Korean National Parks

Category : Travel/Events
Mar 24, 2015

Korean National Parks

 

You might be no Sergey Kirdyapkin, the reigning Olympic 50km walking champion, but that needn’t stop you from partaking in a little exploration of Korea’s beautiful scenery. There are 20 National Parks here in Korea, and I think it’s fair to say that ol’ Sergey would make light work of each and every one of them. You, on the other hand, might need to dust off your hiking boots and get going.

 

Korea’s National Parks are areas of land protected by the Ministry of Environment. The parks are generally found in mountain ranges, of which Korea has many. Jirisan in Gyeongsangnam-do was the first to be designated as a National Park in 1967 and in the following 21 years, 19 other parks were added.

 

The majority of the parks have accommodations within them, if you are looking to stay overnight. Here is a list all the National Parks and locations:

 

à Check the National Parks Korea official website for all the specifics.

 

 

  • Korean Tip: You might notice that most of the following names finish in san /산. This word means “mountain” in Korean.

 

 

Mountainous National Parks

Name

Size/Area

Where

How to get there

Jirisan

지리산

472 km2 (182 square miles)

Jeollanam-do,

Jeollabuk-do,

Gyeongsangnam-do

Get to Gurye Bus Terminal. From there, get on the bus to Seongsamjae and get off at Seongsamjae Parking Lot.

Seoraksan

설악산

398 km2 (154 square miles)

Gangwon-do

Get to Sokcho intercity or express bus terminal. Either taxi from there or get the 7 or 7-1 bus to Seorak-dong.

Songnisan

속리산

274 km2 (106 square miles)

Chungcheongbuk-do,

Gyeongsangbuk-do

Take an intercity bus to Songnisan Mountain stop. Buses go from Dong Seoul bus terminal and Cheongju intercity bus terminal.

Sobaeksan

소백산

322 km2 (124 square miles)

Chungcheongbuk-do,

Gyeongsangbuk-do

This is a huge park with numerous places to enter. Get to Yeongju or Punggi.

Odaesan

오대산

304 km2 (117 square miles)

Gangwon-do

Get to Jinbu Bus Terminal. Get on a bus for Woljeongsa Temple or Sangwonsa Temple.

Naejangsan

내장산

81 km2 (31 square miles)

Jeollanam-do and

Jeollabuk-do

Go to Jeongeup Bus Terminal, then get the 171 bus to Naejangsan National Park.

Hallasan

한라산

153 km2 (59 square miles)

Jeju-do

From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take the bus to Seongpanak.

Gayasan

가야산

77 km2 (30 square miles)

Gyeongsangnam-do,

Gyeongsangbuk-do

Go to either Daegu Seobu or Hapcheon intercity bus terminal and get the bus going to Haeinsa Temple.

Deogyusan

덕유산

232 km2 (90 square miles)

Jeollabuk-do,

Gyeongsangnam-do

Get to Muju Intercity Bus Terminal, and then get the shuttle to Deogyusan Resort.

Chiaksan

치악산

182 km2 (70 square miles)

Gangwon-do

Get to Wonju station. Take either the number 41, 21 or 82 bus and get off at the Mount Chiaksan stop.

Gyeryongsan

계룡산

65 km2 (25 square miles)

Chungcheongnam-do,

Daejeon

Get to Daejeon station. From there, take the 107 bus and get off at Donghaksa Temple.

Juwangsan

주왕산

107 km2 (41 square miles)

Gyeongsangbuk-do

Take an intercity bus to Mount Juwangsan.

Wolchulsan

월출산

56 km2 (22 square miles)

Jeollanam-do

From Mokpo Intercity Bus Terminal take a local bus to Yeongam.

Woraksan

월악산

288 km2 (111 square miles)

Chungcheongbuk-do,

Gyeongsangbuk-do

Get the intercity bus to Deokjusa Temple.

Bukhansan

북한산

80 km2 (31 square miles)

Seoul and Gyeonggi-do

Get to Gireum Station exit 3 (line 4). Ride either bus 145 or 110B to the last stop.

 

 

 

Marine and Coastal National Parks

Name

Size/Area

Location

How to get there

Hallyeohaesang

한려해

545 km2 (210 square miles)

Jeollanam-do,

Gyeongsangnam-do

Go to Namhae Bus Terminal. Get on the bus to Bokgok.

