Deogyusan National Park Hiking
Deogyusan National Park

Deogyusan became a national park in 1975 and encompasses an area of 219 km2. The park is located in the center of the peninsula on the border of North Jeolla and South Gyeongsang Provinces and now hosts Muju Ski Resort in the north. Despite Muju being one of Korea's most popular winter resorts, accessing Deogyusan by public transportation continues to be somewhat inconvenient. The mountains are a branch of the Sobaek Range that connects with the Taebaek Mountains further north. Hyangjeokbong (1,1614 m) is the highest peak in the park. Other major peaks include Jungbong (1,594 m), Muryongsan (1,492 m), Satgatbong (1,419 m), and Nam Deogyusan (1,507 m). The ridge runs north-south and declines in elevation in the southern direction

Because it's not the easiest park to reach, foot traffic seems to be less in Deogyusan than in other parks, which is refreshing. Winter hiking is especially fun, but bring your crampons and plenty of warm clothes. Water is also a bit of an issue. Where as Jirisan has freshwater facilities every few kilometers, Deogyusan has only two places to get water on the main ridge, which means you have to carry more with you at any given time. One spring can be found near the Anseong crossroads and another near Satgatjae Shelter. A third spring is located on the trail from Yeonggaksa in the south to Nam Deogyusan.

Other than its snow, Deogyusan is best known for its blooming royal azaleas in the spring and day lilies in summertime.