Conquering Seoraksan National Park

South Korea is a small country, about the size of Portugal, but we are blessed with high peaks and wildlife. The country is 70% mountainous area. Because of our four distinctive seasons, this land of the morning calm shows different sides different times of the year. But no doubt, the best time to visit the mountains is autumn.

Seoraksan National Park is the best place to see the autumn foliage in Korea. The color of the leaves on the rocky hills and small mountains flow amidst it. Early September of 2014, the leaves were about to change to their autumn costume. I’ve been to Seoraksan several times during my time in Korea, but I’ve never climbed here properly since my family vacation in the 1980s. I was just a little girl back then. Inspired by great weather and power food before leaving home (because my mom is a great cook), we planned to climb this picturesque and rocky mountain in two days.

 

View of Seoraksan National Park from Hangyeryung course
View of Seoraksan National Park from Hangyeryung course
Looking at the peaks of Seoraksan (Mt. Seorak)
Looking at the peaks of Seoraksan (Mt. Seorak)

 

Hangyeryung course is relatively short, but a tough one to hike. It allows you to hike the highest peak Daechungbong (1708m), and also provides great views the entire way. The hike starts with a straight-up 108-step staircase – not an easy start. But after just a little while, we were able to see the view of the hills and valleys. It must have inspired many ink-and-wash painting artists in the olden days. My legs were sore, my spirits were going slower, but my mind was fresh and full of pride.

Autumn is a great time to visit Seoraksan National Park
Autumn is a great time to visit Seoraksan National Park
Stephen in Seoraksan National Park
Stephen in Seoraksan National Park

 

Six hours in, I almost reached my limit. The trail was straight uphill for the entire way, and the paths were extremely rocky. Oh my feet. I gave up on the highest peak, and went straight to the shelter for the night. Climbing up the smaller hill (still, it was only 60m shorter than the highest peak), and bam. Oasis to my desert-like body! The sun was about to go behind the peaks, and we were standing above the clouds. Peaks peeking through, clouds glowing orange, sky blue, it was the perfect moment.

Aconitum ambiguum - one of many Seoraksan's wild flowers
Aconitum ambiguum – one of many Seoraksan’s wild flowers
View seen at Sochung before sunset
View seen at Sochung before sunset
View seen at Sochung before sunset
View seen at Sochung before sunset
View seen at Sochung before sunset
View seen at Sochung before sunset
View seen at Sochung before sunset
View seen at Sochung before sunset

 

We climbed down on the Bisundae path, which took about seven hours. It was a very steep downhill for a while, then a leisurely walking path by the creeks. This course provided a totally different view than the day before. Overall, it was a great hike with a lot of views of the mountains. I couldn’t ask for a better trip.

Morning at Sochung Shelter
Morning at Sochung Shelter
Conquering Seoraksan!
Conquering Seoraksan!
Flowers at Sochung Shelter
Flowers at Sochung Shelter
The famous Dinosaur Ridge
The famous Dinosaur Ridge
Wildflowers of Seoraksan
Wildflowers of Seoraksan
Dinosaur Ridge
Dinosaur Ridge
Seoraksan is quite rocky
Seoraksan is quite rocky
Rocky peaks and pine tree
Rocky peaks and pine tree

Rocky peaks and pine tree

waterfalls and creeks
waterfalls and creeks

9 thoughts on “Conquering Seoraksan National Park”

  1. Wonderful and inspiring blog, Juno! Thanks a lot for adding us on Twitter! Seoraksan National Park looks amazing, we love hiking and it looks like a prime hiking area! And your photos are amazing too! Travel safe and keep up your great work!!

  2. I had never really thought about South Korea as a place to visit for the remote outdoors! But your photos of Seoraksan National Park prove that I am completely wrong. Just finished hiking the Queen Charlotte Track in New Zealand, but Seoraksan look just as good, if quite different terrain.

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