Baekmu-dong to Cheonwang-bong
Looking northwest over the Hanshin-jigok Valley from Jangteomok Shelter. The Baekmu-dong area can be seen in the centre of the valley, our trail follows the course of the ridge on the right of shot
Taking into account all factors of difficulty and time, the Baekmu-dong approach to Cheonwang-bong is probably the easiest walk of the three summit approaches. It's a couple of kilmometres longer than the Jungsan-ri route, but never near as steep, arriving much lower at the Jangteomok pass from where you join the high ridge to the summit. There is a possible circuit trail from Baekmu-dong, climbing toward Yeongshin-bong rather than Cheonwang-bong, which I'll show below.
The Baekmu-dong entrance is located in the central-north of the park, just south of the village of Macheon-myeon in Hamyang county. This is beautiful countryside, with a feeling of remoteness much deeper to me than the other park entrances, the roads are small and slow. It's worth keeping in mind, if making a traverse and want to return, the drive around the mountain from Jungsan-ri to Baekmu-dong can take up to two hours.
Baekmu-dong is a
popular trailhead though, and eight buses run a day between it and East
Seoul bus terminal! From Macheon-myeon the road follows the Baekmu-dong
valley and there are a number of nice new pensions and minbaks, while at
the entrance itself there is more accommodation and a number of good
restaurants. The campground here is very good, right by the beginning of
the trail and usually quieter than that at Daewon-sa.
Baekmu-dong - 7.5km, 4.5hr - Cheonwang-bong
The trail leaves from the top-left corner of the campground, and you'll almost instantly come to a junction, this is the where the trails meet for the circuit to Yeongshin-bong. The track to the right heads up the Hansin-gyegok to Seseok shelter below Yeongshin-bong (3hr40min)
Our trail to Cheonwang-bong heads left, staying on the left bed of a boulder stream, and climbing steadily to the mighty Hadong-bawi boulders, about 1400m from the trailhead. Five hundred metres on from there you'll reach the Cham-saem spring (left) a source of delicious water - the last before reaching Jeongteomok Shelter.
Jangteomok shelter centre, and Yeonha-bong (1730m) right
The trail to Jangteomok maintains a pretty true south-east course all the way, and there are literally no junctions so there's no fear of getting off course. From the spring we rise to a ridge which we follow to the shelter. It's a good trail and progress is steady, over the last kilometre there are good views to the pass and the ridge to the west.
The wide pass at Jeongteomok is set up for hundreds of people to rest, and is the most popluar junction in all Jiri-san, outside the shelter is a large deck and picnic area. She's fairly busy on a weekend but you can usually find a table, the cold mountain wind up here often gets people moving before too long! Fresh water can be found at a spring about 50m down the south-eastern trail right in front of the shelter, this is the head of the direct path to Jungsan-ri (3hrs). Toilets are around the back of the building.
Jangteomok Shelter sleeps about 150 people, but on a good day scores more turn up looking to stay - BOOK ONLINE - if you want a floor space and don't fancy standing around in the kitchen/toilets or the open air all night.
The trail up to Cheonwang-bong heads north-east from the shelter, the 1.7km ridge walk is superb and should take about an hour. As mentioned in the Jungsan-ri section, this time can be a bit longer on a busy day, a couple of sections around rocks and on staircases are single file, and on a busy day there'll be the odd queue.
Circuit Walk to Baekmu-dong
The circuit trail I mentioned earlier heads from Baekmu-dong to Jangteomok Shelter, on to Seseok Shelter and returning to Baekmu-dong down the Hansin-gyegok Valley (or vice-versa). This is an 8.5hr circuit, and a great chance to get a taste of the park beyond the main peak.
From Jangteomok it's a 2hour walk to Seseok shelter, heading south-west along the ridge away from Cheonwang-bong. Along the way you'll cross the peaks of Yeonha-bong (1730m), Samshin-bong and Chotdae-bong (1703m) - which has great southern views.
The area around Seseok is famous for its azalea fields and is quite stunning at the right time of year. Seseok is a wide open pass and a four way trail junction. The Baekdu-degan ridge trail continues to the west, tracks go south into Hadong county and the Hansin Valley trail heads north, turning right off the ridge trail.
I've never walked the Hansin Valley, but by all accounts it's a well walked trail and features a number of impressive waterfalls. It's a 3 hour walk from the Seseok shelter back to Baekmu-dong.
Getting to Baekmu-dong
By Road: Depending on where you're coming from you'll want to either exit 88OlympicExpressway 12 at Jiri-san IC, or Hamyang IC.
From Jiri-sanIC (red route) follow Provincial road 37 into the town of Inwol. From here head south on PR60. At Sannae-ri, take the left fork in the road, staying on PR60. At Macheon-ri turn left onto PR1023, following signs to Baekmu-dong. Estimated time from Jiri-san IC 25min.
From Hamyang IC take National Highway 24 west to PR1023 some 5km out of town, this winds south through beautiful countryside to PR60 just east of Macheon-myeon. This road is pretty slow and hilly, and although more direct, it may be easier to stay on the 24 to Inwol and take the 60 south. Green route est.time 40min.
By Bus: Hamyang City buses run to Baekmu-dong via Inwol 17 times a day from 7am until 6:30pm.
Buses leave the intercity bus terminal at 7:00, 8:20, 9:00, 9:30, 10:20, 11:20, 11:50, 12:15, 12:50, 13:50, 14:20, 15:00, 16:00, 16:40, 17:00, 17:50, 18:30.
Baekmu-dong-Hamyang - 8:30, 9:30, 10:40, 11:10, 11:35, 12:30, 13:20, 14:00, 14:30, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:30, 18:00, 18:30, 19:00, 19:40.
Express buses leave Dong Seoul bus terminal for Baekmu-dong via Hamyang six times a day at 7:00, 8:20, 10:30, 13:20, 15:20, 17:30, 19:00 and 0:00 (midnight). Buses leave from Bay 34. It's a 3hr trip to Hanyang, 3hr40min to Baekmu-dong.
This website has the schedule from Dong Seoul should there be any changes. You my also be able to pre-book a ticket there http://www.jirisanbus.com/ (all Korean).
There is one express bus from Daejeon every day, leaving Daejeon Terminal at 07:10 and returning from Baekmu-dong at 18:30.