Maisan (Horse Ears Mountain)

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Chollabuk-do, Korea/South, Asia
South Korea
Spring, Summer, Fall
2208 ft / 673 m
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Maisan (Horse Ears Mountain)
Created On: Sep 24, 2007
Last Edited On: Oct 15, 2015


climbing on Albawi
Rock Climber on the East Peak
The mountain is formed of
conglomerate rock.
Mt. Maisan is located in the Maisan Provincial Park in Chollabuk-do province east of the city of Jeonju, and next to the city of Chinan. "Mai" is the Korean word for "horse" and "san" is the Korean word of "mountain". This mountain gains it's name because it's two peaks are split causing the appearance, from a distance, of two horse ears. The west peak (673m), is called Ammai-bong (female horse ear peak), and the east peak (667m) is called Sunmai-bong, (male horse ear peak).

Unusual in Korea the mountain is formed of conglomerate rock which looks like gray pebbles hardened in cement, and which give the area a lost world feeling.

At the foot of the mountain, between the two peaks, is the renowned Tapsa Temple and its 80 stone pagodas. The mortar-less pagodas were erected by a hermit in the early 1900's as symbolic personal prayers for peace. These diverse stone towers (some as tall as 10 meters) are an intriguing sight and add to the mysterious atmosphere of the area.

Another interesting phenomenon of Maisan is its inverted icicles. In the cold winter months when water is left outside in a bowl it freezes into a pole reaching for the sky. No one knows why or how this happens, but it makes Maisan just that much more mystifying.

The west peak is the only peak that can be hiked to. The east peak requires the use of climbing equipment.

The hike up the west peak of Maisan is very steep, but is on a marked trail which makes its way up stone steps, and through the thick woods. The hike is strenuous but very short (less than 2km). Allow about 45 minutes of walking time to reach the peak.

Getting There

Map showing location of Maisan
Mt. Maisan is located in the Maisan Provincial Park east of the city of Jeonju, and next to the city of Chinan.
Path Warning at Mt .Maisan
Trailhead sign. Very amusing.

To get to Maisan, simply take a bus from the city of Jeonju to Maisan’s neighboring town of Chinan in the Chollabuk-do province. The bus ride from Jeonju to Chinan takes about 50 minutes. In Chinan make your way to the one and only bus stop on the first street you see after you pass the city limits. Here you can purchase tickets, and catch a bus to the Provincial Park which is about a 10 minute ride away.

Buses for Chinan depart Jeonju every 10 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Buses for the park depart Chinan every 30 minutes from 8 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. Jeonju is situated south of Seoul by an approximatley 2.5 hour bus ride.

After you get off the bus make your way to the Tapsa Temple which can be found after climbing the many stairs to the saddle between the two peaks. After visiting the temple, head north where you will find a sign marking the trail head for of the west peak. The sign amusingly warns that the climb is not suitable for women and childern, the elderly, nor drunkards!


It's unclear if the park contains any designated camping spots. The best bet is to plan to stay in the neighboring town of Chinan.


South Korea enjoys all four seasons, with a wide range of temperatures. Average temperatures in Jeonju (city near Maisan) in January range from -8 C overnight to 2 C during the day. In April Jeonju night and day temperatures range from 5 C to 19 C, whereas in July the average night and day temperatures are 21 C and 30 C respectively. In the fall expect the daytime average to be around 20 C and overnight to fall to 7 C.

In the spring months Jeonju averages about 13 hours of daylight, increasing to about 14 hours of daylight in the summer. In the fall daylight hours decrease to about 11, and fall to 10 hours in the winter.

July and August see the most rainfall averaging 286mm (11.3 inches) and 248mm (9.8 inches) respectively.

See for more detailed Jeonju weather information.

Red Tape

  • No climbing permits are required.
  • Negligible park entrance fees maybe charged. There was no charge in 1996.

    Photo Album

    Looking to the South at Maisan.

    Looking to the South at Maisan.
    The taller, fatter peak on the right side of the photo is the west peak,
    and the slightly short and skinner peak is the east peak.
    The west peak (673m), is called Ammai-bong (female horse ear peak),
    and the east peak (667m) is called Sunmai-bong, (male horse ear peak).
    The west peak is a walk-up to the top
    whereas the east peak requires the use of climbing equipment.

    See an album of Maisan photos.

    Video Clip

    Below is a link to a video clip of Mt. Maisan. The video lists the elevations as 685 m, and 678 m - it's unclear where those numbers come from. Also note when they say the view is from the North (for example) they mean the view looking south at the north aspect.

    See YouTube.

    Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

    Viewing: 1-1 of 1

    SKinSK - Feb 16, 2010 3:15 pm - Hasn't voted

    Rock Climbing

    There are two main rock-climbing crags on the conglomerate rock at Maisan. Both are accessed from a side trail just past the lake (both lake and trail are on the right) if you head towards the temples from the "small entrance". Opera House is a massive, overhanging amphitheater with routes from 5.10+ to 5.14. More routes are being added, especially on the "side annexes". The turnoff is just behind the sign on the main road-- it's a faint path that leads up and around to the main rock. Albawi is a moderate crag -- turnoff a few minutes up the main path. It has moderate routes of 1-3 pitches, ranging from 5.8 to 5.10. If you want to climb, bring a helmet! More information can be found on

    It's also possible to camp, though the campgrounds are often reserved for groups. As a large group of mostly foreign climbers, we reserved for a gathering and were treated royally. This beta is courtesy of my friend Jake for the camp-ground just by the lake area. Call (or have someone call) ahead. They have tents and sleeping bags for those without their own. Prices are below, valid 2008-10-04. If you are camping here, then you can usually get free access to the park and drive right up (but you need to call the Management Office and Campground in advance).

    Maisan Management Office/ ??? ?????: 063-433-3313Youth Hostel Camp Ground/ ??? ???: 063-432-8884

    Yurt (Mon-Gol Tent/?? ??).

    Only 1. Sleeps 20 people. Cost 10,000w + 4,000w/person

    Cabin-Tents (?? ??) Many available, each sleeps 8 people.Cost 5,000w + 4,000w/person

    Roofed-open Shelter (?? ??)8 Available, sleeps 10 people. Cost 10,000won + 4,000w/person

    Sleeping bags provided free with all rentals (no rent, no free sleeping bag).

    Viewing: 1-1 of 1

  • Maisan (Horse Ears Mountain)

    22 Images 2 Climber's Log Entries 2 Comments 1 Additions & Corrections


    1 Routes


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