Juwangsan Mountain National Park (주왕산 군립공원) is located in Gyeongsangbuk-do (경상북도). According to the Korea Tourism Organization, it was designated as National Park #12 in 1976 and is the smallest of Korea’s National Parks. However, what the park is lacking in size, it makes up for in beauty.
I took my trip to Juwangsan on an early summer afternoon. The weather was perfect the entire day, giving me lots of opportunities to take photos with blue skies and fluffy white clouds. There’s nothing better than good weather to make me a happy traveler and photographer.
From the parking lot of the park until you reach Daejeonsa Temple (대전사) is a path lined with restaurants serving all of your standard Korean dishes and drinks. As you walk up this road, the huge rocks atop Juwangsan draw your attention more and more.
The giant rocks of Juwangsan protrude from out of the earth. I think they look a bit like a folding screen. Whatever they look like to you, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s impressive to look at. With Daejeonsa Temple positioned at their base, the looming rocks seem to take on the role of a powerful and vigilant guardian of the temple.
I asked a National Park Officer to suggest a good route to take and took his advice. It turned out that I didn’t climb up those big rocks as I’d hoped. Instead, I climbed to the top of some other peak with absolutely no view of anything. Fortunately, about 1hr 15m up the trail I arrived at an overlook with a view of more impressive mountain shapes. I’m now curious if it is possible to climb them.
I only stopped long enough to entertain thoughts of climbing what I was looking at and take some photos. It took me another 30 minutes to get to the peak, and then another hour to get down the other side and reach the first of several waterfalls I found in the valley below.
There are signs showing you where three waterfalls are located and each is plainly listed as waterfalls number 1, 2, and 3. The path leading to all of them is relatively flat and super easy on the legs. This was where I enjoyed myself the most as I was impressed with much of what I saw. The waterfalls weren’t gushing water, but they rarely are when I visit. The most impressive memory I have from walking from waterfall to waterfall is the strange rock shapes that I encountered.
There are also a couple of caves and Buddhist hermitages located in the area that I didn’t have time to visit. The Korea Tourism Organization says that there are four valleys. Basically, there’s a good amount of things to see at Juwangsan.
Sitting at my desk and looking back, Juwangsan National Park gets a huge thumbs up. I’m looking forward to returning in the fall when the leaves have changed colors and I have another chance to see anything I missed on my first visit. I’ll also take a visit to a nearby reservoir pond that was built in ancient times and is called Jusanji (주산지). If you don’t like hiking, you could still skip climbing to the peak, stay in the valleys and have a good time.