Hike Seoraksan, One of Korea’s Tallest Mountains
Okay, full disclosure I didn’t actually hike Seoraksan (or Mt. Seorak) in Gangwondo. I was on a field trip with my education office, and we naturally took the cable car up to the top instead. Facebook memories reminded me about our trip, and I realized I hadn’t written anything about it! To be honest, the trip is a blur.
We left early Saturday morning and came back late Sunday night. Most of our trip was spent on a bus (it was a seven-hour ride there and back), and we were freezing most of the time even though it wasn’t even technically winter in Korea yet.
However, should you choose to go, definitely give yourself longer than 48 hours to enjoy the area. I’m going to break down our trip to give you a better idea of what to do and how starting with checking out one of Korea’s three important mountains (with Hallasan and Jirisan): Seoraksan!
Seoraksan is a National Park and actually part of the Taebaek Mountain range, which extends all along the east coast of the peninsula. It’s nearly 400 square kilometers and covers Sokcho, Inje, Goseong, and Yangyang.
There are many trails you can take, ranging from 1-3 days. However, you can do the cable car in an afternoon. Our wait time in late November was an hour, and it can rise up to two-three hours or more during peak season.
Around the entrance in Sogongwon Park, you can check out Shinheung Temple (신흥사) and its 10km tall bronze Buddha statue. You can also take a walk by the ravine and see the cable cars and peaks from afar.
Once you head up in the cable car, hike a little farther to see Gwongeumseong Fortress (권금성), a site of castle ruins. The cable car is actually the only way to see this area as the path alone is too steep and rocky. It was definitely an experience climbing all the rocks to see the other side as it felt like one wrong move and you’d fall and slide to your death… But hey, kids were running up it pretty confidently, so there’s that.
From Gwongeumseong, you can see the outer Seorak area (외설악) from above. This is also the perfect place to see the sunset.
For more on Seoraksan
There are many different places you can start your hike depending on the trail, but the most common/popular starting point is in Sogongwon where the cable cars are.
Take a bus to Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal. From there take Bus #7 or 7-1 and get off at the Seorakdong Sogongwon Bus Stop (설악동 소공원).
Admission to Sogonwon is 3,500 KRW (~$3.00). Cable Car cost is 10,000 KRW (~$10)
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Oh hiking in Korea is so amazing. So many beautiful places and the people that go hiking too are like older Korean grandmas and grandpas. I love it!
I love that they have the cable car option! Totally worth the $10! I’m honestly not sure if I’m currently cut out for a 1-3 day hike. 1 day I could do but I’d probably start losing it by day 2 because I am horrible at rationing out my food! I’m always amazed when children run freely. I see it in the trails I run too. While I’m holding onto trees for dear life trying not to stumble down a ledge, the kids are just roaming freely without a care!
I love your disclosure at the top. I have had trips like that too – the kind that seems like a blur and then a year later you remember to write about. Haha Life of a travel blogger, right? ;) I would love to hike to the top of this – it seems totally stunning. I love temples that sit on top of a mountain – they have an extra-spiritual feel to them for me because I’m such a mountain lover! Thanks for sharing! Xx
I never thought about hiking in South Korea but if it has a beautiful view like this in one of the mountains then I am convinced now to do it.
If I had a choice of hiking or cable car, I’d pick the cable car too :-) Especially if it was a really tall mountain with a steep trail and it was freezing. so, no judgment from me!
I have not been to Korea yet but would love to go there. This place just looks awesome. Maybe someday. I liked the photo of the bridge.
The views in Seoraksan are beautiful, especially in autumn. I would love to visit in hike. The mountain looks like it has a special energy and a mystical aura.
This looks like a great hike! I love that there is a temple you can discover along the way and the views look stunning.
Wow! This is beautiful! As an avid hiker I would love to come back and to a big trek through the mountains. The views are just amazing, well worth the hour wait, I would say.
I had no idea there were places to hike like this in Korea. Looks amazing. Having a cable car certainly makes it interesting too, especially for the parts where you can’t walk.