Photo: Naejangsan Mountain
Cool temperatures and colors change from the vibrant greens of summer to a rich palette of red, orange and yellow, signaling the arrival of autumn. Though numerous areas across Korea offer brilliant displays of autumn leaves, the mountains are still considered the quintessential destination.
This year, the leaves are expected to change color around late September at Seoraksan Mountain and spread southwards across the central and southern parts of Korea. Fall foliage generally reaches its peak in two weeks from the time the leaves begin to change, meaning this year’s peak foliage is expected to hit the central region around late October, and the southern region around early November. This is when you can hit the road to revel in the splendor of the changing of the seasons.
When it comes to autumn destinations, the first mountain that comes to mind for most is Seoraksan Mountain. A feast for the eyes throughout the year, rich colors make Seoraksan a main attraction in autumn. There are plenty of hiking trails along the mountainside. When planning your hiking route, take into account that the best places to view leaves are Cheonbuldong Valley(천불동계곡), Osaek Mineral Spring(오색약수터), Osaek Jujeongol (주전골) and Baekdam Valley (백담계곡).
Odaesan Mountain’s vibrant fall foliage puts it on the map as an autumn destination. A popular vacation site year round, the mountain bustles with campers and guests at natural recreation forest lodges, especially during peak foliage season around mid-October. During busier times, the road from Myeonggae-ri, located to the north of Woljeongsa Temple (월정사), often offers more convenient access to Odaesan Mountain.
Beloved in Korea, Jirisan Mountain is rugged in form and impressive in scale. During peak foliage season in late October, the slopes blaze with brilliant colors in the rocky landscape, while Piagol Valley (피아골) and Baemsagol Valley (뱀사골) offer great hiking trails. Jirisan also extends across three provinces (Gyeongsangnam-do, Jeollabuk-do and Jeollanam-do), and many choose to go on overnight hiking trips to fully appreciate the mountain.
Second only to Seoraksan Mountain, Naejangsan National Park boasts a high volume of visitors every year. The most remarkable feature of this mountain during autumn is the tunnel of multicolored maple trees that begins at the ticket office.
Juwangsan National Park is characterized by rocky peaks, deep valleys and elegant waterfalls. Its main hiking trail, which runs through the Sangui Parking Lot (상의주차장), Kaldeunggogae Ridge (칼등고개), Hurimegi (후리메기), Waterfall No.1 and back to the parking lot, takes approximately four hours to complete. At dawn, the thick fog blanketing Jusanji Pond near Juwangsan Mountain, combined with the reflection of trees in the water, continues to attract visitors, especially photographers, to the mountain every year.
* All fares referenced above are adult rates. Prices may vary for children and designated groups.
<Last updated on 29 July 2015>
* This column was last updated in July 2015, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.