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Recommended Autumn Destinations in Korea_Mountain Fall Foliage Sites

Recommended Autumn Destinations in Korea_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 locals typically 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).

More Info
☞ Seoraksan National Park (NaeSeorak)
☞Seoraksan National Park (OeSeorak)
☞ Transportation
Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (동서울종합버스터미널) → Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal (속초시외버스터미널)
(Bus schedule: First bus 06:25, Last bus 23:00 / Travel time: About 3 hours / Fare: 17,300 won~19,000 won)
• From Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal, take Bus 7 or 7-1 → Get off at the last bus stop (Seoraksan Sogongwon Stop)
(Bus schedule: 20-30 minute intervals / Travel time: approx. 30 minutes / Fare: 1,100 won)
• Ticket office is about a 5-minute walk from the last bus stop. (Admission fee: 3,500 won)
☞ Nearby Attractions
Seorak Waterpia, Naksan Beach, Gangneung Gyeongpodae Pavilion, etc.

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.

☞ Odaesan National Park
☞ Transportation
Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (동서울종합버스터미널) → Pyeongchang-gun Jinbu Bus Terminal (진부공용버스터미널)
(Bus schedule: First bus 6:32, Last bus 20:05 / Travel time: 2 hours 15 minutes / 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: 1,750 won (Woljeongsa), 2,800 won (Sangwonsa)
• Get off at Woljeongsa or Sangwonsa temples (Admission fee: 3,000 won)
☞ Nearby Attractions
Sangwonsa Temple (Odaesan), Woljeongsa Temple (Odaesan), Daegwallyeong Museum, etc.

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 trekking trips to fully appreciate the mountain.

More Info
☞ 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: 3 hours / Fare: 37,600 won)
• Saemaeulho Line (Travel time: 4 hours / Fare: 33,400 won)
• Mugunghwaho Line (Travel time: 4 hours 15-30 minutes / Fare: 22,500 won)
• Guryegu Station → Gurye Bus Terminal (구례공용버스터미널)
* At Gurye Station, intercity buses bound for Gurye Bus Terminal operate in time for the arrival of the trains.
(Fare: 1,100 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. 30 minutes / 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 hours 40 minutes / Fare: 20,300 won ~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: 3 hours / Fare: 15,800 won - 25,600 won)
Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (동서울종합버스터미널) → Namwon Bus Terminal (남원공용버스터미널)
(Bus schedule: 09:00, 10:00, 15:20 / Travel time: 4 hours / 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 minutes / Fare: 5,300 won)
☞ Nearby Attractions
Ten Scenic Views of Jirisan, Hwaeomsa Temple, Cheoneunsa Temple, etc.

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.

More Info
☞ Naejangsan National Park
☞ Transportation
• Central City Terminal (Honam Line) (서울호남고속버스터미널) → Jeongeup Bus Terminal (정읍공용버스터미널)
(Bus schedule: First bus 06:30, Last bus 22:55 / Travel time: 3 hours / Fare: 14,600 won - 23,600 won)
• Jeongeup Bus Terminal → Take Bus 171 → Get off at Naejangsan Terminal
(Bus schedule: approx. 30-minute intervals / Travel time: approx. 30 minutes / Fare: 1,300 won)
☞ Nearby Attractions
Naejangsa Temple, Geumseon Valley, etc.

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, continue to attract visitors, especially photographers, to the mountain every year.

More Info
☞ Juwangsan National Park
☞ Transportation
Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (동서울종합버스터미널) → Juwangsan Intercity Bus Terminal (주왕산시외버스터미널)
(Bus schedule: 06:30, 08:40, 10:20, 12:00, 15:10, 16:40 / Travel time: 4 hours 30 minutes / Fare: 24,700 won)
☞ Nearby Attractions
Jusanji Pond, Cheongsong Folk Museum, etc.

☞ Korea National Park: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Related Column
Korea Festivals: September – November

  • ☞ Official site of travel information: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Russian)
  • ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

※ All fares referenced in the article are adult prices. Prices may vary for children and designated groups.
Last updated on September 25, 2014

Date 10/01/2014

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