Korea's  Baekdu-daegan  백두대간
Here is a striking modern image of the Baekdu-daegan and its subsidiary ranges as a flowering
plum-tree-branch, laid on its side for better perspective.  
It shows it as a living organism, with strong
roots in Manchuria (the Baekdu-san area) and channeling energy as a tree does water, "bearing fruit" all over the
nation.  Plum-tree-branches are favorite images of Neo-Confucianists, as they bloom despite bitter cold and ice
at the end of winter (showing resolute endurance and even achievement in the face of harsh external conditions, a
virtue of the
Seonbi scholar).  (taken from News 21 magazine, Seoul)
<--- the Baekdu-
daegan is his spine
(a web-site on the Baekdu-daegan
as an eco-system is

(a good website all in Korean is
the Major Peaks of the
Baekdu-daegan are:
now in North Korea:

Baekdu-san                2850m
(that peak in China; highest peak in NK is 2744m)
Sobaek-san                  2374m / 2174m
Buk-Potae-san             2289m
(Nam-Potae-san 2435m is bypassed)
Baeksa-bong                       2099m
Godu-san                             2200m?
(here, the "Ganjeong-baekjang" Range
branches off to the NE;  see
Branch #1 here)
Duryu-san (buk)           2309m
Baekmo-san                        1909m
Daedeok-san                       2113m
Buksubaek-san                    2522m
Bujeon-ryeong Pass           1455m
Ori-san                                 1925m
Baek-san (buk)                   2070m
Madae-san                  1746m
(here, the "Cheongbuk-jeongmaek" and
"Cheongnam-jeongmaek" Ranges branch
off to the west;  see
Branches #2 and #3 here)
Sasu-san Seo-il-bong        1747m
Baek-san (nam)                  1724m
Maru-ryeong Pass                972m
Byeongpung-san                1549m
Cheol-eung-san                  1085m
Bukdae-san                        1327m
Duryu-san (nam)    1324m / 1224m
(here, the "Haeseo-jeongmaek" and
"Yeseongnam-Imjinbuk-jeongmaek" Ranges
branch off to the southwest;  see
Branches #4 and #5)
Eungbong-san                                  1571m
Baekam-san Buk-bong          1220m
Baekam-san Nam-bong         1110m
(here, the "Hanbuk-jeongmaek" Range branches
off heading south then west;  see
Branch #6 here)
Hwangryong-san                                 1268m
Mangma-am-san                                 1091m
Pungryu-san                                         1024m
Geumgang-san  Seonjang-san          1224m
Geumgang-san  Obong-san               1264m
Geumgang-san  Sangdeung-bong     1227m
Geumgang-san  Oknyeo-bong   1424m
Geumgang-san Biro-bong   1638m
Geumgang-san  Wolchul-bong   1580m
Geumgang-san  Ilchul-bong        1552m
Geumgang-san  Chaehal-bong   1588m
Geumgang-san  Jijang-bong                1381m
Geumgang-san  Chail-bong                 1529m
Geumgang-san  Baekma-bong           1510m
Geumgang-san  Horyeong-bong         1403m
Geumgang-san  Guksa-bong              1385m
Magira-san   (in DMZ)                          1447m
Mu-san         (in DMZ)                          1320m
Nameless in DMZ                                  854m
Nameless in DMZ                                 924m
Nameless in DMZ                              1031m
now in South Korea:

Hyangno-bong                                    1296m
(Eungbong-san 1271m is bypassed)
8-km ridge ~1100m incl. Donggul-bong       1166m
Chiljeol-bong                                                    1172m
Maebong-san 1271m is bypassed)
Jinbu-ryeong Pass                                           520m
Seorak-san  Masan-bong                             1052m
Seorak-san  Byeongpung-bawi                    1050m
Seorak-san  Shinseon-bong              1204m
Seorak-san  Sang-bong                                1239m
Seorak-san  Mishi-ryeong Pass          826m
Seorak-san  Hwangcheol-bong         1381m
Seorak-san  Nahan-bong                  1327m
Seorak-san  Daecheong-bong    1708m
Seorak-san  Jungcheong-bong            1666m
Seorak-san  Kkeut-cheong-bong         1604m
Seorak-san  Hangye-ryeong pass       1004m
(Seorak's An-san 1430 & Gari-bong 1518 are bypassed)
Seorak-san  nameless                                      1158m
Jeombong-san  Mangdaeam-bong                 1236m
Jeombong-san  summit                         1424m
Jeombong-san  nameless peak                       1169m
nameless peak                         972m
Jeombong-san  Danmok-ryeong ridge/peak     843m
Jeombong-san  Bukam-ryeong ridge/peak      1136m
nameless peak                          900m
Jochim-ryeong  ridge/pass                                 ~750m
(Jochim-ryeong is locally claimed to be the halfway-
point in the entire Baekdu-daegan ridgeline)

