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Colorful fall destinations in Korea's mountain range

Recommended Autumn Destinations - Mountain Fall Foliage SitesPhoto: Naejangsan Mountain

Recommended Autumn Destinations Mountain Fall Foliage Sites

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.

Mountain Fall Foliage Sites

Seoraksan Mountain (설악산) in Inje, Gangwon-do

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).

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Odaesan Mountain (오대산) in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do

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.

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  • Odaesan National Park
  • ☞ Transportation
  • Dong Seoul Bus Terminal(동서울종합버스터미널) → Pyeongchang-gun Jinbu Bus Terminal (진부공용버스터미널)
  • Bus schedule: First bus 6:22, last bus 20:05 / Travel time: 2 hrs 15 min / Fare: 13,100 won
  • • Jinbu Intercity Bus Terminal (진부시외버스터미널) → Take a bus bound for Odaesan Mountain Destination: Woljeongsa (월정사) or Sangwonsa (상원사) Temples
  • Bus schedule: Approx. 1-hour intervals / First bus 06:30, last bus 19:40 / Travel time: 20-40 minutes / Fare: 1,900 won (Woljeongsa), 3,000 won (Sangwonsa)
  • • Get off at Woljeongsa or Sangwonsa Temples (Admission: 3,000 won)
  • ☞ Nearby Attractions
  • Sangwonsa Temple (Odaesan), Woljeongsa Temple (Odaesan), Daegwallyeong Museum and more

Jirisan Mountain (지리산) in Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do

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.

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  • Jirisan National Park
  • ☞ Transportation
  • 1. To Jeollanam-do
  • Yongsan Station → Guryegu Station (구례구역)
  • (Train schedule: First train 05:22, last train 22:45)
  • • KTX (Travel time: 2 hrs 30 min / Fare: 41,500 won)
  • • Saemaeulho Line (Travel time: 4 hrs / Fare: 35,000 won)
  • • Mugunghwaho Line (Travel time: 4 hrs 15-30 min / Fare: 23,600 won)
  • • Guryegu Station → Gurye Bus Terminal (구례공용버스터미널)
  • (Bus schedule: Approx. 1-hour intervals / First bus 07:13, last bus 19:55 / Fare: 1,200 won)
  • • Gurye Bus Terminal → Take a bus bound for Nogodan (노고단) → Get off at Seongsamjae (성삼재)
  • * Buses do not operate from late November to mid April. (Bus schedule: Approx. 2-hour intervals / First bus 03:50, last bus 17:40 / Travel time: Approx. 40 min / Fare: 4,500 won)
  • 2. To Gyeongsangnam-do
  • Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal (서울남부종합버스터미널) → Jinju Intercity Bus Terminal (진주시외버스터미널)
  • (Bus schedule: First bus 06:00, last bus 24:00 / Travel time: Approx. 3 hrs 40 min / Fare: 20,300 - 22,300 won)
  • • Jinju Intercity Bus Terminal → Take a bus bound for Jungsan-ri (중산리행) → Get off at the last bus stop.
  • (Bus schedule: First bus 06:10, last bus 21:10 / Approx. 1-hour intervals / Fare: 5,900 won)
  • 3. To Jeollabuk-do
  • Central City Terminal (Honam Line) (서울호남고속버스터미널) → Namwon Express Bus Terminal (남원고속버스터미널)
  • (Bus schedule: First bus 06:00, Last bus 22:20 / Travel time: Approx. 3 hrs / Fare: 15,800 - 25,600 won)
  • Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (동서울종합버스터미널) → Namwon Bus Terminal (남원공용버스터미널)
  • (Bus schedule: 09:00, 10:00, 15:20 / Travel time: 4 hrs / Fare: 16,000 won)
  • • Namwon Bus Terminal → Take an intercity bus bound for Baemsagol (뱀사골)
  • (Bus schedule: Approx. 2-hour intervals / First bus 06:00, last bus 19:20 / Travel time: Approx. 50 min / Fare: 5,300 won)
  • ☞ Nearby Attractions
  • Ten Scenic Views of Jirisan, Hwaeomsa Temple, Cheoneunsa Temple and more

Naejangsan Mountain (내장산) in Jeongeup, Jeollabuk-do

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.

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Juwangsan Mountain (주왕산) in Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do

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.

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  • ☞ Related Column
  • Korea Festivals: September – November
    ☞ Website:
        (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Russian)
  • ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
  • * 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.

    Date 09/02/2015

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