Seoraksan National Park in Korea is one of the most impressive sites to visit, both for its nature and its hiking possibilities. Considered the best national park in Korea by many, there are a range of trail options from beginning to advanced. Keep reading to learn all about the best hiking trails in Seoraksan National Park.
Gwongeumseong Fortress Trail: The Easiest Hiking Trail in Seoraksan
The name of this place and trail is confusing – there is no actual fortress. The rocks along the Gwongeumseong Fortress Trail themselves are meant to create the image of a fortress. And it certainly is beautiful!
You can get a view of Ulsanbawi (the most famous ridgeline consisting of 6 peaks in the park) in the distance from this trail.
Gwongeumseong is part of a 1.5 km path (one-way) which you can take the cable car up to or down from. This makes it a very flexible option and great for families with small children which might have just begun learning to hike. It’s considered the easiest hiking trail in Seoraksan National Park and should be fairly easy for most hikers.
From the top, there are also views of Sokcho, a beachside vacation city that’s a great place to base your trip out of.
Biryong Falls Trail
Difficulty: A Small Challenge
So, I would not say these are the most impressive waterfalls in Korea. However, if you are used to the typical Korean hike, then these falls suddenly become very impressive indeed. When hiking in Korea, you’re not often faced with a big reward at all at the end of your giant trek (simply more trees)!
Luckily, the Seoraksan National Park hiking trails all feature great views and experiences.
Even if the falls are not necessarily Instagram-worthy, the journey to them is absolutely beautiful. Your value for views is maxed out on the Biryong Falls trail, especially if you can visit during the autumn season.
Do note, the end of the trail is technically Towangsang Falls Observatory (expect an additional 600 stairs beyond the falls to get here).
The Biryong Falls Trail is a 2.9 mile in & out path. For someone fairly new to hiking in Korea, this trail should be a small challenge, but for the experienced individual, it will be a simple walk in the park.
Ulsanbawi Trail: The Most Popular Hike in Seoraksan National Park
If you want to see the iconic 6 granite peaks of Seoraksan National Park, the Ulsanbawi Trail is the path to take. Even though it is the most popular hiking trail in Seoraksan National Park, it is one of the more difficult ones. It’s essentially all stairs.
The beginning will take you through easy wooded paths and over beautiful carved bridges. You will pass some small temples and shrines along the way. Once you reach Heundeulbawi, with a view of the iconic Ulsanbawi, your real challenge begins.
Make sure you are wearing shoes that have good grip, the stairs are made of a variety of materials (uneven stone or slippery metal). However, the stunning views of the countryside once you complete the 3.8 km – one-way – will have been worth the effort!
This hiking trail in Korea is challenging, and you can expect it to take around 4+ hours to complete. There will be many others on the same path, so if you are expecting peace and quiet, then the Ulsanbawi Trail is not the trail for you.
Daeseung Waterfall Trail
If you want to hear rushing water while you hike, the Daeseung Waterfall Trail is a fantastic option. Daeseung Waterfall is the third-biggest waterfall in Korea, so it’s certainly a step up from the Biryong trail.
It is important to note that the waterfall is not always impressive due to its dependence on seasonal rainfall. Make sure you check whether the hike will be worth it before going, or make sure you’re going during or just after the rainy season.
An absolutely stunning place to hike, the Daeseung Waterfall Trail was a favorite of Korean kings throughout history. Getting there, however, is going to be a challenge. The path is very steep and can take the average hiker around 6 hours.
It’s an 11.3 km round-trip and not recommended for beginners. It’s important to note that Korea is over 85% mountainous, so if Koreans consider something to be difficult to climb – it really is! But the path will go by fascinating rock formations, burbling streams, and lingering ponds, making it well worth the effort.
Daecheongbong: The Highest Peak in Seoraksan National Park
Difficulty: Incredibly Challenging (Consider turning it into a multi-day hike)
If you like heights, consider giving the tallest point in Seoraksan National Park a try. It’s also the 7th highest peak in South Korea, so if you’re planning to tackle more, then this is a good warm-up. There is a shelter to stay in overnight called the Heeungak shelter.
This is the only multi-day hike option in Seoraksan National Park, but it can be done in one day if you are highly experienced.
And those are the best hiking trails in Seoraksan National Park that you should consider on your next vacation in South Korea! Interested in living or working in South Korea? Check out my post on Why Teaching English in South Korea is a great opportunity!