12-km-long nameless Ridge                           ~1000m
with nameless Peak                                        1115m
nameless pass above Galcheon-ri Village      ~800m
Galjeonggok-bong                                              1196m
Saet-ryeong  ridge/peak                                    1063m
nameless peak                                                    1100m
Guryong-ryeong Pass                                        1000m
Yaksu-san                                                            1306m
nameless peak                                                    1130m
Eungbok-san                                                       1360m
Manwol-bong                                                       1281m
Shinbae-ryeong ridge                                         1121m

Odae-san  Duro-bong                   1422m
(here, the "Yongdong-jeongmaek" Range branches
off to the southwest;  see
Branch #7 here)
Odae-san  nameless                                         1262m
Odae-san  Dongdae-san            1434m
Jingogae pass                                        950m
Odae-san  Noin-bong                 1338m
Odae-san  Sohwangbyeong-san         1328m
(Hwangbyeong-san 1407m is bypassed)
Odae-san  Mae-bong                                       1173m
Odaesan   Gonshin-bong                                 1127m
Odae-san  Seonja-ryeong ridge                      1157m
Odaesan  Seonghwang-dang-bong       930m

Daegwan-ryeong pass                          900m
Neunggyeong-san                                             1123m
Gorupogi-san                                                     1238m
Dalk-mok-jae pass                                              700m
Hwaran-bong                                                     1069m
Seokdu-bong                                                       982m
Samdang-ryeong pass                                       600m
Duri-bong                                                           1033m
Seokbyeong-san                                               1055m
Jabyeong-san                                                      873m
Sangwol-san                                                        970m
Subyeong-san Galmi-bong                              1230m?
(Subyeong-san 1202m and Jungbong-
san 1284m are bypassed)
Cheong-ok-san  Gojeok-dae                           1354m
Cheong-oksan                             1404m
Duta-san                                     1353m
Moktong-ryeong ridge                                      1028m
Hwangjang-san                                                 1059m
Sukam-san                                                        1059 & 1062
Deokhwang-san                                                1079 & 1071
Gubushi-ryeong ridge                                       1107m
Hannae-san Pyotdae-bong                              1010m
Gubong-san                                           945m
Maebong-san  Cheon-eui-bong                       1303m
Maebong-san  Bidan-bong                               1279m
Maebong-san  Geomryong-bong                     1233m
Maebong-san  Geumdae-bong              1418m
(Daedeok-san 1307m is bypassed)
Hambaek-san  Eundae-bong                  1442m
Hambaek-san  summit                            1572m
Hambaek-san  Nam-bong                       1214m
Taebaek-san  Sa-gil-chi peaks               1174 & 1214
Taebaek-san  Janggun-bong      1567m
Taebaek-san  Cheonje-dan         1561m
Taebaek-san  Musoi-bong a.k.a. Buso-bong   1547m
(Taebaek's Munsu-bong 1517m is bypassed)

Taebaek-sanmaek Range or Nakdong-jeongmaek
continues south;  see Branch #8 here

--- meanwhile the Baekdu-daegan turns west then south,
going along the
Sobaek-sanmaek Range as follows:
I have tried to indicate the relative
sacred and secular importance
of these various mountains, ridges
and passes by relative font-sizes
(this does not apply to the
"bypassed" peaks)
The GREAT EIGHT at a Glance:  
The Most Sacred Mountains along
Baekdu-daegan (north to south):

Baekdu-san          2850m

Geumgang-san    1638m

Seorak-san           1708m

Odae-san      1422m / 1434m / 1381m

Taebaek-san  1567m / 1561m / 1547m

Sobaek-san    1389m / 1440m / 1421m

Songni-san     1054m / 1016m / 1058m

Jiri-san            1507m / 1652m / 1915m
Primary SOURCES for these listings:

1.  Shiljeon Baekdudaegan Jongju Sanhaeng, a
book by Bang Sang-hoon, published by Choson-
ilbo-sa (the Seoul newspaper company) in 1997

Daehan-minguk 2005 Map of the Korean
Peninsula, published by Jungang Atlas, Seoul

Doro-jido Choishinpan Jido-daesajeon, a book
of 1:100,000 maps of South Korea, 2005 edition
by Seongji Munhwasa Publishers, Seoul.

Yeongjin 5-man Jido, a book of 1:50,000 maps
of South Korea, 2006 edition by Yeongjin
Munhwasa Publishers, Seoul.

