Recommended time to visit: fall or spring
Recommended for solo travel, friend groups, families (older children)
So, recently, I have fallen in love with hiking. I keep clicking around on Naver trying to find the next mountain. Well, one day I stumbled upon Daedunsan, a mountain that seems to be pretty popular among Koreans, but I never heard of before!
Of course, I got a few friends to travel with, and off we went to Daejeon! You could also find a place to stay in Wonju, or try to make this a day trip. I found our accommodations on the Korean app "여기어때," but I'm sure booking.com can also find you a room!
We stayed at a little hotel close to a subway station called the Residence Hotel. It had a 김밥천국 (gimbap paradise) next door as well. This came in handy when we wanted to pack a small lunch for when we reached the top! It was also close to an E-mart and a downtown area.
Getting to the Mountain
From our hotel, we took the route that ultimately led us to bus 34. This is the bus that will take you most of the way to Daedunsan from Daejeon. Be prepared! You might be standing for a full 50 minutes once you get on this bus! This was totally brutal on the way back to the hotel. We survived, but it was definitely not the highlight of our trip.
Bus 34 is also a local green bus, meaning it goes out into the countryside, unlike a city bus. Because it is a local bus, it does not come as frequently as a city bus. We guessed that it probably comes around every 15-30 minutes, but we were lucky to get on right away there and back.
You'll know you've made it once you see the big arch.
The walk down was also very pleasant as we went in the fall, so the leaves were a beautiful sight. It was quite the walk, though, about 10-15 minutes to get to the base.
At the Base
It was there we realized just how popular of a mountain this was! It had vendors, a convenience store, and everything else a tourist attraction needs. We could have skipped the gimbap and eaten there!
From here, it's an obvious straight line all the way to the summit.
The Cable Car
Probably the most attractive part of going to Daedunsan for some is the cable car. It will take you up about halfway and the scene going up is a beautiful almost bird's eye view. It's a packed cable car, but you can still enjoy the sights on the way up.
The ticket prices are pretty fair as they do cut down your time to get all the way up. We went on the weekend at 10 am and the lines for the cable car get long quickly. For the adult group price, bring about 20+ of your closest friends to get in on that dollar discount!
If you decide to forego the cable car, your climb up is tough if you're a beginner climber. A well-seasoned pro may enjoy it, however. The climb up is pretty natural compared to other mountains whose stairs are man-made and leveled off.
The cable car stops at another small vending point where you can get hotteok and water for the rest of the climb.
The Cloud Bridge
Another tourist attraction for Daedunsan is The Cloud Bridge. It is NOT for the faint of heart, like me. You can still reach the summit by taking another trail and your time is not totally hindered by deciding to pass on the chance to cross it.
While I was pretty scared about how high up I was, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take an amazing photo! My friends were also much braver than I, so they helped me get across the bridge.
The Ladder to the Sky
The final big tourist attraction is the Ladder to the Sky. DEFINITELY not for the faint of heart. My friends wanted to climb it, but that was a tough one for me to get up. I just kept repeating, "Look at their shoes," and did not look elsewhere. Pretty sure I would have fainted. If you're not afraid of heights, you cannot miss this!
The rest of the climb was very enjoyable. I loved that there were few stairs. You really had to climb rocks to get all the way up. I'm not good at cardio by any means, but I still puffed and chuffed my way up. Well worth it for the pictures.
If you're looking for a good climb, definitely consider this mountain!