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Mt. Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park
Part one in a series on the National Parks of Korea
The peaks of the Seoraksan Mountains break through the clouds while jade-like water flows through the valleys, creating breathtaking views and making this Korea's most famous national park. Due to the many rare species found here, UNESCO designated this national park a Biosphere Preservation District in 1982. The mountain range located here stretches over an area of 373 ㎞² with the highest peak reaching 1,708 meters. The most famous tourist area near Mt. Seoraksan National Park is the city of Sokcho. The eastern part of Sokcho has sparkling water along the coast, while the western part of the city connects to the most famous mountain of the national park. This area is said to be blessed with beautiful natural surroundings: beaches, ski resorts, hot springs, and historic treasures. Accommodations in the area include hotels, condominiums, and small motels. The facilities in the area are well-made to accommodate the three million annual visitors to the park.
>> Click here for transportation or more detailed information about Seoraksan Mountains
>> Click here for more detailed information about Sokcho-si
Half-day Course 1 (Sinheungsa Temple Area) Half-day Course 2 (Other Areas)
One- day Course Things to Prepare and Photo Gallery
• Hiking Courses of Mt. Seoraksan National Park
After paying the entrance fee to the park there are four entrances that can be used. The most well- known temple in the region is Sinheungsa Temple. Other famous spots include the Osaek area, known for its mineral water, the Baekdamsa Temple area and Jangsudae Cliff. For amateur hikers, the half-day and one-day courses are recommended. The rugged mountain range calls for a guide when hiking for longer periods (for safety purposes). For adventurous hikers a three-day course taken with a Korean guide would be ideal. The unforgettable images of valleys and mountain tops peaking through the clouds, and water flowing from cliffs will leave you with lasting memories. The courses introduced in this article have been taken without a guide. Learn more about the half-day and full-day courses.
[Half-day Course]
*The seven courses highlighted below require two to four hours each. These courses are open daily on a year-round basis. The park may close under special circumstances.
1. Gwongeumseong Fortress – Sinheungsa Temple Course  ( Difficulty : ★☆☆ )

After passing the ticket booth and paying the entrance fee you will see a park where you can get on the cable car. A six-minute ride will take you near the top, followed by a 20-30 minute hike which will take you to Gwongeumseong Fortress at an altitude of 1,200 meters. This location will give you a bird's eye view of the Seoraksan Mountains
>>Click here for more information on Gwongeumseong Fortress and the cable car.
-Location of cable car : Sinheungsa Temple area
-Required time : Approximately one hour and 20 minutes.
-Distance : 1.2km (one way)
-Transportation: See the Gwongeumseong Fortress link for more information.
2. Biryong Falls Course – Sinheungsa Temple Course  ( Difficulty ★★☆ )

The Biryong Falls Course can be found by entering at the ticket booth at Sinheungsa Temple then bearing to the left where you will see Biryonggyo Bridge. The course begins just after passing over the bridge. The spring and summer are perfect times to visit. The water flowing through the valleys and cascading down the waterfalls are a sight to behold. This course is easy to follow as it guides you along the lovely Yukdam falls.
>>Biryong Falls
-Required Time : total of two hours
-Distance : 2.4km (One way)
-Transportation : See the Biryong Falls link for more information.
3. Biseondae Cliff Course – Sinheungsa Temple  ( Difficulty ★★☆ )
After exiting the ticket booth near Sinheungsa Temple go straight towards Iljumun Gate. This course is considered a rather easy, invigorating walk. The Biseondae Cours The Biseondae Course is one of the most beautiful courses for hiking. After passing the cliff you will be able to see Daecheongbong Summit. Going beyond this summit is often not permitted for many reasons (one being risk of forest fires). From the cliff, a large rock called Bonguri can be seen. In the center of the rock is Geumganggul Cave which has a stairway to get there. For those who aren't afraid of heights, it's worth taking a look. It is about a 30-40 minute hike from Biseondae Cliff to Geumganggul Cave.
>>Cheonbuldong Valley

-Required Time : tal 2 hours
-Distance : 3.6km (one way)
-Transportation : See the Cheonbuldong Valley link for more information.
4. Ulsan Bawi Rock Course   ( Difficulty ★★★★ )

For hikers who want to feel the true beauty of the Seoraksan Mountains this course is a must. The course is relatively easy from the Heundeul Bawi Rock (meaning unsteady rock ) to Gyejoam Hermitage. However, from Gyejoam Hermitage to Ulsan Bawi Rock the 30-minute hike is rather rigorous. The steep steel stairs leading down from Ulsan Bawi Rock are not for the weak-hearted. For those lacking confidence in hiking, it's better to avoid this course altogether. However, adventurous hikers won't have any regrets after reaching the summit with fantastic views of the East Sea.
>>Ulsan Bawi Rock
-Warning :The steep stairway heading down from the summit of Ulsan Bawi Rock is somewhat dangerous. The stairs are very slippery when wet and hikers must be extremely cautious. For those hikers needing assistance, safety/rescue workers are available. Steps are taken to ensure the safety of hikers and to prevent slippery patches.
-Required time : total of four hours
-Distance : 3.8 km (one way)
-Transportation : See the Ulsan Bawi Rock link for more information.
5. Seongguksa Temple Site Course –Okseak Area  ( Difficulty ★★☆ )

