Baekdu-daegan - trail additions and guidebook amendments
The Baekdu-daegan trail is by nature a fixed course, following, where possible, the apex of the Baekdu-daegan ridgeline . As with all of Korea though, this is a vibrant place, and as the mountain regions evolve, the services and facilities along the flanks of the trail will continue to grow. This page is for new known changes and additions to the trail from ridge revisits, any new trail closures or openings, and amendments since the second printing of the original guidebook.
If you have any new information from the trail, your contributions are welcome and much appreciated! Please contribute by emailing me your findings - with photographic support if possible.
Andrew - [email protected]
Large areas of the Baekdu-daegan ridge through National Park sections are closed annually from late winter through early spring. This is when the forest is at its driest, and very prone to fires, a serious problem throughout the peninsula at this time.
The date for closure is generally from the second week of February through to the first week of May, although this is not fixed and is subject to change depending on weather conditions. Closures have also occurred in the past in late fall (Nov/Dec), in particularly dry years.
The affected areas are the high ridges through Jiri-san, Deogyu-san, Songni-san, Worak-san, Sobaek-san, Odae-san and Seorak-san.
Fire season closures for spring 2015 ended May 15th.
Additions/Amendments through Guidebook
Baekdu-daegan Overview Map - PAGE 9
This introductory map of the Baekdu-daegan as a whole, has always had Taebaek City on the wrong side of the ridgeline.The map shows the city to be north of Taebaek-san, to the west of the ridge. In fact Taekbaek lies just north-east of the mountain, on the eastern side of the ridge!
A new addition to popular Seongsam-jae pass is Caffe' bene, one of Korea's many franchise coffee shops, quite an unusual sight outside of the cities. A little bit of sophistication for those who prefer a latte to the beer, makgeolli and 'stick coffee' available in the old hyuge-so next door.
For getting off the pass and into town after bus hours call Gurye Nogodan Call Taxi - 010-3610-9803 Mr. Eom Gwang-jun.
Nochi-maeul - PAGE 96/7
The small village of Nochi-maeul is the first settlement the Baekdu-daegan passes through outside the mountains of Jiri-san National Park.
Nochi has always celebrated this with a huge Baekdu-daegan monument in the village square, but in the past couple of years has had a facelift, and has become a colourful place with a few additional attractions for the hiking crowd.
The main reason for this is the inclusion of Nochi-maeul on the Jiri-san-dulle-gil, the 300km round the mountain trail, on which Nochi-maeul has the honourable distinction of being the point where it crosses the Baekdu-daegan line.
Aside from the awesome jeongja, there is now an operating minbak, and an excellent eating/drinking spot - the Nochi-suimteo 노치쉼터
Nochi-suimteo has been built on the grounds of a large house just beyond the Baekdu-daegan monument.
They serve basic Korean light meals - Guksu noodles, ramyeon, and a truly awesome Bu-chim-gae jeon - along with Makgeolli, beer, soju and a couple of local wines.
Inside is a basic store stocking biscuits, chocolate, steamed eggs, cigarrettes, drinks etc.
5.8km along the trail from Nochi-maeul is the next road crossing of Yeowon-jae, the pass border of Namwon city west and Unbong county east.
This pass has always been celebrated with massive Jangseung totem poles, which are still in place, but now a new business has popped up, just 20metres east of the ridge line, on the southern side of the road.
The Baekdu-daegan-Yeowon-jae-hyugeso (백두대간여원재휴게소), is a convenience store and restaurant, with a large balcony for rest. The friendly family who own the place inform me that plans are afoot to add accommodations, in a vacant section next to the building - land is already leveled. In the meantime, a new minbak/pension has been built 400m up the country path which runs south in from the pass, follow signage from below the hyuge-so.
Maeyo-ri village now has Minbak accommodation. The Pungsan-gae Nongjang Minbak 풍산개농장민박. The owner is Mr. Jang Yeong-du 장영두. 063) 634 1030. mobile: 010-3485-1030
There is a small bus stop in Maeyo-ri, just beyond the jeongja shelter. Namwon buses leave here for the city at 06:47, 07:50, 08:00, 09:50, 12:30, 16:25, and 18:00.
The Maeyo-ri-hyugeso store is still in the village, although recent reports suggest that it opens irregularly. Do not rely on this small store for supplies.
A new eco-bridge is being built the major expressway here, to enable animals, and in all likelihood hikers, to cross the four-lane highway above the road. This may be now completed. If not continue to follow dominant signage across highway.
The Baekun-sanjang 백운산장 minbak is located in Daebang village of Baekun-myeon. It's a good 3-4km east from Jung-jae, but is the closest, and quite a popular option. Follow the road through Unsan-ri to the main road t-junction, from where it's 500m to the north. The owner will come and pick you up in his truck if you call, and he's not busy. The sanjang also does meals.
