Deokyu-san 덕유산 National Park, in North Jeolla Province
A view of endless mountains shrouded in clouds, from Deokyu's peak on a rosy dawn (from KNTO brochure)
Deokyu-san is one of Korea's great mountains, with a 1614-meter summit (Hyangjeok- bong) that ranks as South Korea's 5th-highest peak. It is the source of the Geum-gang River, South Korea's 4th-longest, and parts of it belong to the Baekdu-daegan (although not that summit, curiously). Its rather remote position in North Jeolla Province at the border with South Gyeongsang, just about exactly between Sogni-san and Jiri-san, leave it with relatively few visitors despite its legendary beauty. Few Buddhist temples or Shamanic shrines are found here, and no great ones at all; for this reason alone it does not qualify as one of Korea's Top-33 Sacred Mountains, but only within the Top-100.
The National Park was created in 1975 out of 219 km² of steep mountains and valleys, from the Muju-gun County area in the north (including Jeoksang-san 1034m, Baek-un-san 1123m, 1010m & 1055m, Geochil-bong 1178m and Seongji-san 992m. Dumun-san 1051m is on the west side, and the Baekdu-daegan snakes in from Daedeok-san to the northeast with a series of lofty peaks, passing into the park area for 20 km before passing through the great peak called Namdeogyu-san (1507.4m) at the southern end.
The park's vast area includes the Muju Ski Resort (hoping to bid to host the Winter Olympics someday), the Muju-gucheondong Valley (famous for its length, beautiful sights, purity and remoteness); and for religious assets, there is only Anguk-sa Temple (specially devoted to defense of the nation) in the north, Baekryeon-sa Temple (humble and remote, on the eastern slope of the main peak) in the center and Yeonggak-sa Temple (founded as an isolated retreat in 877) in the far south -- charming institutions on beautiful sights, but altogether remarkably little for such a vast area of mighty peaks -- contrast with the nearly 100 or so significant temples and shrines on Jiri-san just south of here...
There is a good side to this, of course -- Deokyu-san National Park is a great place to hike through large patches of wilderness where you can find wild animals but few other humans -- anywhere away from the central area (Muju Resort & Gucheondong Valley) should offer this pleasure to those who seek it.