About Jaein Falls (jaein pokpo [재인폭포])
Jaein Falls (Jaein Pokpo [재인폭포]) was a plunging basalt waterfall said to be over 18m tall (though I swore it seemed quite a bit taller than that).
While the waterfall itself was impressive, I found that its surrounding features and trail infrastructure allowed me to better appreciate the geology here as well as get nice photos from all sorts of perspectives.
It’s said that this waterfall was the result of lava from Mt Ori flowing in reverse (also called a “lava backwash”) where the Hantan River meets a smaller drainage and backs up.
This ultimately has the effect of depositing an accumulation of the hardened basalt over the stream bed (as evidenced by the prevalence of basalt lava around the falls and its gorge) before becoming subject to erosion.
Over time, the remaining basalt is exposed to flowing water and other elements exacerbating the erosion, where the hard basalt tends to “flake” off over time thereby resulting in vertical cliffs.
In the case of Jaein Falls, there just so happened to be a drainage funneling the water right towards the drop off.
Experiencing Jaein Falls
As far as experiencing the Jaein Falls, I was already able to see it from a distance roughly 150m from the car park (see directions below).
Beyond the first lookout, after another 300m or so, I then encountered a suspension bridge affording me the most direct look of the Jaein Waterfall from high up its gorge.
Speaking of the gorge height, this was something I could appreciate because there had been one section of the bridge where you can see through glass or some kind of transparent material towards the gorge floor.
By the way, at either end of the bridge, I had a choice to continue further upstream in a bit of a semi-loop that included an overhanging lookout platform as well as a lookout on the opposite side providing a closer look at the basalt cliffs.
Or, I could also continue downstream from the far end of the bridge before descending a series of steps and an elongated switchback ultimately reaching a lookout downstream of the bottom of the Jaein Falls (almost directly underneath the bridge).
The way I did this hike, I did the bottom lookout in an out-and-back manner while I did the lollipop loop by going across the suspension bridge first before going counterclockwise towards the overhanging platform.
After having my fill of the overhanging platform, I then returned back the way I came (opting not to linger at the food trucks opposite this platform).
Right before returning to the car, I did check out a lookout with a partial view of some dam on the Hantangang River System as well as some nice flowers in bloom in a vegetated patch
According to my GPS logs, the hike to take it all in was on the order of 2km, and it took me about an hour and 20 minutes to complete.
Of course, it easily could have been shorter, but I happened to meet some known Korean movie producer as well as his recording crew.
Indeed the Jaein Falls was probably the most scenic of the waterfalls that I targeted in the Hantangang River Geopark north of Seoul.
Heck, the waterfall’s presence in some K-drama shows as well as in movies let alone that producer and his crew that I met) further underscored this place’s scenic allure.
Jaein Falls resides near the Yeoncheon-eup town in Yeoncheon-gun county of the Gyeonggi-do Province, South Korea. It is administered by the Hantangang River Geopark as well as local authorities. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.
Jaein Falls is in the Hantangang River Geopark near Yeoncheon.
Rather than confuse you with a bunch of turn-by-turn directions that won’t mean anything to you, I’ll just tell you that it’s best to use a Korean routing software on a phone that’s hooked up to the Korean Network (we prefer using a SIM card for this).
I actually drove here from the Bidulginang Falls, but I used the Kakao Map app to get me to the Jaen Falls typing in 재인폭포 as the destination (도착) in the search.
This took me roughly 40 minutes on mostly local roads (so there’s lots of speed bumps and school zones), but I was confused at one point about whether or not to take a narrow road to the car park as Kakao instructed (you should).
If you’re coming from the city center of Seoul, then use Kakao Map app to help you get through all the city driving onto the expressways and then the local roads near the falls.
In my case, I had set up the starting point (출발) from the Lotte City Hotel near Myeongdong District in Seoul, where we were based.
This approach should take about 2 hours barring traffic and/or detours to go the 76km distance.
As mentioned earlier, when you see a narrow road leading past an arm barricade, then take this the remaining 1.7km or so to the unpaved car park for the Jaein Falls.
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