The next morning Laura headed back to Daegu, while Mara and I intended to hike a second trail. An early morning call to tourist information (dial 1330) convinced us to take a bus down the mountain to Gurye (20 minutes), then a second bus to Namwon (an hour) in order to hike through Piagol Valley. Once we go to Namwon, we found out that tourist information didn't know where a bus was for the valley, so simply told us Namwon instead of looking it up. There was no bus from Namwon. Fantastic. A few furious phone calls later, we were given a few options on hikes from the Namwon area, which I will describe below:
Option 1: Baesung Valley
We arrived in Namwon around 10 am, but the earliest bus to the Baesung area was at 12:40. It was estimated to be a four hour hike, so it wasn't possible due to the time constraints. I had trouble finding any information on this course online.
Option 2: Baraebong Course
Take a taxi to Woonbong Terminal, walk for 20 minutes to Herb Valley, which is the starting point of the course. It is estimated to take 4.5 hours and is 9.4 km long. We didn't have time for this one, either. Detailed information can be found here, which is part of Korea's National Park website.
Option 3: Jirisan Trekking Trail
This is the suggestion we went with, it is about an 18 km trek around the mountain area, and is exceptionally beautiful. I should point out the only difference from a hike and a trail is that a hike actually has a summit, otherwise they are the same. Don't expect it to be a leisurely stroll!
Directions: Leave the Namwon Bus Terminal and cross the street, take bus number 101, 102, or 1-102 to Jucheon (ride is about 10 minutes and costs 1,000 won). Get off at the building pictured below, it is tourist information. See the sign with that hiker? Follow him, right down the street, and in about 1 km, it will lead you through the farms and into the mountain area.
Namwon is on the list of top 20 most beautiful rural areas in Korea, and I can see why.
I love the rocks around Korea, and even more when I see trees breaking through them- thriving under impossible circumstances.
This website, 10mag.com, has some great information on the Jirisan Trekking Trail. Check it out, especially if you intend to stay overnight on the trail!
It was a two hour bus ride from Namwon to Daegu, but the buses are not too frequent. The last one leaves at 6:10 pm and ends at Seobu Bus Terminal in Daegu. From there, walk to the street, turn right and you'll see Seongdangmot Subway Station (on the red line).