Taebaek-san (Big White Mountain) is, for shamanists, one of the most sacred mountains in Korea. Five year-round hiking trails snake up through the park to the summit, Janggun-bong (1568m) and Cheonjedan (천제단), an altar connected with Korea’s mythical founder, Dangun. Included in the ticket is admission to the Taebaek Coal Museum, which documents the history of coal mining in the region.
Cheonjedan is a 3m-high stark stone structure believed to have been used since the Silla dynasty. Ceremonies are performed here on New Year’s Day and during Taebaek-je (Taebaek folk festival; 태백제) in early October. There is also a shrine toDangun (단군성전), with a rare outdoor statue of the legendary founder of Korea, about 800m from the park entrance.
Cheonjedan is a 4.5km hike northwest from the park entrance; allow 2½ hours to get there. The other peak, Munsu-bong (1546m), is 4km from the park entrance and 3km from Cheonjedan. The park is especially crowded during Taebaek-je and when the royal azaleas bloom in June. Most of the hiking signs are in Korean only.