Day Trip to Gyejoksan Red Clay Trail in Daejeon (계족산 황톳길)

Walking barefoot might be something you only do in the comfort of your home but not the 1,500 hikers who visit the Gyejoksan Red Clay trail every year. Located in the outskirts of Daejeon, the 14.5 km foot trail around Gyejoksan mountain is a popular attraction not only to the locals but also tourists.

This eco-healing trail (Hwantotgil) was established in 2006 to provide a place where locals and tourists can enjoy nature. One day during his usual hiking, President Cho Wung Rae saw a lady doddering in high heels. He took off his shoes and gave them to her and walked barefoot. Reflecting on his barefoot experience, he wanted to share it with everyone, and the Red Clay trail was birthed. To date, the path has become a place where people from different walks of life come to heal, refresh their tired lives, and commune with nature. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Cho, who is still hiking barefoot up to today during my hike.

Gyejoksan Hwangtogil Trail

Traversing through this path sheltered by tall green trees, the unique sounds of flowing streams, singing birds, and insects will refresh your soul. Not to mention the jolly hikers that will occasionally say a “hello” or try to strike a conversation. There are different locations on the trail to wash and dry your feet, so you don’t have to walk 14.5 km barefoot. Alongside the barefoot trail is a path used by both cyclists and hikers that don’t wish to walk bare feet. Also, the walk is only 200-300m above sea level, therefore suitable for anyone.  I hiked up in shoes and descended back using the barefoot trail for a soothing effect after the long hike. By letting go of your shoes and walking barefoot, you will not relax your mind but experience some of the health benefits highlighted below; 

  • Improve blood circulation
  • Healing Headache
  • Prevention of Dementia
  • Memory improvement
  • Improve digestion
  • Prevent diabetes
  • Overcome fatigue
  • Healing of insomnia

Gyejoksan Red Clay trail is a must-visit for all hiking enthusiasts. It is a place to reminisce about your childhood, relax, and let your feet be free. 


Off Hwatongil are many hiking paths, one leading to Gyekok Sanseong Fortress, a historical structure of the Baekje Dynasty that played an essential role in defending present-day Daejeon against the Shilla Dynasty during the three kingdoms summit to Gyejoksan mountain. The 1.3 kilometers wall is the longest ancient fortress in Daejeon. 


The L-shaped stone wall filled with rubble was built, taking advantage of the topography of the site. It contains three main gates, east, south and north wall. The top of the fortress showcases a stunning city view of Daejeon and Daecheong Lake. It is a perfect place to relax and have a mini picnic after the hike.


How to get Get to there

Bus: Take bus 74 to Jang-dong Forest Park Bus stop (40 min interval)

Operation Hours: Sunday to Saturday, 9:00 am – 11:25 pm

While visiting this trail, I recommend visiting Daecheong Dam, which is within proximity.