Hike Camp and Travel
Deogyusan National Park

How To Get There: This is a 3-day trip at Deogyusan National Park. I took an express bus at Nambu Bus Terminal (Seoul Line 3) for a 3:45hr bus ride to Muju, Jeollakbuk-Do. I then took a local bus to Samgong Ticket Booth... My trailhead.

Hyangjeokbong Peak of Deogyusan National Park
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My itinerary for this trip includes an ascent to the highest point of Deogyusan, Hyangjeokbong Peak (1614m/5295'), a sleep-over at the Hyangjeokbong Shelter, and a full course 14.8km traverse hike to Namdeogyusan Peak (1507m/4944').
I also planned this trip to finish up with another camp and hike at Gayasan National Park. I got tired too much and frustrated by mis-communications so I cancelled Gayasan and just rested and hydrated myself at home.

I was lucky to have a spot at the shelters because I didn't make a reservation online, which is required. When I arrived at the ticket booth, I asked a representative there to make a call for me to see if I could spend the night on the shelter. They were very nice and helpful. I managed to get a spot at both shelters, Hyangjeokbong for the first night and Sakkatgoljae Shelter for the second night. On my second day, I decided to hike the whole course so I didn't end up staying in Sakkatgoljae.

This was my first time staying at a mountain shelter. I had no idea what goes on in there until this day. I planned to go to bed early for an early start the next day but a number of unavoidable reasons kept me up almost the whole night. Firstly, the heat got too high in the middle of the night. I had to stick myself in the very corner and elevate my body with my elbows to avoid the ondol (heated floor). Secondly, a consistent moaning, snoring and farting. Some people in the room find this quite amusing so they had to add giggles to the already buzzing room. Ok fine I giggled too. There was like a live orchestra playing in there.
At some point early in the night, I was woken up by something poking me in the ass. Someone just arrived and tried to squeeze his inflatable mattress in the corner where I was at. He seemed to not have noticed I was there.

4am, I "woke up" with a bunch of people packing and getting ready to leave. I too decided to get up and say hell to sleeping. I made breakfast and watched the sunrise... It was a very beautiful sunrise.
I went back for a second visit to the main summit before I started my traverse. The trail throughout the ridge was very dense, muddy in some areas but mostly dry, well signed and very easy to follow. There were also ways to cut the trip short in case of dissagreement between your mind and your body.

Overall, this was a very exhausting but enjoyable trip. All you need are a pair of ear plugs and stamina. This trip is highly recommended.
Lots of people bathing in the river Gucheon Pokpo Falls Baekyeonsa Temple
(1) The entrance to the park was very busy with bathers. Almost every possible spot was taken. The area is also a good place to have lunch before starting a hike.
(2) This is Gucheon Pokpo Falls. One of the many small falls I passed along the way.
(3) The trail from the beginning is by a gravelly road. It is long and very boring. The end of this road is Baekyeonsa Temple. It is also the beginning of the actual trail to Hyangjeokbong.
The trail continues to the left of the temple, after passing the small bridge seen here (sign).
Steep stairs ascent to Hyangjeokbong Hyangjeokbong Shelter Inside the Hyangjeokbong Shelter
(1) Steep stairs ascent to Hyangjeokbong.
(2) This is Hyangjeokbong Shelter. It doesn't offer restaurant food but it has some noodles, snacks and drinks to get you through the night, in case you forgot to pack your stove and food to cook.
This place is well maintained, very clean and presentable. The best part is, it is only about 100m from the summit.
(3) Inside the Hyangjeokbong Shelter.
Highest point of Deogyusan National Park Hyangjeokbong Peak Connecting ridge to Solchonbong Peak
(1) After signing in at the shelter, I went to the summit.
(2) This is Hyangjeokbong Peak (1614m/5295'). I was surprised to see that I still made it to an exactly 3hrs ascent time.
(3) I still had some time before the sunset so I went for a short hike and visit the top of Muju Resort.
Well maintained pathway On top of Muju Resort Pavillion on Solchonbong Peak
The trail on the way to the top of Muju Resort is well maintained. This is on Solchonbong Peak (1520m/4987').

The weather wasn't very nice when I got to this mountain. It even seemed it was about to rain. I failed to see the sunset, but I was blessed the next day to witness my very first Korean mountain view sunrise.
Sonny 2013/10/10 22:20:17 EDT Reply
That is a very long traverse. Good job!


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Updated: January 9, 2014 Author: Kajtek S