Naejangsan National Park is one of the smallest national parks in South Korea, and the main portion of the national park centres on an amphitheater of mountains.
Starting from the north in a clockwise direction, the main mountains (or peaks) are:
Seoraebong (624 metres)
Wollyeongbong (427 metres)
Janggunbong (696.2 metres)
Yeonjabong (675 metres)
Sinseonbong (763.2 metres)
Kkachibong (717 metres)
Yeonjibong (670.6 metres)
Manghaebong (679.3 metres)
Bulchulbong (622.2 metres)
There is a trekking path on top all these peaks where you can do a loop to visit all of them, however this will take 5-6 hours at least so be prepared. As for me, I managed to climb to the top of Sinseonbong (the highest peak in the amphitheater) and then trek across to Yeongjabong followed by taking the cablecar down to the main park area.
There are lots of maps, signages and information boards at Naejangsan National Park to guide you, so it is easy to move around. Most of them include English, and in fact during the peak seasons, a lot of people will be there so it is difficult to get lost. However during off-peak seasons, sometimes you can hardly see another person during trekking (especially at the more rugged mountains in the southern part of the amphitheater of mountains).
The Naejangsan tourist village is the base which you start your visit to the Naejangsan National Park. This village is small and easy to move around, consisting of accomodations such as motels and inns, as well as restaurants, convenient stores, police station, tourist information centre etc. The park entrance is about 10-15 minutes walk away, and then you have to walk another 30 minutes to the main park area (another option is to take the internal buses).
As camping in the Naejangsan National Park is very limited, most of the visitors will have to stay either in the Naejangsan tourist village or even further away such as Jeongeup or Jeonju. Some even come all the way from Seoul for a day trip, but this is very rush and not advisable unless you really have limited time.
Sinseonbong Peak is the highest peak of Naejangsan National Park at 763.2 metres above sea level. This peak is located at the southern part of the amphitheater of peaks which form the national park.
I managed to climb up to the top of this peak, which offers great views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trek starts from a path next to Naejangsa Temple along the valley floor, then followed by a relatively steep climb all the way to the top. The climb itself is rather strenous so you have to be physically fit. It takes about 1-2 hours for the climbing up, and you can stop and take a rest if you are tired (this is what I did). Please get a map from the tourist information centre which clearly identifies all the trekking / climbing routes.
Yeonjabong Peak can be reached either by taking the cablecar or by trekking up from the bottom of the valley. This peak offers great views of the surrounding mountains, as well as the other mountains south of Naejangsan National Park. Even if you were to take the cablecar, you still need to do some steep climbing to be able to reach the top, so be prepared.
As for me, I actually trekked from Sinseonbong (another peak just next to Yeonjabong) to Yeonjabong, then down by taking the cablecar.
One of the most famous things about Naejangsan National Park are the colourful autumn leaves which are best viewed in early to mid-November every year. However, the problem is that there will be huge crowds during this period so you have to be prepared.
Another option is to come earlier in mid-October. The leaves are not so colourful but there is much less crowd especially during weekdays. More photos of the colourful autumn leaves are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Before reaching the main park area of Naejangsan National Park, you will see a beautiful pond with the Wuhwajeong Pavillion. The best time to visit this pond is early in the morning when the water is still and you can see stunning reflections of the mountains (see travelogue section of this VT page for more photos). There is a bridge where you can walk and have good views of the pond, pavillion and surroundings). You can also go to the pavillion in the middle of the pond, but this involves walking on stones jutting out of the pond and this can be dangerous.
It takes about 30 minutes to walk from the park entrance to the main park area along the path and road. However, this is time well spent because of the beautiful mountain scenery as well as the greenery and flora (especially during autumn with the colourful maple trees lining the road).
If you are looking for maps, brochures and enquire other information about Naejangsan National Park, there are 3 places which you can do so:
Information centre at Naejangsan tourist village - This information centre is located in the tourist village, just next to the police station along the row of restaurants.
Park entrance information booth - When you enter the park and pay the admission fess, there is a small information booth there.
Information centre at the main park area - This information centre is located near to the cablecar station as well as the paths leading to the famous Naejangsa Temple and Baengnyeonam Hermitage.
When you take the cablecar up to Yeonjabong Peak, you must take a short and easy walk to a viewing pavillion at a cliff with great views of the surrounding mountains. This pavillion has 2-3 storeys and the best view is on the top where there are benches for you to sit as well as binoculars (you need to pay). There is also an information board to tell you the names of the various mountains and hermitages which you can see from here.
Photos of the surrounding mountains taken from this viewing pavillion are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
When you are going up to Sinseonbong Peak or Kkachibong Peak, you will pass by a short detour which will take you to Geumseon Waterfalls. Once you reach there, there are metal steps which will lead you up the waterfalls. However, do not expect it to be a big waterfall. In fact during the dryer seasons such as autumn, there is very little water and it looks more like a stream.
Near to Geumseon Waterfalls (while you make your way up Sinseonbong Peak or Kkachibong Peak) is the Yonggul Cave. In order to reach this cave, you have to climb quite a lot of steep metal stairs (see photo) but the nice view of the mountains are probably worth it. Next to the cave is an information signboard where you will learn more about the history of this cave.
While you are trekking in Naejangsan National Park during spring to autumn, you will be able to see some wild flowers, especially on higher altitude near the mountain peaks. These wildflowers are not very big, so you may need to be observant to spot them. one of the most common wildflowers here is the daisy which comes in 2-3 different colours.
One of the most prominent peaks of Naejangsan National Park is Seoraebong Peak (624 metres) because of its beautiful rocky peak. You can actually trek all the way up from the south face of this mountain and then descend on the north face (or vice versa). The north face of Seoraebong Peak is just next to the Naejang Reservoir as well as the famous Donghak Revolution Monument. There is an entrance to the national park here together wirh a small ticket booth. Take note that climbing Seoraebong Peak is rather strenous so physical training is required. Please see tip on south face of Seoraebong Peak.
The south face of Seoraebong Peak is inside the National Park itself and the Baengnyeonam Hermitage is built on the south face slope of this mountain. There are very good views of the south face of this mountain when you are at the cablecar station and viewing pavillon on the opposite mountain (Yeonjabong Peak). Best season to view Seoraebong south face is during the peak of autumn with the colourful trees, but this is the peak season so be prepared for the huge crowds.