Beaches, ice creams, short pants… It’s finally time to bid the long scorching summer goodbye and welcome the chilly fall weather with open arms. Famous author Jim Bishop once said, “Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons”. In contrast to the lush green grass and fragrant flowers of Spring, Autumn presents us with stunning shades of red, orange, and yellow.
Throughout October and November, you can feast your eyes on lush mountains dyed with scarlet-tinged leaves in 4 breathtaking destinations in South Korea: Seoraksan National Park, Naejangsan National Park, Odaesan National Park, and Daedunsan Provincial Park.
These sights all offer spectacular foliage scenes and worthwhile hiking experiences. So get up, grab your camera and prepare to immerse yourself in the beauty of Autumn!
1. Seoraksan National Park
Known for its beautiful scenery all year round, Seoraksan National Park is the starting point of fall foliage in Korea. Located in the northeast of Korea, the park spreads across Gangwon Province which is divided into two main areas, OeSeorak (east) and NaeSeorak (west).
It is an extremely popular hiking destination during the autumn season, with throngs of people gathering to watch the leaves change color. On October 18th, the foliage will reach its peak in the park, boasting magnificent views of the mountains with the hiking routes blanketed in a canvas of yellow, reddish-gold and orange.
To enjoy the autumn tints here to the fullest, we highly recommend the following two trails:
1) Seoraksan National Park – Baekdamsa Temple
Baekdamsa Temple is one of the beloved trails you can take from Seoraksan, a very popular destination within the mountains. The trail here is narrow and winding, but it’s well worth it as it is a beautiful temple, known for its scenery that embodies an old history tracing back to the Silla kingdom (B.C.57~935).
There are streams and valleys nearby as well that add more beauty to the scenery, complete with crisp blue skies and a gentle cool breeze.
2) Seoraksan National Park – Ulsanbawi
The second trail is from Seoraksan to Ulsanbawi, a massive rock standing at 876m that provides a spectacular view. Hiking up these granite peaks is no easy task, with the last section involving a steep flight of 800 steps that can be especially difficult to climb in strong winds.
But don’t give up, because once you reach the summit and gaze upon the panoramic view, you’ll realize the pain and suffering were all worth it.
Besides the foliage, Seoraksan boasts colossal mountain peaks that pierce through the clouds, dense rocks, gorging valleys and cascading waterfalls that are sure to be magnificent.
* There are various trekking options available on Seoraksan National Park. If you want to challenge yourself to hike Seoraksan National Park while enjoying the beautiful autumn foliage, click here.
2. Naejangsan National Park
The next foliage destination that you could visit in South Korea is Naejangsan, located in Jeolla Province. This place is particularly famous for its vivid crimson foliage, 600-year-old nutmeg trees, and famous waterfalls such as Dodeok Falls. There are also two famous temples to explore called Baekyangsa Temple and Naejangsa Temple.
Temples, mountains, plants, animals, waterfalls … Naejangsan has an endless list of things to offer so you’ll never be bored. There are incredible views every season, such as cherry blossoms in the spring, greenery in the summer, and trees covered with snow in the winter.
3. Odaesan National Park
Known for its beautiful thick forest of fir trees, Odaesan National Park was used as a location of the hit Korean drama, “Goblin,” starred by Gong Yoo and Kim Go-Eun.
The nearby Woljeongsa Buddhist Temple, located in the valley east of Mount Odaesan, founded in 643, is another stunning site to take in the autumn foliage.
4. Daedunsan Provincial Park
Daedunsan, at 878 meters, is known for its steep and rocky landscapes and is one of the most challenging but worthwhile mountains to climb. Characterized by large rocks and trees, the main attraction is a hair-raising suspension bridge that hangs over a deep ravine 300 meters above sea level. Cross it if you dare! We can assure you that it’ll add an element of thrill and excitement to your trekking, especially on a windy day when the bridge sways from side to side.
However, for those of you who don’t want to cross the bridge, you can ride the cable car instead! Aside from the thrills, Daedunsan is full of maple leaves that are a dazzling red spectacle from above.
Bonus Autumn Foliage Spots
National Parks aren’t the only place you can see leaves turn red. Gyeongju is one such place, which is an area abundant of historical heritage sites. Not only will you be able to witness the trees don warm tones of yellow, orange and red, but you get to see numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Bulkuksa Temple, or walk around Gyeongju wearing the Korean traditional hanbok. Below are the links to book a trip to Gyeongju to see how autumn unfolds.
If you are more interested in visiting Gyeongju’s historical landmarks, click the link underneath instead.
2) More Autumn Foliage Trails in Korea
There are also beautiful autumn foliage trails that are easily reached from Busan, such as Jirisan National Park, Juwangsan National Park, and Gayasan Mountain. If you want to enjoy the breathtaking autumn scenery in the southern part of Korea, click here.
Finally, don’t forget to stop by Trazy.com to stay informed on the latest and best things to do in South Korea!
Partial Photo Credit: Chosun Media