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Fall Foliage in South Korea, Your Guide to the Best Autumn Hikes and Views

Fall foliage in South Korea is one of the most spectacular sights you’ll ever see. And if you ask me what is the best time to visit South Korea I’d undoubtedly say it’s Autumn. The whole country shows off the shades of fiery reds, oranges, and yellows! It is everywhere! But if you want to go a notch up, literally, I’ve got the best fall foliage spots in South Korea for you. 

In this Fall Foliage in South Korea guide,  I’ll show you the best destinations and trails for fall foliage viewing and hiking in South Korea, along with some tips and tricks to make the most of your autumn adventure. 

Best Time to See Fall Foliage in South Korea

The best time to see fall foliage in South Korea depends on several factors, such as the location, the altitude, the weather, and the species of trees. Generally speaking, the fall foliage season in South Korea starts from late October to early Novemeber in the northern and mountainous regions and lasts until mid-November to early December in the southern and coastal regions.

However, these dates are not fixed and may vary from year to year. Therefore, it’s advisable to check the official websites of national parks or tourism boards for the latest updates and forecasts before planning your trip. 

These were the approximate dates in the form of a South Korea fall foliage map

Where to see Fall Foliage in South Korea

As for where to see fall foliage in South Korea, there are countless places to choose from, ranging from urban parks and gardens to rural mountains and valleys. However, some of the most popular and recommended places are:

  1. Seoraksan National Park: The Crown Jewel of Fall Foliage in Korea
  2. Naejangsan National Park: The Home of Autumn Colors
  3. Odaesan National Park: The Land of Temples and Trails
  4. Bukhansan National Park: A Fall Foliage Escape in Seoul
  5. Daedunsan Mountain: The Thrill of Walking on a Suspension Bridge

Let’s take a closer look at each of these destinations and trails for fall foliage viewing and hiking in South Korea.

Seoraksan National Park: The Crown Jewel of Fall Foliage in Korea

Seoraksan National Park is one of the most famous and visited national parks in South Korea. Located in Gangwon Province, about 4 hours away from Seoul by car or bus. The park is home to over 1,000 species of plants and trees, including maple, oak, birch, pine, ginkgo, and more. It is undoubtedly the best place to hike in South Korea.

The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and the admission fee for Seoraksan National Park is 3,500 won per person. The best time to see fall foliage in Seoraksan National Park is from mid-October to early November.

How to reach Seroaksan National Park

The best way is to reach via public transport. Take a bus or train to Sokcho city. Frequent buses are available from Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal to the entrance of Seoraksan National Park. This gives you the flexibility of exploring the park in your own time. 

But, if you do not want to get into the hassle of changing transport I recommend booking a tour to Seroaksan National Park.

Reasons to visit Seoraksan National Park during the fall season

  • The panoramic views from various vantage points, such as Ulsanbawi Rock, Gwongeumseong Fortress, Biseondae Cliff, and Cheonbuldong Valley.
  • The cultural attractions, such as Sinheungsa Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the park, and Heundeulbawi Rock, a giant boulder that can be moved with a slight push.

The hiking trails at Seoraksan National Park

  • Osaek Course (4.5 km, 2 hours): an easy trail that follows a stream and passes by mineral springs, waterfalls, and a suspension bridge.
  • Biryong Falls Course (3.6 km, 2 hours): an easy trail that leads to a beautiful waterfall surrounded by colourful trees.
  • Ulsanbawi Course (7.6 km, 4 hours): a moderate trail that climbs up to a towering rock formation that offers stunning views of the park and the sea.
  • Daecheongbong Peak Course (16.5 km, 10 hours): a difficult trail that reaches the highest point of the park at 1,708 meters and passes by several peaks and valleys.

Naejangsan National Park: The Home of Autumn Colors

Naejangsan National Park is another popular and visited national park in South Korea. Located in Jeollabuk Province, about 4 hours away from Seoul and 3.5 hours away from Busan. The park is home to over 700 species of plants and trees, including maple, oak, ginkgo, zelkova, and more.

The best time to see fall foliage in Naejangsan National Park is from late October to mid-November. The peak season for autumn foliage in Naejangsan National Park usually occurs around mid to late October. The admission fee for Naejangsan National Park is 3,000 won per person

How to reach Naejangsan National Park

Naejangsan is a great option if you are in Busan as well as Seoul. Simply take a train or bus to Jeongeup City. From Jeongeup Intercity Bus Terminal take another bus to Naejangsan National Park. 

If you are in a group or would just like a little bit of convenience, I’d suggest booking an online tour of Naejangsan National Park. 