Namhan San Gyeong-do, a 1:500,000 map of
all the mountains of South Korea
with the connecting
ridgelines designated
;   March 2008 edition by
Wolgan SAN
Magazine, Chosun Publishing, Seoul.

These sources each contain differing information, and
contradict each other in various ways, including the
names, heights and exact locations of some peaks.  I
have done my best to combine and reconcile those
differences, to make it make sense, in many hours of
focused consideration of multiple sources.

In particular, some peaks are named "
-bong" [peak] on
some maps and "-
san" [mountain] on others; there is also
the suffix "
-dae" [platform, with a Buddhist meaning] used
for a few peaks.  There doesn't seem to be any consistent
rule for which of those suffixes gets used (neither altitude
nor distance from other peaks seems to have much to do
with it), and there seems to be no consistent system for
grouping peaks together as one overall "-san";  these
seems to be only matters of common usage.  When in
doubt, I have used "-san".

The mountains located in what is now North Korea pose
particular problems, as their names, precise locations and
altitudes differ on the various sources available -- we just
don't yet have very exact and reliable information.

The Republic of Korea's new Romanization system has
been used throughout, even for the North Korean
mountains, in order to match with contemporary South
Korean maps and websites, and in the interest of
consistent accuracy.  I would welcome any corrections or
suggestions for improvement for these listings.  
Taebaek-san Duri-bong / Gitdaebaegi-bong    1353m
Chunshiri-gol spring-origin                      1200m?    (turns West)
Guryong-san  Shinseon-bong       1300m
Guryong-san  summit                    1346m
(Minbaek-san & Samdong-san 1200m? are bypassed)
Doraegi-jae Pass                                       870m?
Okdol-bong                                                1242m
(Munsu-san 1206m is bypassed)
Bakdal-ryeong ridge                                 1105m
Seondal-san                                  1236m
Galgot-san                                      966m
(North Chungcheong, Gangwon and
North Gyeongsang Provinces meet here)
(Bonghwang-san 819m is bypassed)
Sobaek-san   Helgijang-bong                   1097m
Sobaek-san   ?-bong                                 1005m
Sobaek-san   Hyeongje-bong (south)      1032m
(Hyeongje-bong summit 1178m is bypassed)
Sobaek-san   Madangchi-bong                1032m
Sobaek-san Neut-eunmaeki-bong           1272m
(Shinseon-bong 1389m is bypassed)
Sobaek-san  Sangwol-bong           1394m
Sobaek-san  Gukmang-bong         1421m
Sobaek-san  Biro-bong            1440m
Sobaek-san  Yeonhwa-bong #1     1395m
Sobaek-san  Yeonhwa-bong #2     1383m
Sobaek-san  Yeonhwa-bong #3     1357m
Sobaek-san  Jukryeong Pass                    700m
Sobaek-san  Dosol-bong                          1314m
Sobaek-san  Myojeok-bong                      1148m
Sobaek-san  Sol-bong                              1103m
Sobaek-san    ? -bong                               1034m
Sobaek-san  Shiru-bong                           1110m & 1084m
Sobaek-san  Chukdae-bong                    1081m
Jeosu-jae pass                                            800m?
Oknyeo-bong                                              1077m
Beol-jae pass  (road 975)                           600m?
Hwangjang-san                                           1077m
Daemi-san                                                  1115m
(Worak-san Munsu-bong 1162m is bypassed)
Long Ridge               1062, 1034, 1032, 844, 809, 897, 938, 838m
Po-am-san                                         962m
(Worak-san's Yeong-bong 1094m &
Mansu-bong 983m are bypassed)
Haneul-jae pass                                             600m?
Tanhang-san Wolhangsam-bong                 857m
Mun-gyeong-saejae  Bu-bong                      935m
(Juheul-bong 967m is bypassed)
Mun-gyeong-saejae  Mapae-bong               927m    (turns south)
(Shinseon-bong 1106m is bypassed)
Mun-gyeongsae-jae  Jo-ryeong pass  700m?
Mun-gyeongsae-jae  Chima-bawi-bong         813m
Mun-gyeongsae-jae  Joryeong-san    1026m
Ihwa-ryeong pass                                              550m
Baekhwa-san  Gilmi-bong                               779m
Baekhwa-san  summit                        1064m  (turns west)
Baekhwa-san  Iman-bong                                989m
Huiyang-san  Shiru-bong                                 915m
Huiyang-san (Bongam-san)                999m
Huiyang-san  Guwang-bong                            898m
Huiyang-san  Juchi-bong                                 683m
Chilbo-san  Akheui-bong                                845m   (turns south)
Chilbo-san  Jangseong-bong                        915m
Beori-migi-jae  pass                                      480m?
Gomneomi-bong                                            733m
Daeya-san  Chotdae-bong                           668m
Daeya-san  Sangdae-bong               931m
Johang-san                                                     954m
Cheonghwa-san                                984m
(Shiru-bong 876m is bypassed)
Neul-jae  pass                                                300m?
Baekam-san 857 nameless peak                629m
Bamti-jae  pass                                              480m
Sogni-san nameless                                      629m
Sogni-san nameless                                      916m
Songni-san  Munjang-dae         1054m
(here, the "Hannam-geumbuk-jeongmaek" Range
branches off heading northwest; see
Branches 9 & 10 )
Sogni-san  Munsu-bong                            1000m?
Sogni-san  Shinseon-dae                          1000m?
Songni-san  Biro-bong               1032m
Songni-san Cheonhwang-bong    1058m
Sogni-san  nameless                                          703, 667, 639
Sogni-san  Hyeongje-bong                                      803m
Bi-jae  pass                                                               350m
Gubong-san                                                              600m?
Bonghwang-san                                        741m
Hwaryeong-jae  pass                                              200m?
Yunjimi-san                                                               538m
Mujigae-san                                                             438m
Ungi-san, Go-san, Heugun-san & passes        200~400m
Baekhak-san                                                        615m
Gyebang-san  Guksu-bong                                717m
Yongmun-san                                                       710m
Myoham-san                                                        733m  
(turns west)
Chupung-ryeong  pass  (expressway)              250m?
Noleui-san                                                           743m  
(turns south)
Janggun-bong                                                     606m
Gaseong-san                                                      700m?
Gwebang-ryeong  pass                                     200m?
Hwangak-san  Yeoshi-gol-bong                       600m?
Hwangak-san  Unsu-bong                                630m?
Hwangak-san  Baek-un-bong                          770m
Hwang-ak-san  summit                 1111m
(Shinseon-bong 944 & Gocheon-bong 950 are bypassed)
Hwangak-san  south peaks                        1030m & 986m
Udu-ryeong pass                                               700m?
Hwaju-san aka Udu-san       
1162m, 1207m, 1175m, 1111m, 1089m
Minjuji-san   ?-bong                                         1124m
Minjuji-san   Samdo-bong             1172m
(North Jeolla, North Chungcheong and
North Gyeongsang Provinces meet here)
(Minjuji-san 1242m is bypassed)
Minjuji-san   ?-bong                                 1100m? & 1100m?
Buhang-ryeong  long ridge                          800~900m
Deoksan-jae  pass                                          600m?
Daedeok-san  Samdo-bong         1291m
(North Jeolla, South Gyeongsang and
North Gyeongsang Provinces meet here)
(here, the "Yeongdong-jeongmaek" Range branches
off to the south then northeast;  see
Branch 11 here)

