Guide To SEORAKSAN, South Korea

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

The Seoraksan National Park is both immense in its beauty and size! With a reserve area of 163.6 square kilometres, it was the first Korean national park to be named under the National Park Law in 1970. There are numerous trails and paths throughout the park of varying distance and difficulty, so you will definitely find something suitable to enjoy.

If you are not up for hiking, you can walk around the lower park area to see the enormous Bronze Statue of Seated Buddha and the Sinheungsa Temple or even just relax with a meal, snack or drink at one the restaurants. You can also take the Seoraksan Cable Car up to Gwongeumseong Fortress Station, but note that from there you still need to climb a fair number of stairs to the actual "Fortress". Depending on the time of year and weather conditions, certain areas and trails may be off-limits to the public, so check the online information before you go. If you really want to make the most of this area, you can easily spend multiple days hiking!

We started by taking the Cable Car up to Gwongeumseong Fortress. The ride itself is very quick and not very exciting. From the top station, you follow a stepped path up to the actual "Fortress" which is really not much more than a few stacked rocks, so don't have high expectations of that. The view however from this area is absolutely stunning! You can walk around quite freely on the large rocks and look out at the sea to the one side and towards Ulsanbawi Rock on the other side. One can easily while away more time than expected in this small area!

From the top station, there is another path leading downwards towards Anlakam Hermitage. Although it is not that far, we really didn't find it worthwhile and would recommend spending your time elsewhere in the park.

After returning by Cable Car (there is no alternative way down!), we set off along the Biseondae Hiking Route. The route is only 3 km long and they suggest that it will take just under 1 hour. NOTE that all route designations are ONE WAY and you will still need to return! The route was a fairly comfortable and easy hike and mostly shaded by large trees.

As the route winds alongside a rocky river, there are a few places where you can make your way into the river to cool down in the crystal clear rock pools or picnic on a big rock as we managed to do. You can get a better idea of the surroundings from our video and drone footage of the day. Once you reach the small suspension bridge at the very impressive Biseondae Rock, you will have the choice of either returning or continuing for a further 600 m (estimated additional 1-hour hike one way) up continuous and strenuous steps to the Geumgangguk Grotto. It was getting late so we did not continue but rather chose to watch a few crazy climbers scaling vertical rock faces and then we made our way back to lower ground to visit the Bronze Statue of Seated Buddha and Sinheungsa Temple before catching a bus back to Sokcho.

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