The curvy landscape of Korea is 65% mountainous with the rest being roughly classified as urban area. Naturally, all the best hiking trails wind across the mountains.
Generally, any season is appropriate for hiking, but hot summers with their rainy seasons are considered to be the less favourable to explore the mountains, whereas the most popular season is autumn, as it offers an amazing spectrum of foliage colours. Besides, at this time one can encounter a busy squirrel or two, preoccupied with collecting food for winter. Koreans believe meeting one of these little fellows will inevitably bring you great luck.
All of the local mountains are worth exploring, but some have established a special reputation. Seoraksan mountain, or literally Snowy Crags Mountain, is the third highest and unique rock formation in Korea. Its uniqueness is even protected by UNESCO. Mountains hovering around the capital city are also quite famous, particularly lush Bukhansan which is often named the "lungs of Seoul."
Local mountains are home to a range of beautiful Buddhist temples, and Mount Songnisan also hosts the largest statue of Buddha. Other celebrated mountains of Korea include Jirisan, Naejangsan, Hallasan, Taebaeksan, and Deogyusan. The latter four are especially popular with winter hikers, who come to see Korea's "winter flowers," which are actually just frozen twigs.
Halla Mountain, the highest mountain in South Korea, also used to host the Halla Snow Festival every year around late January to early February. However, after rain spoiled the festival a few times, the regular event was halted. Yet you can still enjoy sledding, ice sliding, or snow rafting there on your own.
One last thing to note: when you go to the forest watch out for snakes that like to come out to warm up in the sun.
What is the ideal hiking season in South Korea?
The best time to hike in South Korea is from September to May, as the summers can be hot with recurrent rain. The autumn season is particularly popular among tourists as the mountain range displays the mesmerizing hues of foliage. Winter is an ideal time for winter hikers to admire Korea's 'winter flowers,' which are essentially frozen twigs. Show more
Which are the popular mountains for hiking in South Korea?
Numerous mountains are worth exploring in South Korea, but the most popular ones include Bukhansan, Seoraksan, Jirisan, Naejangsan, Hallasan, Taebaeksan, and Deogyusan. Bukhansan is known for being the lungs of Seoul, Mount Songnisan is famous for hosting the most massive Buddha statue, Seoraksan is a unique natural monument protected by UNESCO, and Taebaeksan is known for snow sports and rare plants. Show more
What makes Seoraksan mountain unique in South Korea?
Located in South Korea, Seoraksan mountain is unique because it's the third highest peak in the country and has a distinctive rock formation, renowned across the world. Listed as a natural monument by UNESCO, the over thousand-year-old rock formations add to its allure. From hiking and breathtaking views to diverse trails, Seoraksan mountain is a must-visit destination. Show more
Why is the autumn season preferred by visitors for hiking in South Korea?
Tourists opt for the autumn season for hiking in South Korea since the mountain ranges exhibit a magnificent array of foliage colours. Each year, hikers worldwide explore South Korea's mountains during autumn, highlighting the charm of the season. Additionally, there's a chance of encountering Korea's active squirrels, signifying good luck. Hence, the autumn season is the perfect time to plan a hiking trip in South Korea. Show more
Can visitors enjoy winter activities at Halla Mountain, South Korea?
Of course. Visitors can participate in winter activities such as sledding, snow rafting, and ice sliding even though the Halla Snow Festival, which takes place from late January to early February, is currently postponed due to rain. The highest peak in South Korea and a landmark throughout the year, Halla Mountain boasts of magnificent hiking trails that make for a wholesome experience for visitors. Show more