Reasons to visit Naejangsan National Park during the fall season

  • The panoramic views from various vantage points, such as Naejangsan Mountain, Baekyangsa Temple, Naejangsa Temple, Geumseon Valley, and Wolha Pond.
  • The cultural attractions, include Naejangsa Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Korea, and Baekyangsa Temple, a serene temple surrounded by colourful trees and a lotus pond.

The hiking trails at Naejangsan National Park

  • Naejangsa Temple Course (1.5 km, 1 hour): an easy trail that starts from Naejangsa Temple and passes by several attractions, such as Uhwajeong Pavilion, Yeonjabong Peak, Bulchulbong Peak, and Geumseon Valley.
  • Baekyangsa Temple Course (6 km, 3 hours): an easy trail that starts from Baekyangsa Temple and passes by several attractions, such as Ggurimjae Pass, Jangseung Valley, Byeongnyeonam Rock, and Wolha Pond.
  • Naejangsan Mountain Course (9.5 km, 5 hours): a moderate trail that starts from Naejangsa Temple and climbs up to Naejangsan Mountain, the highest point of the park at 763 meters. The trail offers spectacular views of the park and the surrounding areas.
  • Sinseonbong Peak Course (14 km, 7 hours): a difficult trail that starts from Baekyangsa Temple and reaches Sinseonbong Peak, one of the most challenging peaks in the park at 744 meters. The trail passes by several peaks and valleys and requires a lot of stamina and skill.

Odaesan National Park: The Land of Temples and Trails

Odaesan National Park is another popular and visited national park in South Korea. Located in Gangwon Province, about 3.5 hours away from Seoul. The park is home to over 1,000 species of plants and trees, including maple, oak, birch, pine, ginkgo, and more. 

In Odaesan National Park, the best time to witness the stunning fall foliage is typically from mid to late October. The admission fee for Odaesan National Park is 2,500 won

How to reach Odaesan National Park 

Take an intercity bus from Seoul to Jinbu or Jinbu Bus Terminal, which is the closest town to Odaesan National Park. From Jinbu, take a local bus or taxi to the entrance of Odaesan National Park. 

If this is your first time in South Korea and prefer a little more convenience get on a tour to Odaesan National Park.

Reasons to visit Odaesan National Park during the fall season

  • The panoramic views from various vantage points, such as Odaesan Mountain, Sangwonsa Temple, Woljeongsa Temple, Sogeumgang Valley, and Birobong Peak.
  • The cultural attractions, such as Woljeongsa Temple, the largest and oldest Buddhist temple in the park, and Sangwonsa Temple, a serene temple that houses a famous bronze bell. Both temples are part of the Odaesan Cultural Route, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that connects eight historic temples in the region.

The hiking trails at Odaesan National Park 

  • Woljeongsa Temple Course (4 km, 2 hours): an easy trail that starts from Woljeongsa Temple and passes by several attractions, such as Fir Forest Trail, Odaecheon Stream, Jajaeam Hermitage, and Yeonggamsa Temple.
  • Sangwonsa Temple Course (6 km, 3 hours): an easy trail that starts from Sangwonsa Temple and passes by several attractions, such as Cheonbuldong Valley, Biseondae Cliff, Guryong Falls, and Jeokmyeolbogung Shrine.
  • Odaesan Mountain Course (9.5 km, 5 hours): a moderate trail that starts from Sangwonsa Temple and climbs up to Odaesan Mountain, the highest point of the park at 1,563 meters. The trail offers spectacular views of the park and the surrounding areas.
  • Birobong Peak Course (16 km, 8 hours): a difficult trail that starts from Woljeongsa Temple and reaches Birobong Peak, one of the most challenging peaks in the park at 1,563 meters. The trail passes by several peaks and valleys and requires a lot of stamina and skill.

Bukhansan National Park: A Fall Foliage Escape in Seoul

Bukhansan National Park is another popular and visited national park in South Korea. Located in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. Bukhansan National Park is also known as a fall foliage escape in Seoul, as it offers a convenient and refreshing getaway from the city. The park is home to over 1,300 species of plants and trees, including maple, oak, pine, ginkgo, and more. 

The best time to see fall foliage in Bukhansan National Park is from late October to mid-November. The admission fee for Bukhansan National Park is free

How to reach Bukhansan National Park

Take the Seoul Subway Line 3 to the Gupabal Station (Exit 1). From there, take Bus No. 704 or 34 to Bukhansan National Park. Alternatively, take the Seoul Subway Line 4 to the Gireum Station (Exit 3). Then, take a local bus or walk to the park’s entrance.

If you aren’t an experienced hiker join a group tour to ensure a fun and safe experience. 

Reasons to visit Bukhansan National Park during the fall season

  • The panoramic views from various vantage points, such as Baegundae Peak, Dobongsan Mountain, Bibong Peak, and Uidong Valley.
  • The cultural attractions, such as Bukhansanseong Fortress, a historic fortress wall that surrounds the park and dates back to the Joseon Dynasty, and Seunggasa Temple, a peaceful temple that offers a panoramic view of Seoul.