This highly recommended course allows hikers to feel the beauty of the fantastic valleys that Seoraksan has to offer. The course that runs through Cheonbuldong and Baekdam Valleys, as well as the Seongguksa Temple Site, gives visitors breathtaking views of the Jujeongol Valley. Visitors to this course enter the national park at the Osaek area. After purchasing tickets to the park, follow the course up the mountain that leads to the Seongguksa Temple Site. A three- story stone pagoda at the temple site is all that remains. Following the path along Jujeongol Valley will eventually lead to a forked path. Going to the left will lead to Sibi Falls and the right side will lead to the Yongso Falls. Visitors should note that there aren't any forms of public transportation when exiting the park near Yongso Falls. For those that aren't able to prepare individual transportation, it would be best to head back on the path that was originally used.

-Required Time : Total 2 hours
-Distance : 3.5 km (one way)
-Transportation : See the Osaek Hot Springs link for more information.
6. Daeseung Falls Course  ( Difficulty ★★★ )

Daeseung Falls is one of Korea’s three largest waterfalls. For those looking to see this wondrous waterfall, tickets to the park should be purchased at the Jangsudae area of Inje-gun. After purchasing tickets, hikers will see the steep steps awaiting them. While hiking up the steep steps, you will come to a forked path. The left path leads to Daeseung Falls. While approaching the falls, visitors will be able to hear the sounds of water gushing down to the ground.
>>Daeseung Falls
>>Jangsudae Cliff

-Required Time : Total 2 hours
-Distance : 0.9 km (one way)
-Transportation : See related links for more detailed information.
7. Baekdamsa Temple Course  ( Difficulty ★★☆ )

Baekdamsa Temple itself is famous, but even more well known is the 7.5 km high valley. The jade-colored waters meander across the pristine bedrock spreading throughout the valley.
Park tickets to this location can be purchased at the Baekdam area of Inje-gun. The course offers two options to choose between. The first one takes hikers approximately 7.5 kilometers from the ticket booth to Baekdamsa Temple. The well-made pavement path makes for an easy, but long hike. For those looking for a faster alternative, the shuttle bus is an option. This option allows visitors to take a shuttle bus from the ticket booth to approximately 4.5 kilometers up the mountain leaving only a three kilometers remaining to hike up.
[One-day Courses]
*Depending on weather conditions and advisories, the park may close. Play it safe and call ahead to check out any possible closings.
1. Yangpok Course  ( Difficulty ★★☆ )

The Yangpok Course is located in the Sinheungsa area. This seven- kilometer course includes the Yang Falls, but many simply refer to the area as Yankpok. The waterfall located in Cheonbuldong Valley is one of three of Seoraksan's most beautiful waterfalls. Hikers will follow the path along this valley which is most well known for its breathtaking autumn foliage. The fantastic views are worth the hike! With views of fantastically-shaped rocks, mountain peaks, dense forests, and valleys with crystal-clear water cascading down, it's no wonder that this course is said to be the most popular.
>>Cheonbuldong Valley
-Required Time : Total six hours
-Distance : 6.5 km (one way)
-Transportation : See the Cheonbuldong Valley link for more information.
2. Suryeomdong Course  ( Difficulty ★★☆ )

Nestled in the Baekdam area of Inje-gun is the Suryeomdong Course. From the ticket booth in the Baekdam area to a cabin/rest area (no food available here) the journey is about an 11.8 kilometers hike. This course includes Baekdam and Suryeongdong Valleys. Pools of spring water surrounded by fantastically-shaped rocks make for an inviting spot to stop and take a little rest. This course is rather long but compared to the other paths not that steep, making it a reasonable hike. A shuttle bus at the ticket booth can take visitors 4.5 kilometers up the course.
>>Baekdamsa Temple
-Required Time : Total 4 hours
-Distance : 11.8 km (one way)
▒ Things to Prepare
hiking boots or sneakers / jacket or sweater / sun cream / hat / water / snacks / first aid kit / lamp (Needed for those that plan to spend time hiking after dark.)
• Warning 
1. For those planning to take the one-day course, be sure to check the courses are all open. Courses may close on certain occasions (ie. bad weather) so call the Travel Phone at +82-33-1330 (English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese) for more information.
2. Check the weather forecast! The Seoraksan region is prone to heavy rain and other harsh weather conditions. Try checking out the weather advisories posted on the Mt. Seoraksan National Park homepage at
3. There is no smoking or use of anything flammable in the park
4. Cooking is prohibited. Come prepared with cooked foods.
5. No littering! No swimming!
6. Pets are not allowed in Seoraksan National Park. For those carrying pets with them, they will be asked to leave the pets at one of four animal care centers. These centers are located at every main entrance to the park.
7. Sinheungsa Temple, located in the Sokcho-si area, offers a cable car that goes up to Gwongeumseong Fortress. Note that the cable car does not operate in strong winds.
• photo gallery
Date   07/11/2008

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