What: Yeongchuisan Mountain (영취산) is located in the Yeosu peninsula, a little north of the city and just south of the huge Yeosu industrial complex. This mountain has been on my hiking ‘to-do’ list because it’s one of the few mountains we haven’t hiked in Yeosu yet, but it’s also an impressive-for-the-area 505m tall, the only one around the Yeosu area that’s over 500m.
Get There: From our humble little housing establishment in Munsu-dong (Yeoseo-dong) it was roughly a 20 minute drive north up to Yeongchuisan. Alternatively, you could hire a taxi and I’d guess the one-way ride would set you back approximately 6000-8000won ($6-$8). Or, the Yeosu public buses are always a cheap ($1) option and buses #68, #73 and #76 all make their way along the major road (hwy 77) right next to Yeongchuisan and Horangsan Mountains. Here’s a quick guide on How to Use Naver Maps in Korea I posted a few months back in case you wanted some help on buses and/or finding mountains to hike.
Here’s where we parked and the direction we tackled this lovely mountain:
As you can see, we parked and walked a wee-bit north to start hiking, and we finished slightly south of where we parked. This allowed us to see a lof of the mountain and outlying area, instead of simply going down the exact same trail we went up. I’m a huge fan of the point-to-point hikes instead of the out-n-back style hikes. New scenery keeps it fresh and entertaining.
The weather on this Saturday in January when we hiked Yeongchuisan was quite interesting. The sun was out, but it was a bit obstructed by the haze/fog/clouds/pollution that lingered in the air. Overall it was pretty warm for the middle of January so we were pleased.
As we wrapped around the north-eastern end of the mountain, we were sheltered from the wind and I feared we were severely over-dressed.
But then we came to a big intersection atop a little ridge (picture below), and we were exposed to the cold, arctic wind that was in full force. It wasn’t super-duper cold like we’re used to in Wisconsin. Had the sky been real clear we would have seen some not-so-elegant-looking industrial complex buildings (vital for Yeosu’s economy). I’m more of a person that likes to observe and take pictures of nature instead of buildings, so maybe it’s good the haze/fog/clouds/pollution was blocking all industrial buildings…
We carried along this little ridge and were amazed at its beauty. The haze/fog/clouds/pollution created a pretty unique environment for us, and although it made for some bland-looking pictures, it was cool to see in this environmental condition during the dead of winter!
We could see the peak of Yeongchuisan in the not-so-far distance, so we kept plugging along. At one point we hid from the wind behind a huge boulder and snacked on some oranges, trail mix and other treats.
It’d be real interesting to see this ridge and scenery in a different season of the year, or during a clear blue-sky type of day to see how the colors differ and the resulting pics!
We made it to the 505m peak of Yeongchuisan. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the time at all. It was Saturday, we had no agenda, so we were just out to explore and do as our hearts desired. The top of this peak was pretty cool, and offered a nice little look-out:
The wind was howling pretty well at the top, so we stayed just long enough to snap a quick picture and then head down the next trail, hidden from the wind! A series of steps down followed, and we saw less than five people coming up. It was pretty quiet on this mountain for a Saturday… but it is winter, and I think most Koreans hike in the spring/summer/fall months. I’ve learned that hiking in the winter is quite nice. Down in Yeosu there’s no snow and although most everything is brown and temporarily dead, it’s interesting to see. And personally, hiking in the ‘cold’ winter is way easier than the oppressively hot & humid summer months of July-August!
We had time to visit Heungguksa Temple but decided to take a rain-check. WHY? Well, hiking Yeongchuisan was pretty unique and as you could see in the pictures above there weren’t lots of trees like all the other trails in Yeosu have. Yeongchuisan has tons of pink azalea flowers which come alive in the spring, making it a popular spot in April. We’ve marked our calendar to return to see the azaleas, and at that time we will pay an overdue visit to Heungguksa Temple.
2 birds. 1 stone. Next time!