Guides + Tips Travel Winter in Korea

Winter in Korea – Yongdae Maebawi Ice Wall

Besides seeking out for the magnificent scenes of snow-capped mountains, going on an excursion looking for a frozen waterfall; either from a natural creation or in a human-made form, is a fun plan I enjoy making during the freezing season in Korea. 

Thanks to Korea’s mountainous terrain, there are numerous rocky valleys scattered throughout the country. In winter, many mountain cliffs nestled in these valleys are sprinkled with water in order to transform them into either massive ice walls or Eoreumgol — meaning “ice valley” in Korean; Cheongsong Eoreumgol and Hanjeolgol in Gyeongsangbuk-do, Eobi Valley in Gyeonggi-do, Bueong Bawigol in Jeollabuk-do, etc.

In this post, I am going to introduce you to one icey destination that was a part of my ice wall (빙벽) hunting series in Gangwon-do. The place is called Yongdae Maebawi Waterfall which I visited one year during its beautiful solid stillness, and it was a stepping stone to discovering another ice wall in the area, Pandae Ice Park. And the list has been growing since then. 

Jump to:

    Yongdae Maebawi Waterfall

    Yongdae Maebawi Waterfall (용대매바위인공폭포) is a man-made waterfall located in Yongdae village in Inje-gun, a familiar county name when it comes to the recommended place for winter getaway in Gangwon province. Getting there requires a minimum of three hours to drive from the center of Seoul. It has to be the only waterfall that has the easiest access that I have ever traveled to by a car. Situating on the ground in front of a line of dried pollack: a famous product of Yongdae village, selling stores nearby Yongdae junction (용대 삼거리), its charm can be admire even from a quick drive-by. 

    During the warmer months, a jaw-dropping scenery of water pouring down a towering cliff with almost a hundred meters of height is an unbearable sight to stop and behold. From late December to early February, the earnest winter period in Inje, the cliff is turned into breathtaking landscapes of ice and is used as a training site by many ice-climbing enthusiasts. If the icicle cascade is in perfect shape, you can anticipate seeing small dots of energetic climbers in vibrant clothes jamming their gears racing with each other to get to the top, and some camping tents settling around on the climbing ground floor. 

    Even if my visit didn’t align with the day to see the ice wall at its best and only a half (or smaller) portion of frozen water was left for me to appreciate, the view was still pretty stunning, even from afar distance. A small tip here to get closer to the cliff base, you can cross over a small road bridge before Gabaedama cafe (가배다마) and descend down a tiny dirt road by the bank. Hobbling down further from rocks to rocks towards the icey structure, you will be standing in awe at the sheer scale of the ice wall extending majestically before your eyes. 

    One big benefit of visiting the frozen Maebawi Waterfall in Yongdae village is that, except for a few ice climbers during the day, you can have the entire area all to yourself since the place hasn’t gotten noticed on social media yet. If your plan for getting a snowy fix in Korea could take you to somewhere in or around Inje (or to Seoraksan National Park), a short swing by Maebawi Waterfall is a must!

    Naver Map: Maebawi Ingong Waterfall [map]
    강원도 인제군 북면 용대리

    Where to Stay in Inje

    About three hours away with multiple mountain valleys and forests, Inje is still considered to be one of the best destinations to plan a fun one-day retreat to travel to from Seoul. However, for our trip to Yongdae Maebawi Waterfall, we opted to stay in Mountain Valley Pension for one night because we wanted to explore a part of the Sokcho area on the east coast the next day. 

    Mountain Valley Pension lies in the foothills of the Obong Mt. (오봉산) and only five minutes away from Yongdae Maebawi Waterfall by driving. The pension provides lodging in traditional hanok style rooms to travelers. It seemed pretty new at the time and a couple of ajumeoni and ajusshi, the pension caretakers, were very kind. The room we stayed in was clean and warm. However, they didn’t cater meals. I think it was because there is a road (백담로) flanked with local restaurants within a walkable distance. 

    We definitely enjoyed our stay here and if you are a feline lover like us, this pension has a bonus for you. But if you are not, be alarmed of cats roaming around in the area. They seemed to belong to the pension and most of the time the cats stayed only in the zone near the office with the elderly pair.

    Naver Map: Mountain Valley Pension [map & book]
    강원 인제군 북면 백담로 43-17

    What to Eat in Inje

    Inje is known to be Korea’s largest producing area for ‘Hwangtae’ or pollock fish. From a plate of steamed pollock marinated with red sauce, a hot bowl of dried pollack soup, to a full course meal with deep fried/grilled pollock, they are all worth a try. The following is the list of restaurants that are located on Baekdam-ro, the road nearby the Mountain Valley Pension, and have their menus made out of Inje hwangtae.

    1. Baekdam Seasoned and Grilled Dried Pollack
    What they serve:
    • Grilled dried pollack meal set (황태구이 정식): 15,000KW
    • Seasoned dried pollack  (황태구이용 양념): 10,000KW
    • Dried pollack soup (황태해장국): 10,000KW
    • Fermented soybean stew (청국장): 10,000KW
    • Wild vegetable mixed rice (산채비빔밥): 10,000KW
    • Potato pancake (감자부침): 10,000KW
    Address: 강원 인제군 북면 백담로 24
    Naver Map:
    2. Sagyejeol Restaurant
    What they serve:
    Grilled dried pollack meal set  (황태구이 정식): 13,000KW
    Dried pollack soup (황태해장국): 9,000KW
    Wild vegetable mixed rice (산채비빔밥): 10,000KW
    Potato pancake (감자전): 10,000KW
    Address: 강원 인제군 북면 백담로 23 사계절식당
    Naver Map:
    3. Baekdam Soft Tofu
    What they serve:
    Soft tofu meal set (순두부정식): 9,000KW
    • Wild vegetable mixed rice (산채비빔밥): 9,000KW
    • Grilled deodeok meal set (더덕구이 정식): 13,000KW
    • Pollack meal set  (황태정식): 13,000KW
    • Dried pollack soup (황태해장국): 9,000KW
    Address: 강원 인제군 북면 백담로 19
    Naver Map:

    4. Dried Pollack Iyagi
    What they serve:
    Grilled dried pollack meal set  (황태구이 정식): 11,000KW
    Steamed pollock (황태찜): 35,000KW
    Cod fish head stew (대구머리찜): 35,000KW
    Wild vegetable mixed rice (산채비빔밥): 8,000KW
    Address: 강원 인제군 북면 백담로 12
    Naver Map:
    5. Boram Restaurant
    What they serve:
    Grilled dried pollack meal set  (황태구이 정식): 12,000KW
    Address: 강원 인제군 북면 황태길 32
    Naver Map:

    One important thing to keep in mind is when visiting rural areas in Korea, it’s crucial to remember that shops and restaurants often close early. Most eateries stop taking orders as early as 6:30 in the evening, so make sure to plan your trip accordingly.

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