Korean Trails

Over the Mountain, is a Mountain

              Gyeongsangnam-do 경상남도

Hikers on Samdo-bong (3-province-peak) of Jiri-san. Banya-bong in background.

South Gyeongsang province includes all land from Geocheong, Hamyang, Hadong and Namhae counties in the west, to Milyang, Yang-san and Gimhae cities in the east, which border the metropolitan areas of Ulsan and Busan (also included in this section).

Unlike Gyeongsangbuk-do, the western border of the province is not strictly defined by the Baekdu-daegan ridgeline. From the south coast at Namhae bay, the border with Jelloanam-do is the Seomjin-gang river.
From it's mountain source of Seongak-san in Jangsu County, near the city of Jeonju, the Seomjin-gang meanders through a vast area of Jelloanam-do province, before crossing below Jiri-san's southern ridges and through Hadong county to the sea.

The Gyeongnam/Jeollanam borderline leaves the river east of Gurye Town, and runs up a great ridge of Jiri-san to the peak of Samdo-bong, north-east along the Baekdu-daegan, down a northern ridge crossing the summit of Samjeong-san, and through the countryside of Hamyang-gun.
It then meets the Baekdu-daegan again north of Bonghwa-san, and follows it's course through Deogyu-san National Park to the southern slopes of Daedeok-san, a border of three provinces.
Yanggak-san on the Sudo-jimaek

From the Baekdu-daegan, three major ridge veins head east, stemming capillary ridges which form a network across the entire province west of the Nakdong River.

The most dominant of these, the Naknam-jeongmaek, leaves from Chotdae-bong (1704m) in Jiri-san, and heads south-east above Hadong to Jinju, before heading north-west above Sacheon, Goseong, Masan and Changwon, to meet the Nakdong River at Gimhae. Along it's route the Naknam-jeongmaek feeds the Nam River to it's north,  and forms the famous peaks of Samshin-bong, Waryong-san, Yeonhwa-san and Muhak-san.

Roger Shepherd's journey along the Naknam-jeongmaek in Saunters in Korea
A list of the major peaks of the Naknam-jeongmaek

From Nam-Deogyu-san (1507m), of Deogyu-san National Park, the Jinyang-gimaek ridge heads south-west above Geochang and Hapcheon counties, before heading south, forming an arc around Sancheong county, and eventually facing the Naknam-jeongmaek from the northern side of the Nam River in Jinju city.
Included among the prominent peaks of the Jinyang-gimaek are Gibaek-san (1331m) of Geochang county, and Hwangmae-san (1113m) of Hapcheon county, one of the most famous places in Korea to see Royal Azaleas in full bloom.
Hwangmae-san

In the far northern corner of Geochang county, the Sudo-jimaek ridge breaks off the Baekdu-daegan. The jimaek forms the northern border with Gyeongsangbuk-do, before turning south in Gaya-san national park
, and heading through Hapcheon county to the Nakdong River.
Sudo-jimaek is a mighty, high ridge, and forms some impressive rocky peaks, including Sudo-san (1317m) and Udu-san (1046m), which I'll cover in this section.

The northern borderline follows an extension of the Sudo-jimaek across the great rocky summit of Gaya-san (1432m), and drops to low ridge running parallel north of the jimaek, crossing the peak of Misung-san (734m) and ending at the Hwa-cheon stream south of Goryeong.

West over the ridge ocean from Cheonhwang-san, Yeongnam Alps


East of the Nakdong river low ridges rise to the high shoulders of the Biseul-jimaek, forming Hwawang-san above Changnyeong town. The northern border joins this jimaek east, then jumps to the Unmun-jimaek, which climbs to Gaji-san (1241m), the highest peak of the Yeongnam Alps, and the southern jewel of the Nakdong-jeongmaek ridgeline.


The Nakdong-jeongmaek stretches 500km from the ocean in Busan, to the source of the Nakdong river in Taebaek, Gangwon-do. The southern section of this ridge is it's most impressive, crossing the mighty summits of Goheon-san, Gaji-san, Ganwol-san, Sinbul-san, Yeongchuk-san, Cheonseong-san and Geumjeong-san on it's course to the sea. 


To the west of the ridge, high shoulders run short distances to the Nakdong river in Milyang city, rising to great peaks such as Jaeyak-san and Cheonhwang-san. To the east lower ranges form all the mountains within Ulsan and Busan to the ocean.


My journey along the Nakdong-jeongmaek

Jiri-san, Saryang-do Island

In the south of the province, beyond the ridge system, the ocean is dotted with islands, many of which are home to great peaks, such as Geum-san in Nam-hae, Jiri-san on Saryang-do and Gyeryong-san on Geoje Island.

On this site I've given Yeongnam Alps and Jiri-san their own sections, due to the large number of different peaks and trail opportunities in those zones.

In this section I'll add circuit trail information for the other famous peaks of Gyeongsangnam-do that I've covered in the coming weeks.

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