Korea is a mountainous nation, with a plethora of popular hiking destinations. If you’re visiting South Korea and have the time, a trip to one of the many hiking, destinations will be well worth the effort. Being that our site is titled Mt. Kimchi (김치산), it seems only right that we highlight some of the best hiking mountains in Korea.
Taebaeksan (태백산) is a large mountain range, just a few miles outside the city of Taebaek, South Korea. Taebaek is situated in the eastern province of Gangwon-do (강원도), about half way down the South Korean peninsula. It has an elevation of 1,566.7 m (5,140 ft).
Along the path ascending Taebaeksan sits Manggyeongsa Temple. Built to enshrine the statue of the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Manggyeongsa sits at an elevation of 1,460 meters . The temple was built by Jajang, a Silla Dynasty monk. The “Dragon Spring” at the entrance of the temple is known as the highest spring in Korea.
The summit ridge of Taebaeksan is home to a multitude of both azalea bushes and ancient yew trees, making spring (for blossoms) and winter (for frost on the twisted trees) particularly good times to visit. The highest peaks are also home to Cheonjedan, a series of ancient Shamanist altars.
The altars atop Taebaeksan offer a compelling look into the history and culture of Korea’s storied past. The mountain offers a moderate hike that can be enjoyed during many seasons of the year, and a chance to experience an important piece of Korea’s religious and cultural history. Teabaek is only a few hours from Seoul by train, and should not be missed by anyone who loves to travel, hike, and explore.
Here are some links to learn more about Taebaek City and Mt. Taebaek