Baekun-sanjang is named for Baekun-san, the massive climb to reach begins from Jung-jae.
An ec0-bridge now crosses the pass above the road at Yuk-ship-ryeong. The trail utilizes this. Just before the bridge a signed track to the west heads down to the main carpark, restaurant and large Jeongja.
New on the menu here is Spaghetti and Donggaseu 돈까스 (pork cutlet)
The grounds of the closed school have been transformed into the Baekdu-daegan Saeng-tae Gyo-yuk-jang 백두대간생태교육장, or Baekdu-daegan Eco-forest Education Institute. There is a lot of accommodation here, but unfortunately this is only available for groups participating in their 2-day educational programs. It's an interesting place though, and worth a look around.
There is a soda vending machine on the grounds.
This pass now has a water supply in the form of a drinking fountain, next to the new jeongja, and also a portable toilet. A good camping spot now.
There is, therefore, no longer any need to procure water from the nearby grape farms as suggested in the book.Click here to edit text
Bi-jae now has an eco-tunnel crossing the pass, constructed as a safe crossing point for animals.
The water situation here has always been vague. In the guidebook, we suggest walking east to find water to be the best option. The stream flowing east starts higher, favoring the southern side of the road. This is the closest flowing water, but nowadays new rice fields are planted high on this side, and reports are this may have compromised the quality of the water, and it being hard to trace back to a clean source.
With this in mind walking west 400m off Bi-jae may be the best option for CLEAN water. Here is the small hamlet of Jangja-dong, which supports half a dozen houses on the bend in the road. I have never met a Korean homeowner who would deny a hiker tap use.
The Cheonghwa-san-hyugeso, 600m north of the pass, mentioned under the lodging section of this page, is now called the Cheonghwa-san-nongwon (orchard) and offers pension accommodation. The attached restaurant serves Korean beef, duck, chicken, raw trout, as well as bibimbab and san-chae-jeongshik vege dishes.
Blueberries are grown here, and what was the small mart now largely sells blueberry products, including blueberry makgeolli. ph 054) 535 5039
Although the trail north from Beorimigi pass has long been closed, it is now heavily enforced with fixed barbed wire fencing, and beyond, cctv cameras aimed at the trails. This is the case on the southern side of the road as well. Therefore from Daeya-san it is recommended to walk down the Yongchu valley path and join the road to Beorimigi-jae, following the trail detour to Akhui-bong described in the guidebook.
The closer detour trail shown on the map (p224) crossing Tugu-bong to Makjang-bong was open on my last drive-by (September, 2014), and is a 3.6km hike to the ridge.
The little village of Eunti has evolved a little bit in recent years. At it's heart still stands the former Baekdu-daegan Suimteo, now named Jumak-jip,Baekdu-daegan Suimteo 주막집. They do Samgyeopsal, chicken, tofu dishes and all manner of good drinking foods with their makgeolli. There are also a number of other options, including the nice looking Baekdu-daegan-Eunti-Sanjang, left, 043) 832-0936, which seems to have taken over as the main accommodations for trekkers.
At the entrance to the village is the Huiyang-san Shikdang and large carparking area. This essentially does the same meals as the Jumak-jip and is also a great spot.
Ihwa-ryeong has transformed since being designated as the ridge crossing point for the Seoul-Busan river cycle trail, and both sides of the pass, either side of the impressive Mungyeong gate styled eco-bridge have seen some construction. The western side has been rebuilt with large areas of decking and viewing platforms to accommodate the many cyclists. However camping is no longer permitted here and signs as well as CCTV warn of this. The hyugeso remains open and sells light food and drinks.
Sadly with all the new development here, the fantastic granite statue of the bearder Goisan-gun 'Gochu-man' has been removed
The closest minbak to the pass is in Mireuk-ri, 1.8km NW from the pass by foot road. The Mireuk Garden Minbak and restaurant, is about 1.2km further down the road from the Mireuk-saji temple ruins.
Mireuk Garden 043-848-6612.
At Haueul-jae itself the sanjang has had a new paint job and gardening done, and has become a hangout and picnic area for people coming up to the pass. I was served a coffee on my last visit, although there is no formal food menu - just a good place to be. On the southern side of the pass a new stele has been erected in a new park above the road, through which the trail passes.
This addition is below a closed section of trail
A good example of change in the mountain areas is the new 'Mungyeong Omija Wine Dong-gul (cave)' restaurant. Below Chagat-jae in the village of Saengdal.
This utilizes the structure referred to in the guidebook as an abandoned mine entrance. Cave is an expensive bar and restaurant open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am - 10pm, 010-9313-8447
Menu examples. Chicken breast and Beef steak Fried rice (19,000)
Wine 30,000 - 230,000 per bottle. Guiness 10,000, Asahi 8,000
The formerly red service station and hyugye-so is rusting into brown at Jeosu-ryeong, but the little roadside park with the jeongja is well maintained and is clearly used as a daegan camping spot. Rubbish and recycling bags are provided at the jeongja.
