The ultimate guide to hiking Mount Hallasan

Dec 17, 2019 | Asia, Global travel, South Korea

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(Last updated on: 31/03/2020)

Climbing Mount Hallasan is an exciting and rewarding addition to anyone’s Jeju travel itinerary. We certainly lOVED it! Whether you’re an esteemed hiker, a casual walker or a family looking for a little bit of exercise and some stunning views of Jeju Island, there is an option for you on Mount Hallasan!

In this post I will tell you all everything that you need to know when hiking Mount Hallasan, from what to pack to what the weather will likely be to which is the best trail for you. something I forgot to mention? Feel free to ask away in the comments at the end!

Where is Mount Hallasan?

Located almost smack-bang in the centre of Jeju Island, Mount Hallasan is the highest peak in South Korea. The area around the mountain is a designated national park, too. Mount Hallasan actually makes up a large portion of the island – it is often used to represent Jeju as a whole. It can be seen no matter where you are on Jeju Island.

As you drive around Jeju Island you can often see Mount Hallasan in the vista. The mountain makes for a stunning view and is very inviting for those who enjoy walking, hiking or nice views!

DID YOU KNOW: there is a local saying which goes “Jeju Island is Hallasan, and Hallasan is Jeju.”

Hallasan National Park is a twenty-thirty minute drive from Jeju City. You can also drive or get public transport to each of the trails – the journey time will be slightly different for each. You can easily hire a car when visiting Jeju; a taxi from the city to the mountain would set you back around £15-18 GBP.

If you are driving, parking can be a bit of a challenge, especially on a busy day. I’ve heard stories of people having to leave their cars way down the mountain and walking for an hour or more before reaching the start of their trail! I recommend starting early and factoring extra time just in case.

If you take public transport then you may also have a bit of a walk from the bus stop to the trail. Personally, my advice is to taker a taxi or a bus followed by a taxi to reach the start of your chosen Mount Hallasan trail.

Getting to Jeju Island itself is simple too. The island has an international airport, with domestic flights from South Korea arriving regularly. Fly in from Daegu, Gwangu, Cheongiu, Gimpo or Sacheon. Our flight from Seoul Gimpo airport to Jeju was an absolute steal at only £15! International flights from various Asian cities are available too.

If you are travelling on a budget, there are ferries that head to Jeju Island from South Korea. They are comfortable, affordable and take around 1-2 hours to reach the island. Here’s where you can catch one from:

  • Mokpo Port, Mokpo
  • Wando Port, Wando
  • Usuyong Port, Haenam
  • Yeosu EXPO Cruise Terminal, Yeosu
  • Nokdong Port, Goheung

There is also an overnight ferry from Busan, for those wanting to experience something different or pay even less to travel from South Korea to Jeju. This takes around 12 hours.

Am I fit enough to climb Mount Hallasan?

If you’re worried that you might not be fit enough to climb Mount Hallasan, don’t be!

Yes, the full day hikes do require some basic fitness, but they are not too difficult. Plus, there are several shorter trails that you can take if you are short on time or if you are not confident in your fitness or physical capabilities.

Mount Hallsan weather

The weather on Mount Hallasan will be colder than it is in Jeju City or by the beaches.

Because of the height of the mountain and the island’s location, clouds will often gather around around Mount Hallasan. This means that temperatures can feel cooler, visibility might not be great and rain is likely.

Jeju Island is susceptible to typhoons during the wet season. If the winds are strong and the rain is heavy they will close the Mount Hallasan trails (trust me, I know- it happened to us…).

My recommendation is to pack your waterproofs, just in case!

However, Mount Hallasan can also have some beautiful weather that enables you to get some of those fantastic Insta-worthy photos!

Mount Hallasan packing list

Hiking up any mountain is serious business (I learned this when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro!). Whilst you won’t be staying overnight on Mount Hallasan, it is still important that you have all of the necessary hiking gear to ensure that you have a safe an enjoyable hike.

Here are my recommendations for a Mount Hallasan packing list-

  • Hiking boots- mine are Karrimor boots
  • Walking poles- I don’t personally use these for small hikes, but I do love a good walking pole! There are some great deals on Amazon.
  • Reusable water bottle- we love our Cambelbak, which is great quality and even has a kids version! You can refill on most trails.
  • Waterproof coat- if the weather is hot, I recommend a light-weight rain poncho, like this one, otherwise I usually wear my North Face rain jacket
  • Lunch and snack- there is nowhere selling food on the trails
  • First aid kit- because you never er know when you might need one. This one from Amazon is pretty handy.
  • Suncream- The sun is strong in Jeju and it only gets stronger the higher that you go!

What Mount Hallasan trail should I climb?

There are several ways to hike up Mount Hallasan. The four most popular trails are The Yeongsil Trail, The Eorimok Trail, The Seongpanak Trail and The Gwaneumsa Trail. I will also gives you details of The Donnaeko Trail, The Eoseungsaengak Trail and The Seokgulam Trail below.

