CLICK here for high resolution printable trail map (1.5 MB).
Odaesan was designated a national park in 1975 and lies at the intersection of the Taebaek and Charyeongsan mountain ranges, connecting Taebaeksan, Seoraksan, Sobaeksan, and Chiaksan. It's one of the larger national parks in Korea with 303.9 km2, split between Pyeongchang and Hongcheon Counties in the west and Gangneung in the east. The mountain was apparently named after a sacred peak in China, but Koreans have often referred to it by the nickname Sogeumgang ("little Geumgang"), because its scenery compares to the Geumgang Mountains in the North. The mountain topography is said to resemble a crane with wings outstretched, as if about to take flight. About 1 million people visit Odaesan every year.
Major peaks at Odaesan include Birobong (1,563m), Horyeongbong (1,560m), Noinbong (1,338m), Maebong (1,173m), Durobong (1,422m), and Dongdaesan (1,434m). Hikers revere the park for its stunning Mureunggye Valley, waterfalls, and forests, which are made up of fir trees, yews, and Mongolian oaks and sustain populations of roe deer and wild boars. In the spring, royal azaleas bloom on the slopes. During the winter, when snow lies heavy on the ground, Odaesan has a lonely, remote feel to it and a stark, cold beauty worth experiencing. Two beautiful Buddhist temples--Sangwonsa and Woljeongsa--are found near the southwest entrance to the park.
Most of the routes at Odaesan are day hikes. Normally it would be possible to start at Sangwonsa, hike to Birobong (3.5 km), continue to Durobong (5.4 km), head back down to Dongdaesan (6.7 km), and keep going all the way to the Sogeum Service Complex gate (15 km), but currently the segment of trail between Dongdaesan and Jingogae is closed for ecological restoration. This closure effectively separates the eastern and western sections of the park.
Gangneung is the primary access point for Odaesan and can be reached from Busan and Seoul via train or express bus. Gangneung Bus Terminal is a 5 minute taxi ride from Gangneung Train Station. From the terminal, take a bus to Jinbu (W3,400). The ride takes about 45 minutes. At Jinbu Terminal, local buses can be found at the back of the complex (pay on the bus). Buses to Woljeongsa stop at the Minbak Village, which has all the lodging options for the southwest entrance. The ride takes about 20 minutes. If you want to go straight to the trailhead, take a bus to Sangwonsa, located about 8.3 km beyond Woljeongsa (50 min).
JINBU Terminal ► WOLJEONGSA
06:20 07:40 10:50 14:20 18:30 19:40
JINBU Terminal ► SANGWONSA
08:30 09:40 11:50 12:50 15:30 16:40
Buses to Sangwonsa and the trailhead return to Jinbu about 50 minutes to 1 hour after their original departure time (see "Getting There"). Exact times are posted in the Sangwonsa parking lot next to the bus stop. From Jinbu, intercity buses go to Dong Seoul (every hour from 07:55 to 20:45), Wonju, and Gangneung. Regular buses run from both Wonju and Gangneung to Busan and Seoul. Wonju is a useful access point if you plan to continue on to Sobaeksan National Park.
JINBU Bus Terminal ► WONJU Bus Terminal
Duration: 2 hours
07:15 08:25 09:15 10:25 10:45 11:55 12:55 14:10 14:25 15:20 15:35 15:55 16:35 17:05 17:25 18:05 19:20 20:05
SLEEPING & EATING
The minbak village about 0.5 km south of the southwest ticket office has a small selection of nice places to stay, including some newer buildings with spacious, spotless rooms, great showers, and cable TV. A room for two should cost between W25,000 and W35,000. There are a few restaurant choices a short walk from the lodgings (an especially good one is not far down the road toward Jinbu) and a scattering of tiny, family-owned stores with very basic inventories.
There are two campgrounds at Odaesan:
(1) Across from Odaesan Shelter, about half-way between Woljeongsa and Sangwonsa
(2) At Sogeum Service Complex in the northeastern part of the park.
Call ahead for reservations.
The trail from Jingogae to Dongdaesan is closed to hikers until 2011, to allow regrowth of surrounding habitats.
VIEW OTHER TRAIL CLOSURES ON THE KNPS WEBSITE
[Park Office] : 75-6 Ganpyeong-ri Jinbu-myeon Pyeongchang Gangwon
[Tel] : 82-33-332-6417
OFFICIAL KNPS ODAESAN WEBSITE (English)
(Contributed by Alex)