the Geumgang Trail, from near Sejong, and the Saejae Trail, at Yeonpung. "O" means five and "cheon" is river or stream, so the name of the trail may refer to five rivers it follows, which might be the Mihocheon, Bogangcheon, Seonghwangcheon, Dalcheon, Anggokcheon and Ssangcheon. The route fluctuates between trails in the flood plan, dike-top trail, farm roads and low-volume rural roads.



  Art at the start of the Ocheon Trail, Mihocheon, Sejong, Korea Art at the start of the Ocheon Trail, Mihocheon, Sejong, KoreaThe Ocheon Trail to Cheongju starts where the Mihocheon (river) empties into the Geumgang, near Sejong. The beginning of the trail is identified with a couple of pieces of art.

Mihocheon (river), near Sejong, from trail to Cheongju, Korea

Ocheon Trail, Cheonju, KoreaOcheon Trail, Cheonju, KoreaOcheon Trail, Cheonju, KoreaThe 37.5km long Mihocheon is pretty, peaceful, pleasant and relatively uneventful. There is not a lot of topography in the area.

  Ocheon Trail, Cheonju, Korea Prominent on one section is a large, very visible, well guarded, helicopter base that was passed unphotographed. North of Cheongju there is clearly an airbase with fighter jets (that train most days).KTX, near Ocheon Trail, Cheongju, KoreaKTX, near Ocheon Trail, Cheongju, Korea

As the route nears Jochiwon it is easy to see the multiple levels of KTX (bullet train) tracks (right). The trains hum and swoosh by with some regularity so you are likely to see one or several.

Ocheon Bicycle Path, Cheongju, Korea

Ocheon Trai, Mihocheon section, Korea

Bollards, Ocheon Trail, Cheongju, South KoreaMost of the Mihocheon section of the bicycle path runs in the river channel, inside the dikes.  This limits the view largely to the river and the side of the dike.

They did do better with bollards in this section.  In the example here they are used to separate the lanes.

  Mihocheon (river), Cheongju, Korea Campground / picnic area, Miho Road, Cheongju, KoreaBuild with large solar voltaic array, Miho Road, Cheongju, KoreaSo often leaving the trail to ride on the dike roads pays dividends.  Some example from Miho Road, on the outskirts of Cheongju, is a broader view of the river, a build with large solar voltaic array mounted on the roof and a campground / picnic area that was pretty fully occupied. It is not El Dorado, but it gives a little information about what is happening in society.
  Cheongju city markers along Ocheon Trail, Korea Seongbulsa, Cheongju, KoreaOur visit to Cheongju was more about seeing the Ocheon Trail than exploring the town. There are plenty of points of interest in the town. Some of the things worth further investigation are; Sericulture (Silk) Science Museum, Jepmgbukdong Earth Ramparts, Baekje Relics Exhibition Hall, Early Printing Museum, Old market, Seutajon School of Theatre and Film, Cheongju Fish Market, Cheongju Art Studio and Seongbulsa (right)
  Ducks, Mihocheon, Korea Farmland, Mihocheon, Ocheon Trail, Cheonju, Korea Farmland, Mihocheon, Ocheon Trail, Cheonju, Korea Farmland, Ocheon Trail, Cheonju, Korea
    North of Cheongju the trail winds through a long stretch of agricultural country. At one point it pass near the south end of the Cheongju Airport, which is used by both civilian and military planes. Beyond that there is not much that is industrial to be found.
    Winding through farmland, Ocheon Trail, Cheonju, Korea Rice fields, Ocheon Trail, Cheonju, Korea Bridge, farmland, Ocheon Trail, Cheonju, Korea Harvesting rice, farmland, Ocheon Trail, Jeungpyeong, Korea
  Ginseng monument, Jeungpyeong, Korea Topiary and landscaping, Jeungpyeong, Korea

By the time you get to Jeungpyeong you are on to your second river.  At this point the name of the river that the trail follows in the Bogang. It should be a tributary of the Mihocheon.

The trail goes through town along the river, which has been extensively developed as a park and includes the trail.

Jeungpyeong proclaims itself the "ginseng district", but it doesn't have the country's largest ginseng festival (that would be Geumsan).

Bikeshop, Jeungpyeong, KoreaThe better concentration of hotels is southwest of the downtown. The better urban walking is in the town center, but hotels are few and less than impressive. And as is often the case, the better selection of restaurants are in the town center.

An evening stroll turned up several bike shops in town, but none that are high-end.

    North of Jeungpyeong the name of the flowing water may change but it is hard to determine what it might be. Eventually the route turns east and continues on wide shoulders on rural roads. Occasionally there are some challenges with the signing. The whole Ocheon Trail has a bit of a problem with this but it is even more challenging for the eastern half.
  Ocheon Trail, Jeungpyeong, Korea Farmland, Ocheon Trail, Jeungpyeong, Korea Ginseng, Ocheon Trail, Jeungpyeong, Korea Lettuce farm, Ocheon Trail, Jeungpyeong, Korea Lettuce farm, Ocheon Trail, Jeungpyeong, Korea

Healthy crops of rice, ginseng and lettuce can be seen along this section of the trail.

  Seonghwangcheon, Goesan, Korea


Luxury tents, Goesan, Korea

Seonghwangcheon, Goesan, KoreaSeonghwangcheon, Goesan, KoreaBefore reaching Goesan the route comes along Seonghwangcheon -- river number three of the route.  It shadows the Seonghwangcheon at least through Goesan.

East of Goesan the trail get the special infrastructure treatment again, where a viaduct as been built along the lower slope of a steep hill. Riding across the boards provides a rhythmic sound track to the ride.

Ornate lighting on Ocheon Trail, Goesan, KoreaThe next double take is a luxury tent camp next to the trail. It was empty mid-week in October. It is indeterminate whether the market is drive-in clients who want to relax by the river, or long distance cyclists who want a refined wilderness experience.

Along this section of trail there was ornate overhead lights installed (right)

  Fish ladder, Ocheon Trail, Yeonpung, Goesan, Korea Between Goesan and the Ocheon's terminus at Yeonpung, the route switches between dedicated path, farm road and low volume rural roads. It also changes rivers a couple more time, but from the signage and maps I can't tell exactly where the denotations for the Dalcheon, Anggokcheon and Ssangcheon begin and end.

It is all very pretty, except for an orange character outside of a defunct restaurant, who was just very inanimate and interesting.



Guem River Saejae Trail


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