Byeonsanbando

변산반도

155 km2 (60 square miles)

Jeollabuk-do

Go to Buan Intercity Bus Terminal, and then get the bus to Gyeokpo Terminal.

Dadohaehaesang

다도해해상

2,325 km2 (898 square miles)

Jeollanam-do

Get to Goheung Terminal, then take a local bus for Bongrae.

Taeanhaean

태안해안

326 km2 (126 square miles)

Chungcheongnam-do

Get to Taean Express Bus Terminal, then get the bus to Hak-ampo.

 

Historical National Parks

Name

Size/Area

Location

How to get there

Gyeongju

경주

137 km2 (53 square miles)

Gyeongsangbuk-do

Get to Gyeongju Bus Terminal.

 

  • Note: If you are arriving by car or taxi, there will usually be a fee for entering the parks themselves. Additional fees are also charged for using campsites. The camping charges aren’t usually more than about 3,000KRW per person per day.

 

Park Highlights

 

Jirisan /지리산

Jirisan was the first official National Park in Korea. It is famed for the diversity of its wildlife and its sheer size, with an outer perimeter of 320km around. An animal synonymous with the mountain range is the Asiatic Black Bear (or ursus thibetanus ussuricus), which is listed as a first-class endangered species. The bear appears in the park’s logo. As nice as it is to see rare animals, you probably don’t want to bump into one of these guys on your way up the hill. Apparently they only eat acorns, crayfish, honey, wild plants and some fruits… but who knows! The likelihood of you meeting a bear is very small. Don’t use this as an excuse, though. There is a mixture of very taxing and less taxing climbs so Jirisan has something for everyone.

 

Seoraksan /설악산

For those living in Seoul, Mount Seoraksan is one of the most visited mountains. In total, Seoraksan has 30 mountain peaks and some very manageable hikes. Ulsanbawi /울산바위, one of the most popular climbs, can be completed in about four hours, up and down.

 

Hallasan /한라산 on Jeju Island 제주도

Hallasan is an inactive volcano found on Jeju, the most southerly island of the Korean peninsula. The mountain’s peak is an enormous 1950m high but can be reached in about five hours. So if you’re really determined, it can be completed in a single day. From the top, hikers are treated to a great view of the island and Baekrokdam /백록담, the magnificent crater lake. For those who don’t fancy hiking for ten hours, there are many other trails that are less time-consuming and strenuous.

à For info on other Jeju trails, see this page.

 

Hallyeohaesang /한려해상

Hallyeohaesang is a cluster of islands on the central south coast of Korea. This Coastal Park is recognized for its 69 uninhabited islands that are home to some of Korea’s rarest plant species. Additionally, there are 30 islands that are lived on, amidst an expanse of vibrant natural scenery. There are lots of treks, though none take more than a couple of hours.

 

Gyeongju /경주

Gyeongju is unique in that it is Korea’s sole national park that isn’t either mountainous or coastal. The park is situated inland of the east coast and was the second official national park. More than thirty years ago, the park was named in UNESCO’s top ten world’s most important historic sites. The main trail takes approximately eight hours, and stops along the way include ancient temples, parks, museum, folk village and other historical things.   

 

Bukhansan /북한산

Bukhansan is in Gyeonggi-do province, north of central Seoul. It attracts an estimated 5 million visitors every year, making it the “most visited National Park per unit area” according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This has been a help and a hindrance, though, because with so many people flocking to see the park, the ecosystem has suffered. This means that some trails are closed every so often to avoid the decline of Bukhansan’s environment. The popular trails cater to both beginners and the slightly more hardcore hikers. Uiam /우이암 is a gently sloping 2.5km trail that is ideal for casual walkers, while the other trails are also suited to trekking novices.

 

Byeonsanbando /변산반도국립공원

This national park, located on the east coast, is the only one to combine both land and sea. The sunsets, in particular, are a big attraction here as this is the last place the sun sets in Korea each day. About 1.5 million people pass through Byeonsanbanbo each year, so you’ll be in good company. The mountainous region of the park is called Naebyeonsan /내변산, while the coastal area is called Oebyeonsan /외변산. The majority of the trails isn’t difficult and can be completed by people of all ages and hiking abilities.

Tags : Travel. Parks. Outdoors.

Jordan

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