Did you know the name Daegu literally translates to "Large hill"? Upon which you can gaze out on to Chilgok ("seven valley") and all of the "gu"s and "dong"s you've visited since you first set foot in this mountain-surrounded city? Sometimes it's nice to take a step back, or in this case, a few steps way, way, up and have a fresh look at your surroundings… and we’ve got just the place to do it.
Apsan (앞산) is a 600 meter peak in the Nam-gu district of Daegu—tucked between Sanseongsan and Daedeoksan—that plays host to one of Daegu's largest urban eco-parks. The area is packed with walking trails, mineral springs, shady spots sublime for picnics, and of course some outdoor fitness equipment if nature's stairmaster hasn't already got you feelin' the burn. The ascent itself is no Palgonsan, but its height isn’t the reason for its bragging rights—Apsan's reason to boast is all about the apex, and the view is incredible. Many foreigners come to Korea to get a little perspective, maybe not in such a literal sense, alas—being able to take in your whole city from half a kilometer above really helps realign your thinking. Whether that makes you realize you need to try hanging out somewhere other than a 1-kilometer radius of Banwoldang (oops), or that you live in a really freakin' gorgeous place, there's no place better to pontificate than atop a mountain peak.
Here's the Colorful Daegu guide on how to do it right:
Start from Anjirang Station (on the red line) exit 3. Take Bus 410 and get off at Apsan Park (앞산공원). (A word from the wise—or at least, the experienced: Don’t try to walk from another bus stop.) At the base of the mountain there is a hiking info center with maps galore. As for the mountaineering, you can either go hard and hike the whole thing (choosing either paved paths or the non-beaten kind), hike on one of the lower trails (the Cheonsujong trail has a mineral spring!), or take the cable car up (8,000 won for both ways, 6,000 won one way) and simply breathe in the view. All the paths are clearly marked and there are large maps all around the mountain and surrounding area.
Once you’re back down, you can choose your adventure in Apsan Park: cool off in the swimming pool, practice your Robin Hood skills with some archery, wander the temples, splash around in the waterfalls and mountain springs, go horseback riding, replenish your supplies or reward yourself with a Melona bar, or check out a war museum (the Nakdong River Battle Museum).
Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy the view—Daegu really is quite the colorful city!