What: Songnisan National Park (속리산)
Where: Songnisan is in the middle of Korea, just north of Deogyusan National Park and SW of Woraksan National Park.
Recently we had a four day weekend, and Elicia and I wanted to visit three national parks in three days! Songnisan was our second to visit. So, after having an amazing hike in Deogyusan on Thursday, we woke up early Friday morning after camping to get our friend Patrick at a bus terminal in Cheongju, and we found a campground right next to Songnisan National Park. We set up camp and got ready for the day’s upcoming adventure. Here’s a detailed map where we were:
Elevation: Cheonhwangbong Peak is the highest in Songnisan National Park, and it stands 1058m. Certainly not the highest of peaks we’d attempt this long weekend, but upon arriving at the park, we realized we were in for a special treat today. There is a beautiful ridge to hike along here in Songnisan, and we wanted to tackle a big loop so we could see it all! The ridge also included three or four other peaks, with the highlight being Munjangdae Rock at 1033m. We set out around noon with the goal of hiking this loop (you can see the rocky ridge):
Or, on a trail map, our 15.4km route looked like this:
Before we started hiking, we found this cool, really old tree that’s been tested by fierce winds throughout the years. Off in the distance we could see the rocky ridge we were about to conquer:
The trail up towards Cheonhwangbong Peak (1058m) was enjoyable – not too difficult, and it provided lots of great views like this:
As we were nearing the top, we paused to soak up the warm autumn sun and to take some pictures. This National Park was really amazing!
It took about two hours from the start (near Beopjusa Temple) to get to Cheonhwangbong, the highest peak in Songnisan National Park. We had beautiful weather for hiking and having Patrick as company was really nice! From the peak, we could see along the rocky ridge that would provide us with the afternoon’s entertainment.
Other Hiking Highlights:
We embarked along the ridge trail, and it was up-and-down, up-and-down for a couple hours as we made our way towards Munjangdae Rock (1033m). The ridge was excellent, and it surely didn’t disappoint.
We made it Munjangdae Rock (1033m) by about 3:30pm or 4:00pm and proceeded to hang out for a while to enjoy the views, eat some food, and of course, laugh about various shenanigans. Munjangdae Rock was definitely cool and it’d be at the top of my list if I were to return to Songnisan. It was literally just a huge rock!
Here’s a picture of the first few steps down off of Munjangdae Rock (notice the ridge and Cheonhwangbong Peak in the distance – that’s where we came from!):
We had some spare time before the sun set, so we checked out Beopjusa Temple, which is located right near where we were camping and started our hike earlier in the day. There was some construction/renovation going on at the temple, but it was still peaceful to walk around and explore. We also re-hashed our favorite parts from the day’s hike.
I’m not sure how or why this is possible, but it seems that every National Park Elicia and I have visited just seems to get better and better! Each park is very unique and shows off some stuning views with beautiful trails to hike. My favorite part about Songnisan was hiking along the ridge. There were huge boulders everywhere, and we often encountered places to stop and take a picture, or at the least just stop and observe for a while. In total, we hiked 15.4km through Songnisan and I can confidently say we saw the majority of the points of interest all in the six hours it took for us to complete it! Needless to say, it was time to get back to camp, start a campfire and eat some warm dinner. We had earned it today! Next up, us three muskateers were setting our sights on driving to Woraksan National Park for our third national park in three days!