Korea's Baekdu-daegan
National  Energy-Spine  Mountain-Mainline
now becoming a Long-Distance Hiking and
Pilgrimage Trail for 735km in South Korea
백두대간    白頭大幹
The  "Baek-du-dae-gan"  [white-head great-ridge]  is the
continuous mountain-range ridge-line that runs from Janggun
Peak of Mt. Baekdu-san on the northern border of the Korean
Peninsula down to Cheonwang-bong Peak of Mt. Jiri-san
near its southern end, and the geomantic earth-energy
main-stream that (in theory) runs along it.  

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 through
Hwangak-san and the southeast corner 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
(thirteen major Branches, hundreds of lesser ones).

The 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
or Feng-shui] as developed by Master
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.
This last concept belongs to the Oriental version of the ancient and varied philosophical doctrines
known as "
Vitalism" and cannot be considered fully "scientific"; it remains "unconfirmed" like its cousin
acupuncture theory.  It is deeply ingrained in traditional Korean culture, however, and widely accepted
in current society.  It is transforming from an ancient pseudo-scientific belief to a modern conception of
the theoretical unity of the peninsula and nation, and the ecology of the wildest remaining areas of them.
Ancient Maps of Korea
showing the Baekdu-daegan and other mountain-features

The Daedong Paldo Chondo Map
Baekdu-daegan Trail Guidebook
"Hiking Korea’s Mountain Spine"
By Roger Shepherd and Andrew Douch,  with David A. Mason
order one now -- click on the title above
This site was created and is maintained
by Professor
David A. Mason

Email him here
Past, Present and Future of Baekdu-san,
Korea’s Sacred Mountain  
a new research book from the AKS
2010  October 15th article from The Korea Herald
Click on this map to see a detailed enlargement of it.
The Baekdu-daegan represented artistically -- on left, as a plum-tree growing downwards, with the
main-rangeline as its trunk (
this chinese character "gan" literally means the trunk of a tree or body), with the
Jeongmaek ranges as branches and Korean civilization as its flowers;  on right, as a bounding tiger,
with the Baekdu-daegan as its spine and the rest of  its body as the peninsula --
and, he is attacking
and about to eat Manchuria, or at least the yellow-colored formerly-Korean territories -- a jingoist / irredentist theme.