Jung-ryeong 죽령, page 274
BUS CHANGES - buses do not cross the ridge, but two run up and down from Punggi to the east. These leave the ridge at 07:40 and 15:00
Services at Jung-ryeong have grown considerably in recent years. An old village, the Jukryeong-yet-gogae-maeul, has been re-established below the road on the western side of the ridge, celebrating the high-point of the old foot-road crossing the mountain from Punggi to Danyang. This trail forms southern crossing of the 145km Sobaek-san round the mountain trail, the 'Sobaek-san Jarak-gil' opened in 2012. The trail crosses the ridge at Neujeunm-maegi pass in the north.
The village has Pension/Minbak accommodation. The Jung-ryeong pension 010-4005-6240. This pension is also a restaurant, serving Mak-guksu noodles and Son-dubu Tofu meals.
The restored Sanshin-gak in the village dates back to the 15th century.
The small village east of this pass now has a number of accommodation options, but still no store.
The Hanmi-minbak mentioned in the book in Ojeon-ri, is one of many in the Ojeon Mineral Spring village. Here carbonated water flows naturally from the ground, it is delicious and very healthy. Along with accommodation this village has a number of great restaurants. There is also a free campground just beyond the main village, with bathrooms, clean water and electricity
The trail heading west from Neujeunmaeki, hits PR935 after 3.6km at the Jumak-geori-camp. A large auto camping ground which has a supermarket (above). This mart is well stocked with camping food and supplies such as gas bottles. The store is likely only open in the warmer months. 010-5047-1112 http://www.thebestcamp.co.kr/
The Samsu-ryeong Hyugye-so is an improved store, selling a bit more than it used to, but still of the snack variety.
BUS - Taebaek bus no.13 stops at Pijae. It leaves Taebaek Bus Terminal six times a day between 06:10 and 17:30
Large granite stele celebrating Baekbok-ryeong was unveiled in 2010.
On the eastern side of the pass is Baekbok-ryeong Suimteo, the blue-roofed building seen up the road from the stele is still operational selling coffee and basic food. -ph: 562-2730
On the western side the small park with jeongja now has a couple of portable toilets. A good camping spot.
2.1km on the western side are the 백복령향토음식점 Baekbok-ryeong Hwangto Eumshik Jeom, 10 numbered restaurants all selling the same mountain vegetable based meals. The motel mentioned in the book still stands there.
Sapdang-ryeong Pension mentioned in book has rooms starting at 100,000won, not 200,000. Still very expensive...
'sapdang.co.kr' Tel. 033-648-2129 H.P 010-3363-2123
The Dalkmok-ryeong Suimteo is located 1.1km south of the pass on PR415
The suimteo is the large brick house with large parking area opposite the bus stop.
When open, they do basic food and sell limited supplies. Open hours sporadic - 033)-642-8345
Daegwan-ryeong pg. 360-62
Daegwan-ryeong has become a very popular place in recent years, since a sheep farm was opened on the northern side of the pass. It is now one of the most popular domestic tourism destinations in this part of Gangwon-do. One can enjoy a horse ride, atv rides, pet some sheep and have a walk through the farm. What this means for the hiker is a lot more food options at the hyugye-so on the northern side of the road.
TYPO - Page 323
The diagram on page 323 shows distance and times from Pi-jae to Daet-jae.
Unfortunately Daet-jae 댓재, has been mistakenly written as Daet-jae 고치령. 고치령 is a pass in Sobaek-san National Park.
Daet-jae = 댓재
TRANSPORT INFO - PAGE 356
The transport info to and from the pass of Dangmok-ryeong 닭목령 reads wrong.
"Buses run to Dangmok-ryeong from Gangneung, leaving three times a day at 7:30am, 1:30pm and 6:20pm. Buses leave Gangneung for Dangmok-ryeong at 6am, noon and 5pm" - clearly this is a mistake.
It should read: "Bus number 508 runs FROM Dangmok-ryeong to Gangneung three times a day at 7:30am, 1:30pm and 6:20pm. Buses leave Gangneung for Dangmok-ryeong at 6am, 12pm, and 5pm"
I've recently been informed that the buses now leave Gangneung at 6:05am, 12:05pm, and 5:05pm - a difference of 5mins. I'm yet to see official verification on this, so best be there at the top of the hour, but don't fret if it's arriving 5mins "late".
PARAGRAPH DUPLICATION - PAGE 377
A publishing error in the second printing has seen the long opening paragraph on page 377 (an introduction from Duro-bong - Eungbok-san), duplicated, and stretching through to page 378.