Gayasan National Park Hiking
Sangwongbong, Gayasan

Gayasan was designated a national park in 1972. One of the smaller parks, it covers 80km2 on a branch of the Sobaek Range. Supposedly shaped like the head of a cow, Gayasan is also sometimes called Udusan ('Cow head'). The main ridgeline of the mountain forms the border between North and South Gyeongsang Provinces. The highest point is split into two peaks, named Sangwangbong (1,430 m) and Chilbulbong (1,433 m). Though Chilbulbong is slightly higher (by 3 meters), Sangwangbong is more well-known and usually listed as the primary peak. For all purposes, they can be considered a single peak.

The lower part of the park is dominated by pines, especially around Haeinsa and on the road leading up to the temple. Deciduous trees are also common. In Autumn, the bright crimson of the maples and the yellow of the gingko trees sets the mountain ablaze, making Gayasan one of the top parks for visits during the fall season. The park also contains the beautiful Hongnyudong Valley, Yongmun Falls, and two impressive standing images of the Buddha on the mountain. The hikes in this park are quite easy and can each be accomplished in a few hours.

Gayasan is most famous for its primary temple, Haeinsa, which houses the entire Buddhist scriptures on 80,000 wooden printing blocks. There are a score of smaller temples and shrines clustered in the vicinity.