Located on the outskirts of Daegu City, Biseulsan County Park (비슬산 군립공원) offers hikers a chance to see the unique natural scenery of Biseulsan Rock Stream (Natural Monument 435), view the Nakdong River (낙동강) from high above, and a few noteworthy rock outcroppings. From the end of April to the beginning of May, visitors can see a wild field of pink Royal Azaleas (철쭉) growing at the top of the mountain. And during the fall, visitors can see the tall Eulalia grass that has grown there.
From Daegu to the Biseulsan Recreational Forest by city bus takes about an hour and a half or more depending on where you start. The bus will drop you off at a large parking lot from which you can simply follow signs to the trail. The trail takes you past a camping site and some cabins before the path splits into two directions. There is a map at the intersection and you can decide there which way you want to climb. I took the left trail on the advice of some Koreans.
The first glimpses of the Biseulsan Rock Stream are around the camp grounds. This “rock stream” is a series of patches of rocks that have been deposited by glaciers in an ice age 10,000 to 100,000 years ago. There are two kinds of rocks: one is smaller with sharp edges, and the other is large, round and white. A man I met at the start of the hike and then met again at the main peak had climbed the mountain by climbing over these piles of rocks.
I started my hike late so I hiked at a blistering pace and made it to the first peak in just 40 minutes. This peak has an interesting and large rock outcropping that you can climb up. I found a group of four Koreans up top who were playing “Go Stop”, a kind of card game and having a nice chat.
Right next to this rock outcropping is a uniquely located, three-story stone pagoda. According to its information sign, it is generally estimated to date from the post Unified Silla Dynasty or the early Goryo Dynasty (AD 918-1391). I would have loved to have had a picnic around there, but I was in too much of a rush to make it to the main peak and back down before dark to stop for anything but pictures.
In the same vicinity were three other rocks with names including “Brother Rocks” (형제바위), “King’s Hat Rock” (상감바위), and “White Bear Rock” (백곰바위). The sign on the trail naming White Bear Rock also has a picture of the rock standing up, however, it has fallen over.
From here to the main peak took me about another an hour of fast paced hiking. To my disappointment, there was no breeze to refresh me, although it was nice to bump into the Korean hiker who had climbed the “Rock Stream”. I also met a weary Korean hiker who had hiked all the way from Apsan Mountain in Daegu. We all shared some snacks and dongdongju (동동주), a Korean rice wine, and discussed the view of the Nakdong River (낙동강) before heading down together to a temple called Yugasa (유가사) where we could catch a bus.
There was a hermitage located a few hundred meters from Yugasa where, while I was taking photos, a woman invited me to eat dinner in an auxiliary temple building and I gladly accepted the offer. Inside the building was an older gentleman, and elderly woman, and a female Buddhist monk. The food that we ate consisted of leaves of lettuce in which we put rice, a fermented bean paste mixture, and dried seaweed. It was a great meal, and I’m thankful for their hospitality.
Sitting at my desk and looking back, Biseulsan County Park is a worthwhile trek for those who live Daegu or are in the vicinity. I would particularly like to visit again in the spring to see the Royal Azaleas in full bloom and to spend more time around the scenic three-story pagoda.