Walking the Chirisan Doollae-Gil (2012-2014)

In Korean, “doollae-gil” means a road that goes all the way around, and the Chirisan Doollae-Gil is a 224km route divided into 22 sections that wind through the foothills of Chiri mountain in the central-southern part of Korea. To the west are the provinces of North and South Cheolla, and to the east is South Gyeongsang province. Along the north run the streams that feed the Nakdong river; and the rains that fall south of Chiri mountain flow to the Seomjin river.

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For me, the Chirisan Doolla-Gil is often strenuous enough to be tiring but not so effortful that I don’t want to go back the next time. The natural surrounding are envigorating, and it frequently feels on the trail that I’m completely cut off from civilization. But the distances to roads and villages are never far, and it’s virtually impossible to get genuinely lost. Along the way are the people, the culture and the reminders of local history, which include ancient archeological ruins, recent sites from the Korean War, and temples, museums and markets. There are lots of places to stay, people to meet, food and drinks to enjoy, and other local curiosities.

Getting to just about any starting point on the trail is little more than a half-day journey for me Seoul by public transport, and with so many facilities along the way, I don’t have to carry much in my backpack, either.

I started walking the Doollae-Gil from Section 2 in late 2012, and have been making my way around, sometimes alone and sometimes with others.


The nuts and bolts of walking the Chirisan Doollae-Gil


Section by Section 

Section 2-3

 Overview: Section 2 – Woonbong to Inweol

Overview: Section 3 – Inweol to Geumgye

Travelogue: Sections 2-3 – Woonbong to Geumgye (November 8-10, 2012)

Section 4-5a

 Overview: Section 4 – Geumgye to Donggang

Overview: Section 5 – Donggang to Sucheol

Travelogue: Sections 4-5a – Geumgye to Donggang (February 23-24, 2013) 

Sections 5a-6

Overview: Section 6 – Sucheol to Eocheon

Travelogue: Sections 5-6am – Donggang to Sancheong (March 16-17, 2013)

Sections 6-7

 Overview: Section 7 – Eocheon to Woonri

Travelogue: Sections 6b-7 – Sancheong to Woonri (April 20-21, 2013)

Section 8

 Overview: Section 8 – Woonri to Deoksan

Travelogue – Section 8 – Woonri to Deoksan (May 5-6, 2013)

Sections 9-12

 Overview: Section 9 – Deoksan to Weetae

Overview: Section 10 – Weetae to Hadong Lake

Overview: Section 11 – Hadong Lake to Samhwashil

Overview: Connecting Path to Hadong 

Travelogue: Sections 9-12 and More – Deoksan to Hadong (June 15-17, 2013)

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Overview: Section 18, Omi Village to Nandong Village

Travelogue: Section 18 – Omi Village to Nandong Village (September 21-22, 2013)

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Overview: Section 12 – Samhwashil to Daechuk

Overview: Section 13 – Daechuk to Weonbucheon

 Travelogue: Sections 12-13 and More – Hadong to Hwagae (October 26-28, 2013)

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Overview: Section 14 – Weonbuchun to Gitan Village

Travelogue: Sections 14-15 – Weongbuchun to Gitan Village (December 14-16, 2013)


Overview: Section 15 – Gitan Village to Songjung Village

Travelogue: Along Sections 15-16 of the Chirisan Doollae-Gil from Gichon Village to Pado Village (March 21-23, 2014)

Along Section 18 of the Chirisan Doollae-Gil from Pado Village to Omi Village (November 8, 2014)

Along Section 19 of the Chirisan Doollae-Gil from Omi Village to Banggwang Village (November 8, 2014)

Along Section 21 of the Chirisan Doollae-Gil from Banggwang Village to Sandong Village (November 8, 2014)


Along Section 1 of the Chirisan Doollae-Gil from Jucheon to Woonbong (November 9, 2014)

Selfie at Woonbong to Commemorate Completion of the Chirisan Doollae-Gil on November 9, 2014

Final Leg of the Chirisan Doollae-Gil from Dangjae to Mokajae on February 28, 2015

Steven Bammel

Steven S. Bammel is president and chief translator/consultant at Korean Consulting & Translation Service, Inc. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington (B.B.A. Economics) and Hanyang University (M.S. Management Strategy), Steven has worked for over twenty years in Korean business and translation. | more about Steven

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