The different trails take between 30 minutes and 10 hours each, and all offer something special. Here is a deeper look into each Mount Hallasan trail, to help you decide which one is perfect for your Jeju Island hike!

The Yeongsil Trail

This is the shortest Mount Hallasan hike at 3.7km each way. Depending on your pace, this hike should only take between 2 and 3 hours total. It’s the perfect way to spend your final day on the island, or a few hours one afternoon in between exploring everything else Jeju has to offer.

While this trail doesn’t take you to the summit of Mount Hallasan, it does show you plenty of waterfalls and beautiful views. It’s definitely the easiest way to experience a Jeju Island volcano hike!

Take the 240 bus from Jeju City, which will take you straight to the trail head. There is parking available for hire cars, and a taxi from either Jeju City or Seogwipo will get you there in around half an hour too.

See the mountain here!

The Eorimok Trail

Another fairly short hike, this one is 4.7km each way. In total, it usually takes around 3-3.5 hours to go up and down this trail. The incline is shallow and there are stunning views on offer. Trees offer a lot of shade on this route, too! This is another easy way to hike up Mount Hallasan!

The 240 bus can you drop you off at the entrance point of this trail too, and parking is available for hire cars. A taxi here will also take around half an hour.

The Seongpanak Trail

Getting longer and more difficult, this is 9.6km each way. It should take around 8 hours to hike the trail as a whole. This one takes you right to the summit of Mount Hallasan, and it’s not too steep either. So although it’s the longest trail, it isn’t the most difficult!

There are direct buses available to the Seongpanak Trail. 181 from the airport, 281 from Jeju City and 182 from Seogwipo. Taxis and hire cars can access the trail head, too.

The Gwaneumsa Trail

At 8.7km each way, this isn’t the longest trail. It should take around 9 hours to complete the hike, due to being much steeper than Seongpanak. It again takes you to the summit of Mount Hallasan, and the views all the way up are spectacular. The trail starts about 1km away from the Gwanemsa Temple, which is definitely worth a visit.

To get the trail head, you first need to get to Jeju International University. The 181 bus from the airport will take you here,as well the 365 bus from Jeju City and the 281 bus from Seogwipo. From the university, catch the 475 bus. Cars can access the trail head too!

TOP TIP: one of the best ways to hike up Mount Hallasan is to go up via the Seongpanak Trail, because it’s not as steep, and then down via the Gwaneumsa Trail. This way you get to see the summit, and enjoy the incredible views that Gwaneumsa has to offer. There are taxis at the bottom which will take you back to Seongpanak if you have parked your car here, for example.

The Donnaeko Trail

This 7km trail will take you around 3 1/2 hours to complete. This is a popular trail for getting some of those gorgeous coastal photographs as the view is stunning! To experience the best views I recommend that you climb either the Yeongsil or Eorimok trails and then descend via the Donnaeko Trail.

There is no easy public transport to reach the Donnaeko Trail. You will need to take a taxi from Seogwipo, which will put you back around W15,000.

The Eoseungsaengak Trail

The Eoseungsaengak Trail is one of the shortest hikes on Mount Hallasan and is perfect for hikers with young children and those who are short on time. The Eoseungsaengak Trail can be completed in around half an hour. It is a short 1.3km.

The Eoseungsaengak Trail starts at the Hallasan National Park Visitor Centre, so there is plenty of parking. The trail ends at the Eoseungsaenggak Oreum. Here there is a Japanese watch tower from World War 2, which is pretty interesting. It offers stunning views of Mount Hallasan on a clear day.

You can reach the start of the trail from the bus stop on the 1139.

The Seokgulam Trail

The Seokgulam Trail is another short hike. It is 1.5km in length and takes approximately 50 minutes to complete. Whilst this trail doesn’t have the same views as the Eoseungsaengak Trail, it is still a pleasant walk with good vistas at the end. There are some steep stretches.

The Seokgulam Trail starts at the cemetery car park in Cheonwangsa and runs through Ahheunahhopgol, finishing at Seoggulam, a women’s hermitage.

Tips for hiking Mount Hallasan

Check the weather forecast before you set out, as some trails are closed when the weather is bad. Bring food, water and sun protection with you, and wear comfortable clothing and shoes. And make sure your camera has plenty of battery! With over 1800 species of plant on Mount Hallasan, you’ll want to capture everything you see. Visiting the national park is incredible enough as it is, but the mountain is something special.

Hiking up this volcano is an absolute must if you are planning a trip to Jeju Island – be at one with nature and look out across the island. It’s definitely worth the jelly legs and tired feet at the end of the hike…

1 Comment
  1. Jewel June

    It is so nice post. Keep it doing bro ….

    Reply

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Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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