Sosa-gogae  pass                                               450m?
Geumbong-san a.k.a. Sambong-san    1254m
Bbae-jae  pass                                                     900m
Deokyu-san  Dae-bong                                     1200m?
Deokyu-san  Ji-bong                                          1302m
Deokyu-san Tugu-bong 1275m is bypassed)
(4-km-long ridge 1200~1400m)
Deokyu-san  Baek-am-bong                              1500m?
Jung-bong 1594m, Hyangjeok-bong 1614m
and Chil-bong 1305m are bypassed)
Deokyu-san  Dongyeop-ryeong  6-km ridge    1400m?
Deokyu-san  Muryong-bong                               1492m
Deokyu-san  Satgat-bong                                  1410m
Nam-Deokyu-san  Dong(east)-bong     1507.4m
Nam-Deokyu-san  Seo(west)-bong       1510m
Deokyu-san Halmi-bong                                    1026m
Yukship-ryeong  pass                                          700m?
Yeongchwi-san  Gitdae-bong                           1015m
Yeongchwi-san   ? -bong                                    977m
Yeongchwi-san   Deok-un-bong                         956m
Yeongchwi-san                                     1076m
(here, the "Geumnam-honam-jeongmaek" Range
branches off to the W-NW;  see
Branches 12 &13.)
Yeongchwi-san   ? -bong                                 1066m
Baek-un-san                                        1279m
Junggogae-jae  ridge                                        755m
Wolgyeong-san                                                   982m
(6-km-long ridge ~900m)
Bonghwa-san                                                      920m
Bukseongi-jae  pass                                          600m?
Shiribong-san                                                     777m
Sachi-jae  pass                                                  500m?
Maeyo-ri  pass                                                   300m?
Gonam-san                                                         847m
Yeowon-jae  pass                                              400m?
Sujeong-bong                                                    805m
Jungmae-san                                                     572m
Juchun-ri & Deokchi-ri  pass                            500m?
Jiri-san  Gori-bong (N)                       1305m
Jeongryeongchi  pass                                    1200m?
Jiri-san  Manbok-dae                         1433m
Myobongchi  trail-pass                                   1108m
Jiri-san  Gori-bong (S)                       1248m
Jiri-san  Seongsam-jae  pass (road 861)    1150m?
Jiri-san  Jongseok-dae                      1366m
Jiri-san  Nogo-dan                1507.0m
Jiri-san  Samdo-bong                        1499m
(South Jeolla, North Jeolla and South
Gyeongsang Provinces meet here)
(Jiri-san  Banya-bong 1751m is bypassed)
Jiri-san  Toggi-bong                          1534m
Jiri-san  Myeongseon-bong               1586m
Jiri-san  Samgak-bong                      1462m
(Jiri-san Samjeong-san 1225m is bypassed)
Jiri-san  Hyeongje-bong                    1433m
Jiri-san  Byeokso-ryeong (pass)                  1392m & 1426m
Jiri-san  Deokpyeong-bong               1522m
Jiri-san  Chilseon-bong                     1576m
Jiri-san  Yeongshin-bong            1652m
(here, the "Naknam-jeongmaek" Range branches
off south and then east;  see
Branch 14 here)
Jiri-san  Chotdae-bong                      1704m
Jiri-san  Yeonha-bong                       1720m
Jiri-san  Jeseok-bong                        1808m
Jiri-san  Cheonhwang-bong     1915m

