Songnisan Overview

Songnisan National Park, established in 1970, is a majestic natural reserve located in the heart of South Korea. Spanning an area of approximately 274.54 square kilometers (about 106 square miles), the park straddles the borders of North Chungcheong and Gyeongsangbuk-do provinces. The name Songnisan translates to “Remote from the Mundane World Mountain,” aptly describing the park’s tranquil beauty and spiritual significance. The park is centered around Mount Songnisan, a mountain that rises to 1,058 meters (3,471 feet) and is revered for its natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Songnisan National Park is renowned for its lush forests, scenic valleys, and diverse wildlife. The park’s landscape is characterized by dramatic granite peaks, clear streams, and waterfalls, creating a picturesque setting that changes with the seasons. In spring, the park is adorned with cherry blossoms and azaleas, while autumn brings vibrant foliage, making it a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

One of the park’s most notable cultural landmarks is the Beopjusa Temple, a historic Buddhist temple dating back to the 7th century. The temple complex, which includes the impressive five-story wooden pagoda and the giant bronze Buddha statue, is a testament to the region’s rich Buddhist tradition and adds a layer of cultural depth to the natural beauty of the park.

Songnisan National Park offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to all levels of hikers, from gentle walks to challenging treks to the summit of Mount Songnisan. Along these trails, visitors can explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, encounter wildlife, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

With its combination of stunning natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and profound cultural heritage, Songnisan National Park is a cherished natural sanctuary. It provides a peaceful retreat for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse themselves in the serenity and majesty of South Korea’s natural landscape.

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Park Map
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Songnisan National Park Pictures

Songnisan National Park Trails

Munjangdae Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 kilometers round trip, with an elevation gain of about 500 meters.

Description: This trail leads to Munjangdae, a scenic overlook offering expansive views of the Songnisan mountain range.

The hike is moderately challenging, with some steep sections, but the path is well-maintained and accessible to most hikers.

Along the way, visitors can enjoy diverse vegetation and, in spring, a beautiful display of azaleas and cherry blossoms. The summit provides a panoramic view that is especially stunning at sunrise and sunset.

Beopjusa Temple Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 kilometers round trip, with minimal elevation gain.

Description: Leading directly to the historic Beopjusa Temple, this easy trail is perfect for those interested in Korea’s cultural heritage.

The path is flat and well-paved, making it accessible to visitors of all ages, including families with children.

The temple itself is a significant cultural site, home to the national treasure, a five-story wooden pagoda, and a giant bronze Buddha statue. The surrounding ancient trees add to the tranquil atmosphere.

Cheonwangbong Peak Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 10 kilometers round trip, with an elevation gain of about 800 meters.

Description: For those seeking a challenging hike, the trail to Cheonwangbong Peak, the highest point in Songnisan National Park, offers a strenuous but rewarding experience.

Hikers will navigate through dense forests, rocky terrains, and steep inclines. The effort is rewarded with breathtaking views from the summit, overlooking the entire park and beyond.

This trail is recommended for experienced hikers equipped for a full day’s trek.

Ssanggalsa Temple Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4 kilometers round trip, with an elevation gain of about 200 meters.

Description: This trail offers a moderate hike to Ssanggalsa Temple, an ancient Buddhist temple nestled in the forest.

The path is scenic, with lush vegetation and several small stream crossings. The temple is quieter than Beopjusa, providing a peaceful retreat and a glimpse into Korea’s Buddhist traditions.

The hike is suitable for those looking for a blend of nature and culture without the rigor of the park’s more challenging trails.

Samnyeonsanseong Fortress Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 8 kilometers round trip, with an elevation gain of about 300 meters.

Description: This trail circles the historical Samnyeonsanseong Fortress, offering hikers a journey through time amidst natural beauty.

The path is moderately challenging, featuring gentle inclines and declines, forested areas, and open meadows. Along the way, hikers can explore the remains of the fortress walls and gates, providing insight into Korea’s historical defense structures.

The trail also offers excellent opportunities for bird watching and enjoying the park’s diverse flora.

  • All Trails, Best Trails in Songnisan National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Imagine Your Korea, Songnisan National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Korea National Park Service, Songinsan,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Korea T Track, Songinsan National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Korean Temple Guide, Beopjusa,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Peaks and Penguines, Songnisan,, retrieved April 2024.