Introducing Wolchulsan National Park
East of Yeongam, 42-sq-km Wolchulsan, Korea’s smallest national park, invites a day of hiking. There are crags, spires and unusual shaped rocks around every corner as well as an 8m Buddha rock carving, steel stairways and a 52m steel bridge spanning two ridges. Beautiful and rugged rock formations include Cheonwangbong (809m), the park’s highest peak.
The popular route is the 8km, six-hour hike from Dogap-sa in the west to Cheonhwang-sa in the east or vice versa. Tracks are well signposted, but steep and strenuous in places due to the rocky terrain. Bring lots of water. Dogap-sa is a gorgeous temple complex where you’ll find a painting, amusingly, detailing a scene from the 2002 World Cup. It’s at the back of the main hall. If you’re not up for a huge hike, head to the more popular Cheonhwang-sa end and hike an hour up a rocky path to the suspension bridge from where sprawling views of the surrounding country unfold.
The gateway to the park is Yeongam, from where buses run the 11km to Dogap-sa (₩1250, 20 minutes, 9.30am and 2.10pm) in the west and the 4km to Cheonhwang-sa (₩1100, 10 minutes, five daily). Consider taking a taxi from Yeongam.