The Great Hwangmae

The Second Best Mountain in Hapcheon

Mt. Hwangmae (1,108 meters above sea level) traverses Gahoe-myeon and Daebyeong-myeon Hapcheon-gun Gyeongnam and Chahwang-myeon Sancheong-gun. The first impression of the mountain is that it looks very rough and grandiose. The grotesque cliffs and huge rocks over the Youngam Temple looks oppressive, like a part of Mt. Seorak. However if you take the trail on the mountain you will find the way to be smooth and comfortable. The southeastern slope of the mountain is so flat that it was once used as a pasture.

Following after Mt. Gaya, which features the famous Haein Temple, Mt. Hwangmae is called the "second best mountain in Hapcheon." As the rocks on the peak of the mountain look similar to Halmi flowers (Halmi means "grandmother" in Korean, and its other foreign names are pasqueflower, windflower and Pulsatilla koreana), the name of the mountain used to be 'Mt. Halmi' but was changed to Mt. Hwangmae later. There is a legend that its name was originated from Magohalmi. As Hwangmae Mountain stands conspicuously high above the other mountains nearby, it has many legends about its origin.

On the southeastern slope of Mt. Hwangmae is Youngamsa Temple. Even though the temple is not large in its scale, it is a very attractive temple surrounded by great rocky walls. At the ancient site of Youngamsa Temple are several cultural treasures of national treasure class that reveal that the ancient temple was rather famous in the past. As the temple has no record about its founding, nobody knows when the temple was built, but the remains of old relics suggest the temple was built during the Unified Shilla Kingdom.

The ancient Youngamsa Temple was nominated as historical site No. 131. It houses Geumdang Site, Seogeumdang Site, Jungmun Site and Three Storied Pagoda (Treasure No. 480), Twin Lion Stone Candle Holder (treasure No. 353) and Stone Guibu (Treasure No. 489). Various tile pieces made during the Unified Shilla Kingdom and Goryeo Kingdom and the Standing Golden Statue of Buddha were found there when an excavation was made in 1984.

Red Waves of Royal Azalea Blossoms

After the common azaleas (Jindallae) disappear in early spring, royal azaleas (Cheoljjuk) begin to bloom. The royal azaleas are similar to common azaleas but their petals are thicker and they bloom in greater numbers, covering their boughs before their leaves come out. As royal azaleas have contain poison, the flowers are not edible. Therefore common azaleas, which are edible, are called true flowers while inedible royal azaleas are called dog flowers.

Royal azaleas can be seen on any mountain all over the country but only a few mountains have clusters of royal azaleas covering a wide area. Mt. Hwangmae is one of the few mountains that are famous for sweeping expanses of royal azalea blossoms. Royal azaleas found in the middle part of the Korean peninsula feature a light pink color, but those flowers in the southern part have a strong red color. The royal azaleas on Mt. Hwangmae have a deep red color.

A wide field of royal azalea clusters stretches from the southern part of Dunnaeri pasture in Hwangmaepeyongjeon to the Youngamsa Temple. As you can command a view of the field very easily from the mountain trail, the red waves of royal azalea blossoms look very impressive. You can reach the peak of the mountain after walking about 40 minutes from the pasture, and you can enjoy a mountainous vista of Gyeongnam province that includes Mt. Jiri and many other high mountains. Hapcheon Lake on the northern part of the mountain makes the scenery very attractive with its cool atmosphere.

Wonderful Vista of Hwanggye Fall and Enjoyable Hapcheon Lake Drive

Not far from Mt. Hwangmae can be found in the secret charms of Hwanggye Fall in Hwanggye-ri Yongju-myeon. Hwanggye Fall features a two-stage waterfall, with the stream originating from Mt. Heobyeong (682 meters above sea level). The first fall starts about 20 meters high on a steep cliff and the cascade gushes cool water abundantly into the valley. It then forms another fall 10 meters high on its way down into the valley, forming several smaller cascades along the way. Hwanggye Fall has its own special attraction.

Your spring tour will become much enjoyable if you drive along Hapcheon Lake after looking around Mt. Hwangmae and Hwanggye Fall. Hapcheon Lake is a wide artificial lake that was formed by Haocheon Dam, which was constructed in December 1988. The dam is 96 meters high and 472 meters long.

Forty kilometers long, the Hapcheon Lake drive is not just a simple path around the lake but is a steep course that eventually leads into the mountains, allowing drivers to enjoy the various surrounding attractions.