This waterfall hike is situated about 30km outside Pohang, and for those that want to visit a temple, dine in a traditional Korean restaurant, hike a mountain or have a picnic by some pretty waterfalls – Naeyeonsan Bogyeongsa County Park has it all. With the highest peak at 930 meters, the mountain is a manageable hike for those that are interested in a challenging, but picturesque trek for the day.
Bogyeongsa Temple is at the bottom of the mountain, after you pass through the street full of traditional restaurants ready to entice every tourist that walks by, you will come to the colourful big gates. The charge to enter is only 2,000 won and you should take a trip through the temple grounds before starting your hike.
The start of which is to the left of the temple, but you will see many Korean hikers with all their gear leading the way.
The best part of this hike is the notably beautiful waterfalls. There are twelve waterfalls scattered throughout this mountain range, although many of them dry up during the summer months. If your intention is to see these waterfalls along your hike, then don’t go during this time. That said the popular waterfalls are always going to welcome you, and they are the first three of the trail that are situated at the bottom of the mountain.
Beware this is a very popular place for locals to visit at weekends, between the temple nearby and the stunning waterfalls at your feet it’s a perfect picnic spot, or an easy hike for those that want to get out for a few hours.
The more serious hikers will have the rest of the mountain pretty much to themselves. There are different routes one can take to the peak, but if you follow the numbers marked along the way (1-12) that takes you a good distance.
It was within the time we were counting these numbers that we found the non existent waterfalls, although we kept near enough to the river most of the way and so the soothing sound of the flowing water was enough to keep us peddling on.
The most noteworthy waterfalls of all are the sixth and seventh along the trail. “Gwaneum” is 72 meters high, and also has an alluring cave in the backdrop of the waterfall, that is almost 10 meters. Yeonsan waterfall is probably the most prominent of all. It’s so beautiful, in typical Korean fashion they say many people have fallen in love visiting it (because who doesn’t set out to find that certain someone while climbing up a mountain?) It is 30 meters high, and has a stunning setting. You will find the love of your life waiting just beside said waterfall, staring in awe with a boombox on his shoulders.
The trail gets pretty steep and strenuous, climbing up rocks and narrow turns without fencing to block our potential plummets down the mountain. But that was part of the fun I guess, keeping it wild, difficult and dirty is the perfect hike in my opinion. No man made steps or carved trails, which you do find a lot in the Korean mountains.
From the last number on the trail, which is mark 12, you must hike a further 3km straight up from there, and you’ve made it. All that pain is worth it for conquering the hike! The 360 views of luscious treetops all around you are certainly impressive.
The first two or three km upon descent can be difficult to manoeuvre with steep and slippery parts of the trail that will test your grip.
Once that is out of the way, it’s pretty much down hill from there (lawl). Eventually you begin meeting others along the way again, and hearing the sheer volume of water pulsing into the river you know you are close to the waterfalls again, which means you’re almost there.
Just think of the cold beer that is waiting for you at the bottom of the mountain (bought at any convenient store).
The views from this hike are stunning, the waterfalls, and the variety from the trail between bridges, steps and steep rocks to climb are great aspects of Bogyeongsa. If you wish to see the views but don’t want to hike to the peak of the mountain, after the first shot of waterfalls you will meet a trail of steps that take you all the way to the top of the front edge of the mountain. From here, there is a traditional Korean shelter to relax and take in the views from. This is difficult in itself as the amount of steps is beyond fun.
Whether you visit a couple of waterfalls, the temple, reach the peak or climb the never ending steps up the mountain, it’s a great place to visit and kill a couple of hours. The spring or autumn is ideal time to go, with the changing colours of the trees painting an even more picturesque scene of an already serene sight.
It’s just outside Pohang, you can get the bus for Bogyeongsa Temple at the bus terminal and that takes you straight there. (Approximately one hour)
Let me know what you thought of this hike! Or if you have any questions about it, drop a comment below.