About Jiktang Falls (jiktang pokpo [직탕폭포])
Jiktang Falls (Jiktang Pokpo [직탕폭포]) was a rare wide river waterfall that has earned the nickname the “Niagara Falls of Korea”.
Reinforcing its unusual shape, it sported a dimension of only 3m tall, but it spans the entire 80m width of the Hantangang River making it stand out considering most Korean waterfalls tend to be the tall and skinny variety.
A key reason for the waterfall’s shape is the presence of basalt in the riverbed from past lava flows, which over time by weathering and erosion resulted in a dropoff given the lava’s hard composition making the erosion occur in chunks.
In fact, during my visit to the waterfall, I even noticed some of the signature hexagonal columns (a tell-tale characteristic of basalt lava) both in the riverbed near the brink of the falls as well as on the surrounding cliffs.
As far as visiting this waterfall, I was able to experience both sides as there was a gapped asphalt bridge going across the Hantangang River just upstream from the falls’ brink (though I’m sure it can be dangerous to cross when the river floods).
On either side, there are car parks essentially making this waterfall practically a roadside attraction (see directions below).
The west side of the river has a pension and some shops with interpretive signs talking about the falls as well as some use-trails leading closer to the profile of the waterfall.
The east side of the river (which GoogleMaps led me to had less infrastructure as I was only able to view the falls strictly from the top of the cliffs (though I did see one local manage to figure out a way down to the river’s banks to fish).
In any case, it seemed that the car parks on the east bank served river adventures or bungy jumpers more so than visitors of the Jiktang Falls, especially given the relative lack of signage compared to the other side.
Nevertheless, my visit took a leisurely 45 minutes (mostly spent exploring and taking pictures) so I’d imagine you can easily make a visit here as short as 15 minutes if you’re not inclined to linger.
Jiktang Falls resides near the Dongsong-eup township in Cheorwon-gun county of the Gangwon-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.
Jiktang Falls sat in an agricultural valley near the rural city of Cheorwon (or Cheolwon).
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 Sambuyeon Falls, but I used the Kakao Map app to get me to the Jiktang Falls typing in 직탕폭포 as the destination (도착) in the search.
This took me roughly 25 minutes on mostly local roads (again lots of speed bumps and school zones).
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 would take about 2.5 hours barring traffic and/or detours to go the 96km distance.
That said, if you do enter Jiktang Falls in Kakao Map app, then it tends to route you to the east side of the falls.
If you want to route to the west side of the falls, then you can enter 폭포이야기펜션, which is the “Waterfall Story Pension”, as the routing destination.
Finally, realize that regardless of which side of Jiktang Falls that you’re routing to, unless the Hantangang River is flooding, you should have no trouble walking from one side of the river to the other.
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