(Jiri-san' easternmost peaks  Jung-bong 1875, Ha-bong 1781,
Sseorae-bong 1642 and Duryu-bong 1315 are not included,
as in theory the line is finished at Cheonhwang-bong)

The "Baek-du-dae-gan" [white-head great-ridge] is the
theoretical geomantic earth-energy main-stream that runs
along a continuous mountain-range ridge-line from Janggun
Peak of Mt. Baekdu-san on the northern border of the
Korean Peninsula down to Jiri-san near its southern end.  

It is around 1400-1500 km long, depending on how closely
you count the twists and turns along its crest.  About 735 km
of crest-trail is within what is now South Korea, and most of
that is accessible for hiking
(with alternate routes for what is not).

It follows the
Taebaek [Grand White] Mountain Range along
the east coast thru Geumgang-san, Seorak-san and
Odae-san down to Taebaek-san, and then it follows the
Sobaek [Smaller White] Mountain Range across Sobaek-
san (passing below Worak-san) to Sogni-san, and then
down through the center of the peninsula's southern
quarter, passing east and south of Deogyu-san, ending at
Jiri-san.   It branches off into over a dozen major
earth-energy-lines that follow the lesser ranges and channel
all Korea's rivers (I count
fourteen of these Branches).

Baekdu-daegan thus includes most (but not all) of
Korea's highest peaks, and roughly half of its most sacred
mountains (most of those not included are on its 14 major
branches).  The sources of all of Korea's major rivers are
found along the Baekdu-daegan, adding to its Daoist /
Shamanic significance -- it is the source of the fresh
waters, and thus the source of life which connects
Heaven and Earth, the source of religion.  It never
crosses water (which is fundamental to its definition),
but serves as the watershed-origin for all of Korea.

This is a key concept of
Pungsu-jiri [Korean Geomancy
Feng-shui] as developed by Master Doseon-guksa.
Click on this photo at right  --------------->
to see a detailed enlargement of it.
The Baekdu-daegan is believed by traditionalists of all
sorts (Nationalists, Buddhists, Confucians, Shamanists,
Daoists and even many Christians) to continuously
feed essential life-energy throughout the land of Korea,
and thus into all its agricultural products and
spring-waters, and thus into its people.  It's unimpeded
clear flow is considered necessary for the birth and
raising of heroic and virtuous citizens, and thus for the
health, strength and prosperity of the Korean Nation.  
San-shin worship at the great mountains along its path
is believed to assist and increase this energy-flow.
New Book July 2010!
Baekdu-daegan Trail Guidebook
is finally available for hikers and cultural-explorers!
order one now, from the page linked above
New!   Baekdu-daegan Trail Guidebook
"Hiking Korea’s Mountain Spine"
By Roger Shepherd and Andrew Douch,  with David A. Mason
is finally available for hikers and cultural-explorers!

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