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The 149 km2 of Hallasan National Park are centered around the dormant shield volcano that brought Jeju Island into being. The summit (1,950 m) of the mountain is the highest point in South Korea, though not by much (it's only 35 meters higher than Jirisan's Cheonwang Peak). The mountain is located exactly in the middle of the island and can be accessed from all sides fairly easily. Hallasan is one of the most popular mountains for hiking in Korea, particularly with all the local vacationers who come to Jeju Island on holidays and for honeymoons. It is, indeed, a beautiful setting with its gentle, grassy slopes, misty coniferous forests, meadows, and semi-wild horses roaming about. One of the great things about Hallasan, after having lived on the Korean mainland awhile, is that most of the area around the mountain is yet undeveloped and quite peaceful. The rural terrain of the foothills looks very similar to Mauna Kea on The Big Island of Hawaii and Haleakala on Maui (both shield volcanoes). Further up on the slopes, the trails wind through stands of Japanese oak, cedars, and Korean firs. Tree-cover is sparse at the highest elevations, where open grassland is more common. Many people come to Hallasan to see the azaleas bloom in June.
Baeknokdam Crater lies at the summit and hosts a spectacular, blue lake (except in winter, when it freezes over). There are also dozens of picturesque parasitic cones, called oreum, on the mountainside. If you're looking for subtle beauty, Hallasan has it. On the other hand, if you want a rough, challenging hike, this isn't the place. Shield volcanoes are distinct for their large bases and very gradual incline. None of the trails up Hallasan are particularly steep or difficult, but possibly it's the distance that gets to people. Currently there are only two trails that go to the summit and they're both over 18 kilometers round-trip. Still, you're looking at a half-day hike from bottom to top and down again. Start early, because the park service won't allow people to start up the longer trails after about 10:00 AM.
ENTRANCES TO THE PARK
Hallasan National Park has five entry points (only four of which are currently open):
(1) Northwest Entrance: Eorimok
(2) Southwest Entrance: Yeongshil
(3) South Entrance: Donnaeko (closed since 1994)
(4) East Entrance: Seongpanak
(5) North Entrance: Gwaneumsa Campground
NOTE: Currently the Seongpanak and Gwaneumsa trails are the only ones that lead all the way to the summit.
Take a bus from Jeju City Bus Terminal to Eorimok Bus Stop on Highway 99. Walk 20 minutes up the road to the ticket booth, parking lot, and trailhead.
JEJU CITY Bus Terminal ► EORIMOK Bus Stop
Duration: 40 minutes
07:50 ◄ Every 80 minutes ► 15:00 (Nov-March)
06:30 ◄ Every 80 minutes ► 16:50 (Apr-Oct)
Take a bus from Jeju City Bus Terminal to Yeongshil Bus Stop at the trailhead.
JEJU CITY Bus Terminal ► YEONGSHIL Bus Stop
Duration: 1 hour
07:50 ◄ Every 80 minutes ► 15:50 (Nov-Mar)
06:30 ◄ Every 80 minutes ► 16:50 (Apr-Oct)
Note that the same buses stop at Eorimok and Yeongshil.
This trail is off-limits to hikers until further notice.
Take a bus from Jeju City Bus Terminal to Seongpanak Bus Stop near the trailhead.
JEJU CITY Terminal ► SEONGPANAK Bus Stop
Duration: 30 minutes
06:00 ◄ Every 12 minutes ► 21:30
Regular buses also depart from Seogwipo Terminal for Seongpanak (it takes 40 min).
There are no buses to Gwaneumsa (neither the temple nor the campground and trailhead). If you don’t have your own vehicle, one option is to take a bus or taxi to the Jeju Country Club on Slope Road (Hwy. 1117). From there, walk west on the road for about 50 minutes until you come to the turn-off for Gwaneumsa campground (there’s a sign).
Another possibility is to hop on a bus for Eorimok at Jeju Bus Terminal and then ask the driver to drop you where Highways 99 and 1117 meet. From there you’d have to walk east on the road for about an hour.
SLEEPING & EATING
Though there are snack shops and small ranger stations at some of the trailheads, there are no tourist villages on Hallasan, which means you’ll need to find food and lodging in the nearest city or town. Jeju City in the north and Seogwipo in the south are both less than an hour by bus from any of the park entrance points.
Gwaneumsa Campground is found 10 km from Jeju City near Slope Road (Hwy. 1117), about 1 km west of Gwaneumsa (temple). The complex, which is said to accommodate as many as a 1,000 people, includes tent sites, cooking areas, showers, restrooms, and campfire pits. Contact the park service for more information about reservations and facilities.
MOUNTAIN SHELTERS (대피소 Daepiso)
Hallasan has a number of day shelters, where hikers can buy water, snacks, and maps, but there are no overnight shelters.
[Tel] : 064-713-9950-3