Korea is blessed with many beautiful mountains. Among those mountains, Jirisan is known as the mountain to conquer if you're a serious mountaineer. The mountain is an enormous organism of hills and valleys, with fantastic views from all angles.
I had a go around Jirisan last winter; not proper mountain climbing, but just a simple hike. The Jirisan Dullegils (지리산 둘레길, "paths that follow the circumference of Jirisan") are mountain trails for simple hiking, where no extra hiking gear is needed. It's great for beginners.
There are four different trails to follow. Each trail takes several hours to track, from a 4 hour trail to an 8 hour trail. You can also just walk around a portion of each trail, as there are other paths that lead out to main roads along the way. The Dullegil trails are actually paths that lead to and from the villages on the mountain unlike the other "serious" remote mountain trails of Jirisan, so it's unlikely that you'd get lost.
The trail I took was Trail #3, the one that starts from the village of Maedong (매동마을).
Start this way! A sign introduces you to the village.
Helpful map shows where you would be going.
To the left is the mineral spring, to the right you will find several village houses for lodging.
The trail is marked with red arrows on posts. I took my Mini Kuma to accompany me.
The trail starts out flat and not too hilly.
Most Korean mountains are full with pine trees. I love their scent, all seasons of the year.
And then you have wild reeds blowing in the breeze.
A reservoir pond lies in the middle of empty rice paddies.
The paddies are set up on a series of ledges being on a slope.
I didn't, no, actually I couldn't take any photos on the hilly part of the trail.
The scenery was beautiful there;
we were completely enclosed in pines with bits of sky peeking through the branches.
However, I was too busy trying to catch up with the rest of the group, huffing and puffing.
I learned that severe lack of exercise will make a simple hike like this horribly difficult.
I caught my breath when the trail flattened out again and started taking photos.
My friend took a photo of me taking a photo.
This was the one I took.
Another view of the bleak empty rice paddies and the village in the valley.
This place would be beautiful in the summer and autumn, I think.
Took a self portrait in the circle road mirror alongside a field.
The sun was setting as we headed to the main road.
This old tree was simply breathtaking, the photo doesn't do it justice.
Jirisan National Park website (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)