I've gone up the Seongpanak trail (click for blog post) 3 times now in different seasons and at my weakest, I've taken around 7 and a half hours. When I heard that the Gwaneumsa trail was finally open again, I was ready for a different perspective. And now I know why they say 9 hours.
The Facts for Gwaneumsa (관음사 코스):
Distance: ~8.7 km (sources vary, even on the trail)
Vertical Climb: 620 m start to 1,950m summit
Campground available at base: Sources paid max 6,000 to park, rent site and use shower facilities
Compared to Seongpanak (성판악 코스):
Distance: ~9.6 km
Vertical Climb: 750 m start to 1,950 summit
No campground at base
Yes, Gwaneumsa is technically shorter (by 2km in the round trip), but you are climbing up an additional 130 m which makes for a whole lot more stairs. Seongpanak is definitely a gentler beginning with the most difficult part at the end. Make sure to bring lots of liquids and snacks for the climb. As of right now, the check point does not sell any food and I don't know if it ever will.
Still, when you finally get out of the trees and can look back toward the coast, it is so worth it.
|Panaramic view toward Jeju City. If you can see the small building, its the Check Point about 6km in.|
|I never knew you could see Gapado and Marado through here!|
|That big white half moon shape (Right side close to sea) is the Jeju World Cup Stadium.|
With my sore calf muscles, it's too soon for me to say I'll head up Gwaneumsa again. I still want to summit when there's snow, but who knows what route I'll choose then. Who knows, maybe I'll go up one and down the other when the time comes.
|I spy Udo and Sunrise peak~~~|
Love and Hugs.