ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD© Christopher Earls Brennen
Hike D3. Sambulbong
- Hiking time: 4 hours
- Estimated hiking distance: 5.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 2135 feet
- Difficulties: None
- Permit: None
Sambulbong is a mountain in South Korea in Gyeryongsan National Park closeby the city of Daejon in eastern Korea. The Gyeryongsan National Park is a beautiful area of rugged peaks, streams and valleys that include a number of popular trails. We feature here a hike that climbs two of the highest peaks, Sambulbong and Gwaneumbong, visits Eunseon waterfall and the lovely Donghaksa Temple.
This hike begins at the main entrance to Gyeryongsan National Park at an elevation of 522 ft, the peak mountain base with shops and restaurants. If you take the bus from Daejon City it is only a 40 min ride to the Donghaksa Bus Terminal in this tourist area and just a short walk from there to the trailhead.
There are multiple trails in Gyeryongsan National Park but we focus here on Donghaksa Course 2, a hike of 5.9 mi. From the trailhead at 524 ft the route proceeds up a gentle incline alongside a stream and paved with large rocks. At 1.1 mi from the start you come to a trail junction at 735 ft elevation. The Donghaksa Temple is about 150 yds further on but you should turning right to begin the climb to the ridge-top. You climb steeply toward a trail junction on the ridge at 1946 ft elevation and about 2.0 mi from the start. Turning left, you arrive at the Brother and Sister Pagodas or Nammaetap Pagoda about 150 yds from the junction. Only about a 15-20 minute hike or 0.2 mi from Nammaetap Pagoda you arrive at Sambulbong (or Sambul Peak), 36.36146oN 127.21051oE and elevation 2559 ft a distance of 2.3 mi from the start. The last leg is a climb up a staircase ladder. The peak summit is at 2559 ft and is known as the Three Buddhas Peak. Following the ridgeline beyond Sambulbong the trail crosses some narrow ledges with rails. It takes about an hour to reach Gwaneumbong the second peak on this hike at 2530 ft and 3.3 mi from the start. There are breathtaking views and it is a great place to sit on a giant rock on top of the mountain to rest.
On the descent down from Gwaneumbong you walk alongside a stream of small waterfalls before arriving at the observation deck for the beautiful Eunseon waterfall, about 150 ft in height. This at 36.35222oN 127.20833oE and an elevation of 1330 ft.
Continuing the descent and just before you come to 750 ft junction (about 4.8 mi from the start) you will pass the lovely Donghaksa Temple on your left. The Donghaksa Temple is known for housing and teaching many female Buddhist monks. The grounds consist of multiple buildings with stone pagodas tucked between buildings.
From the 750 ft junction it is a pleasant stroll down the verdant valley back to the trailhead 5.9 mi from the start.
Last updated 1/27/03.
Christopher E. Brennen