Top 5 HIKING TRAILS by World Nomads
- Bukhansan: Most Convenient Hike for a Short Trip
If you want to get out of the craziness of Seoul, but don’t have much time to venture outside the city, this is a great choice. Located in the north of Seoul, hiking Bukhansan is a good way to experience nature, even if you have a short time in South Korea.There are a handful of trails to choose from, but the most popular takes most hikers about two hours to reach the Baegundae Peak. At 2,755ft (840m), this is the highest point of the mountain, from where you can admire the large granite rocks and a panoramic view of Seoul sprawling out below.
One interesting feature of this hike is that you’ll walk past a replica of the ancient Bukhansanseong Fortress wall.
Word of warning: This hike is easily accessible from Seoul, so expect crowds the entire way.
2. Jirisan: Tallest Mountain in Mainland Korea
Jirisan is the tallest mountain in mainland South Korea and attracts 280,000 hikers each year. There’re a myriad of trails, offering beginners a taste of the mountain on a quick three-hour return hike to a multi-day hike that includes a sunrise view from the top of 6,315ft (1,925m) Cheonwangbong peak.
Jirisan National Park is the first and largest national park in Korea, and spans over three provinces. With seven Buddhist temples, ancient stone carvings and an emphasis on biodiversity conservation, this park is known for more than just hiking.
3. Seoraksan: Best Sunrise View
Sprawling down the east coast of North and South Korea, the Taebaek mountain range is home to some stunning scenery and epic hikes. At 5,603ft (1,708m), Seoraksan is the tallest peak in this range.
Reaching the highest point, Daecheongbong Peak, is breathtaking at sunrise when it’s shrouded in a thick cloak of morning mist. Daecheongbong Peak can be reached in as little as three hours, depending on your starting point.
If you don’t feel like working up a sweat, you can ride the cable car and glimpse the park from above. Located just 2.5 hours away from Seoul, a trip to Seoraksan is a great addition to your South Korea itinerary.
4. Hallasan: Epic Volcano on Jeju Island (Plus, the Tallest Mountain in Korea!)
This volcanic island is often referred to as the “Hawaii of Korea”, so it’s no surprise that relaxing on beaches and hiking a volcano are some of the most popular attractions on Jeju.
Towering at 6,397ft (1,950m) above sea level, Hallasan is the tallest mountain in Korea, and many people visit Jeju specifically to climb to the top. Hallasan is a sacred place to some Koreans, who believe that spirits live in the mountain, and worship it.
There are five trails that lead to the summit, each with varying degrees of incline. Although Seongpanak trail adds an additional 900m, it’s the most popular trail due to its gradual incline.
Depending on the trail you choose and your fitness level, you can reach the top of Hallasan and hike down in a matter of hours or a full day.
5. Naejangsan: Best Autumn Colours
Known for its stunning autumn foliage, this mountain range in southwestern Korea is particularly spectacular in the fall, when you can look out over a sea of crimson leaves. This beloved mountain is located in Jeolla-do province, and the surrounding national park is home to famous waterfalls, temples and wildlife.
Even if you’re not visiting Korea during fall, hiking Naejangsan is still sure to impress. In spring, azaleas and cherry blossoms are in bloom, the park is surprisingly green in the summer, and winter can be stunning when the rocks are covered in a blanket of snow.