This trip was to first camp at Dongpigol Campground on the first day and get an early start the next day for a 'horseshoe ridge' traverse from Birobong Peak to Dongdaesan Peak. I called the park's office in the morning and I was told that the trails were open. The representative must've misunderstood me because only the trail to Birobong Peak was open when I arrived at the park. It's the highest peak so I didn't complain. I just had to cut my trip short.
From the trailhead, Birobong Peak - 1563m/5128' is only a little over 3km-hike on mostly stairs, passing 4 temples. The first temple is Sangwonsa Temple. One of the temples that was lucky to survive the Korean war from being destroyed. I skipped Sujeongam Temple and went straight to Sajaam Temple and Jeongmyeolbogung Temple.
Prayers were being held at Jeongmyeolbogung Temple during this time. The voices of the monks accompanied my hike when I left, with incantation echoing through the valleys. It was an awesome experience.
It took me 2:30hrs from Dongpigol Campground to the summit, including temple stops. It was a nice day but the view was a little hazy. I was also lucky to have the summit to myself. On my descent, more... and more and more people were hiking to the top.
Down at the trailhead, I took a local bus back to Jinbu. Then, Jinbu to Gangneung, then Gangneung to Naksan
to meet with my wife.