The hiking trails at Bukhansan National Park

  • Baegundae Peak Course (9.5 km, 5 hours): a moderate trail that starts from Baegundae Information Center and climbs up to Baegundae Peak, the highest point of the park at 836 meters. The trail offers spectacular views of the park and the city.
  • Dobongsan Mountain Course (5 km, 3 hours): a moderate trail that starts from Dobongsan Station and reaches Dobongsan Mountain, one of the most scenic mountains in the park at 739 meters. The trail passes by several attractions, such as Mangwolsa Temple, Jaunbong Peak, and Seokguram Rock.
  • Bibong Peak Course (3 km, 2 hours): an easy trail that starts from Ui Station and reaches Bibong Peak, one of the easiest peaks in the park at 560 meters. The trail passes by several attractions, such as Uidong Valley, Suyu Falls, and Bukhansanseong Fortress.
  • Uidong Valley Course (2 km, 1 hour): an easy trail that starts from Uidong Information Center and follows Uidong Valley, a beautiful valley that runs through the park. The trail passes by several attractions, such as Suyu Falls, Seunggasa Temple, and Bibong Peak.

Daedunsan Mountain: The Thrill of Walking on a Suspension Bridge

Daedunsan Mountain is another popular and visited mountain in South Korea. Located in Chungcheongnam Province, about 2.5 hours away from Seoul. Daedunsan Mountain is also known for the thrill of walking on a suspension bridge, as it offers a unique and exhilarating experience of crossing a 50-meter-long and 81-meter-high bridge that connects two peaks of the mountain. The bridge, called Geumgang Gureumdari, or Cloud Bridge, is one of the main attractions of the mountain and provides a stunning view of the surrounding scenery and fall foliage.

The best time to see fall foliage in Daedunsan Mountain is from late October to mid-November. The admission fee for Daedunsan Mountain is free, but some attractions may have separate fees, such as Geumgang Gureumdari Bridge 2000 won. 

How to reach Daedunsan Mountain

Take a train or intercity bus to Jecheon City. From Jecheon, take a local bus that travels to Daedunsan Mountain. The bus will drop you off near the entrance of the mountain.

But if you are looking for a more convenient route, simply book a tour of Daedunsan Mountain

Reasons to visit Daedunsan Mountain during the fall season

  • The panoramic views from various vantage points, such as Daedunsan Mountain, Geumgang Gureumdari Bridge, Samseonbong Peak, Nakjodae Terrace, and Yongmungul Cave.

The hiking trails at Daedunsan Mountain

  • Daedunsan Mountain Course (4 km, 2 hours): an easy trail that starts from Daedunsan Information Center and climbs up to Daedunsan Mountain, the highest point of the mountain at 878 meters. The trail passes several attractions, such as Geumgang Gureumdari Bridge, Samseonbong Peak, Nakjodae Terrace, and Yongmungul Cave.
  • Geumgang Gureumdari Bridge Course (2 km, 1 hour): an easy trail that starts from the Daedunsan Information Center and reaches the Geumgang Gureumdari Bridge, the main attraction of the mountain. The trail offers a thrilling experience of crossing the bridge and enjoying the view.
  • Samseonbong Peak Course (3 km, 2 hours): a moderate trail that starts from Daedunsan Information Center and reaches Samseonbong Peak, one of the most scenic peaks of the mountain at 828 meters. The trail passes several attractions, such as Geumgang Gureumdari Bridge, Nakjodae Terrace, and Yongmungul Cave.
  • Nakjodae Terrace Course (3 km, 2 hours): a moderate trail that starts from Daedunsan Information Center and reaches Nakjodae Terrace, a wooden platform that offers a panoramic view of the mountain and the valley. The trail passes several attractions, such as Geumgang Gureumdari Bridge, Samseonbong Peak, and Yongmungul Cave.

Planning a trip to South Korea? Read also

Seoul Travel Guide

A Guide to Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan

The blog contains affiliate links and some images sourced from the internet.

When can you see autumn leaves in Korea?

Typically, autumn leaves in South Korea start changing colour from early October to early November, with peak foliage around mid to late October.

Where is the best place to see fall foliage in Seoul?

Namsan Park, Seoul Forest, Haneul Park and the Olympic Park are among the best places in Seoul to view fall foliage due to their scenic landscapes and various tree species that change colour during autumn. If you have extra time in hand take a day trip to Nami Island.

How cold is autumn in Korea?

Autumn in Korea varies in temperature, but on average, temperatures range from around 50°F (10°C) to 70°F (20°C), with cooler temperatures towards the end of the season. It can get colder in November as autumn transitions into winter.