Hiking Biseulsan

Biseulsan (비슬산)

Bisuelsan is located just south of Daegu, connected to Apsan by a 16km trail, near the town of Hyunpung (현풍).  It's one of the toughest mountains I've climbed, with its steep and rocky paths.  Yet these features, combined with the plant life, also make it one of the most beautiful.  Around late April and early May, Bisuelsan's azalea colonies bloom, turning entire mountainsides bright pink.  It will be extremely crowded around this time, yet still a worthwhile adventure.

I. The Hike
II. Tips
III. Food
IV. Starting Locations
V. Getting There

For starting points and directions, see "locations" below. Also, there's a blank map you can print and plan your own route.

But before we get to this useful stuff, let me quickly share our route (marked in purple).  First, upon arriving at Yuga Temple (유가사), we made the decision to see both the Azaleas (참꽃군락지) and the Peak (대경봉).  Then we were easily able to follow trail signs to reach them.  The hike took about 4.5 hours overall.

Our story goes like this:

We started climbing from Yuga Temple.....

....past an informative fence....

 ....up some rivers of rock....

 ...into the Azaleas, where we turned left...

 ....to the peak of Bisuelsan.

What to bring:
-Plenty of water.  Two of us were fine with three small bottles.  But for a slow and sweaty hike in hotter months, I'd recommend at least a 2-liter per person.
-Support systems.  Hiking poles can really help relieve pressure from your back and legs (so can proper shoes).  Also, bring ankle or knee braces if you doubt your structural integrity.  Rocky Bisuelsan can deliver quite a pounding to your joints, especially on the way down.
-Other junk for your trunk:  Cameras, snacks, sunglasses
-A badge. Honor and immortalize your hiking team by leaving your mark.
-A rock. Place as an offering to 산신, the Mountain God, for good fortune.

 General tips

This time of year (late April and May) Biseulsan is crowded!  The upper trails are face-to-ass traffic.  The ridges from afar resemble ant hills.

Waiting in line for your own picture at the peak isn't worth the battle.  Just use this one.  These folks look better than you would anyway.  The rocks really bring out their colors.

Your life can be an endless journey if you heed the wise words of Yogi Berra: "when you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Scavenger birds using the mountain's wind current to hover above a potential food-source, most likely in this case a wounded hiker.

Not sure what this is.  Maybe some attempt to communicate with heaven, or a human launching pad, or a hydrogen-bomb test target, or...wait a minute.  Maybe that's an "I"....

When descending these treacherous trails, make sure you zig before you zag.  A zagzig could prove disastrous.

Do we have a joke for this one? No?  Apologies ladies and gents, no cheesy joke for this one.   Korea has just run out of cheese.

Speaking of cheese, what would a Rokin' Daegu Restaurants entry be without the food.  Now for those of you city-slickers hoping to find a restaurant at the peak, go ride the cable-car to Apsan.  Here on the rugged ridges of Biseulsan, you'll have only what you bring.  김밥 (kimbap), 사과 (apples) and hard-boiled 계란 (eggs) make easy meals to toss in your sack.  No need to go crazy though; even the simplest foods taste amazing on the mountain top.

If you survive the hike, enjoy some well-deserved grub at the bottom.  According to Korean custom, there is a mandatory type of restaurant at the base of every mountain:  파전 (pahjuhn) and 막걸리 (Makgeolli), the quintessential hiking meal. 

파전 (pahjuhn) is spring onion (pah) pancake (juhn).  Such veggie dishes go well with 막걸리 (Makgeolli), a traditional Korean rice wine.  This sweet milky goodness helps to circulate blood into sore muscles yet doesn't dehydrate like other alcohols, hence its popularity among hikers.  Pictured here is 동동주 (dong-dong ju), a similar but more expensive variety that involves filtering out the top layers during fermentation.    

[Easily learn how to make your own juhn, or Korean "pancakes."]

(From the Azaleas to the Peak is South to North... just so you know where the sun will be throughout a clear day, or in which direction you can see Daegu)

To hike 비슬산 (Bisuelsan) you can start from two points:

At Yuga Temple, ask for a map:
 "지도 주세요 (jee-do jew-say-yo").
However it's an attraction map of
 the entire 달성 area, including
Daegu.  So maybe not very
descriptive of the hike.
1.  유가사 (Yuga Temple) - Head here to check out the temple and its elaborate stone fields.  Most of all, here begin the shortest (and steepest) trails directly to 대경봉, Bisuelsan's peak.  Or you can hang a few rights on your way up and still check out the 참꽃군락지 (Azalea colony) before cutting left across the ridges to the peak, like we did.
See map

2.  비슬산 자연휴양림 (Bisuelsan Forrest of Recreation) - Head here if you're interested in the events of the Azalea Festival [*cancelled].  (And come back in January for the Ice Festival).  This starting point also offers the shortest routes to the 참꽃군락지 (Azalea colony), and other attractions such as the 강우관측소 (Weather tower), 대견사지 (a Buddhist pagoda) and 소재사 (Sojae Temple).  Start from here especially if you're not interested in hiking to Bisuelsan's peak (although you still can of course).
See map

Either starting location can be entered into a GPS, or told to a cab driver.  Otherwise, prepare yourself for a  journey:

From 대곡역 (Daegok Subway Station)
   Take the subway to Daegok, the southwestern end of the red line (line #1).  From here, a taxi ride to Biseulsan would be about 35mins on the highway, and many many \'s.   If time is on your side, save yourself the cheddar and take a plebeian ...err I mean public bus.  Walk out exit #1 of Daegok Station, and about 100 meters up is the bus stop.  Look for a different bus depending on the day:

On Weekdays, take a 600 bus to 현풍 터미널(Hyeonpung Terminal), a small town southwest of Daegu.  From there, take a short taxi ride to one of the Bisuelsan starting points.

On Weekends, you can take the 달성5 bus directly to 유가사 (Yuga Temple).  It's your usual public bus fare of \1,100 and should take you around an hour.  That is, unless it breaks down, in which case it will remain a large roadblock for days.

If you like hiking, and want some beautiful views of Daegu, try hiking Apsan at night.


  1. Your blog has helped me so much while living here. Thank you!

  2. Your blog has helped me so much while living here. Thank you!