The 12 Best National Parks in South Korea

Pagoda Monument at Seoraksan national park

Paul Gadd / Getty Images

South Korea is a fascinating country known for its impressive palaces, delicious dining, shopping, and world-renowned Korean bathhouses and spas. The fast-moving country also offers visitors a chance to explore various national parks and historical grounds. While there are plenty of things to do in the "Land of the Morning Calm," this guide will help you plan an incredible visit to some of the best national parks in the country, from the outskirts of the bustling city of Seoul to the beaches of Jeju Island.

01 of 12

Seoraksan National Park

Autumn in South Korea: season change at Seoraksan National Park.
Kriangkrai Thitimakorn / Getty Images

Situated along the Northeast coast of South Korea is Seoraksan National Park, famed for its beauty and towering mountain range. The frequently visited park offers visitors plenty of hiking opportunities, relaxing in hot springs, exploring waterfalls, and even a cable car ride. Tourists come from all over to hike the alpine trails at Seoraksan, some of those journeys lasting anywhere from one to three days. Specific trails allow for an opportunity to try and reach the highest point on Seoraksan Mountain, Daecheongbong Peak, or experience a Buddhist cave, such as Geumganggul Cave.

Address
South Korea, 24903, Gangwon-do, Sokcho-si, Seoraksan-ro, 833 KR
Phone +82 33-801-0900
02 of 12

Bukhansan National Park

Stony steps to a temple on a hillside at the Bukhansan National Park in Seoul,

Tuomas A. Lehtinen / Getty Images

On the outskirts of northern Seoul is Bukhansan National Park, which spreads over 31 miles. It is teeming with 1,300 different plant and animal species and over 100 temples. It holds the Guinness Book of World Records' title of "Most-Visited National Park Per Unit Area." This is, in part, due to its fantastic location—it is easily accessible from Seoul by subway. Additionally, it offers plenty of hiking trails, including trails that lead to the largest mountaintop, Baegundae Peak, and the famed Golden Buddha hike.

Address
262 Bogukmun-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 02702, South Korea
Phone +82 2-909-0497
03 of 12

Gyeongju National Park

Anapji Pond, Gyeongju, South Korea
Melanie Barrow_Bodhikai Imagery / Getty Images

One of the oldest cities in South Korea, Gyeongju, is where the ancient Silla Kingdom was based and is the only historical national park in the country. The park spans eight distinct districts, housing historic burial mounds, lush green gardens, and ancient architectural sites. It also offers glimpses of beautiful forested mountain ranges and ponds with floating lotus flowers surrounding them. Visitors can enjoy exploring the cultural sites of the city as well as a mix of modern designs and beauty.

04 of 12

Hallasan National Park

View of Mt. Hallasan in Spring

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Hallasan National Park is located on Jeju Island and is the only South Korean national park that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also houses the tallest mountain (and inactive volcano) in South Korea, Halla mountain. Visitors can enjoy exploring the array of hiking trails throughout the park, with two main routes available to take voyagers to the summit of the hill to view the 400-meter-wide crater that rests on top. The peak is an incredible sight to view during the winter months, as the mountain is covered in snow and can be spotted from anywhere in the park.

Address
2070-61 1100(Cheonbaek)-ro, Cheju, Jeju-do 690-150, South Korea
Phone +82 64-747-9950
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05 of 12

Odaesan National Park

Waterfall and fall colors in Sogeumgang Valley of Odaesan National Park, South Korea.

Copyright Michael Mellinger / Getty Images

Located in the Gangwon Province of Korea is Odaesan National Park. It is home to the largest wooded area in the country and is full of fascinating wildlife, including woodpeckers, wild boars, and even turtle doves. There are a total of 3,788 animal and plant species in Odaesan National Park, making it a paradise for animal lovers and adventurers to explore. The best time to visit the park is during the spring months when the park is saturated with beautiful royal azalea flowers.

Address
2 Odaesan-ro, Jinbu-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do 232-940, South Korea
Phone +82 33-332-6417
06 of 12

Naejangsan National Park 

Beautiful autumn foliage in front of Baegyangsa Temple, Naejangsan National Park.

Robert Koehler / Getty Images

Situated in Honamjeongmaek is Naejangsan National Park, created in 1971 as the 8th national park in the country. Naejangsan was initially named "Yeongeunsan" after its main temple, Yeongeunsa. It was later changed to Naejangsan, meaning "inside" or "hidden area" due to the many hidden wonders worth exploring in the park. These include native flora such as giant dogwood, Mongolian oak, and hundreds of other plant species located within the area. Naejangsan is one of the more popular parks to visit during the autumn months due to the vibrant colors of the foliage.

Address
936 Naejangsan-ro, Jeongeup, Jeollabuk-do 580-300, South Korea
Phone +82 63-538-7875
07 of 12

Jirisan National Park

Red plum blossoms at Hwaeomsa Temple in Jirisan National Park

Sueuy Song / Getty Images

Spanning 292 miles, Jirisan National Park is the most extensive mountainous park in South Korea. It holds one of Korea’s top three most famous mountains, alongside Hallasan and Geumgangsan. It is home to close to 5,000 types of flora and fauna, as well as a host of mammals, including hares, roes, elks, and wildcats. Similar to Naejangsan, the fall leaves in Jirisan burst with color. Tourists can enjoy seeing the array of streams and ponds while venturing on the many trails available for hiking.

 

Address
Daeseong-ri, Hwagae-myeon, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do 667-820, South Korea
08 of 12

Gyeryongsan National Park

A climber walking in Gyeryongsan National Park

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Situated near the city of Daejeon is Gyeryongsan National Park. The park spans over 39 miles and hosts 20 mountain peaks and 15 diverse and explorable valleys. The available hikes and trails around the park include Donghaksa Temple, Sambul Peak, Gwaneum Peak, Eunseon waterfall, and Nammaetap Pagoda. Gyeryongsan was believed to be the capital of the Joseon Dynasty (which started in 1392 and lasted five centuries) and was dubbed a holy mountain where religious services took place. It has 1,121 plant species and hundreds of animals, including otters and woodpeckers.

Address
Banpo-myeon, Gongju-si, 314-923, South Korea
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09 of 12

Mudeungsan National Park

View of flowers and mountains at Mudeungsan National Park, Gwangju, South Korea

Hojoon / Imazins / Getty Images

Located in the sixth-largest city of Gwangju is Mudeungsan National Park. It was converted from a provincial park to a national park in 2012, making it one of the newest national parks in the region. It is home to unique, hexagonal rock formations that date back to more than 70 million years ago, making the park a history buff's dream location. Tourists can explore these formations either on foot by hiking up to see them or riding via a cable car from Hotel Mudeung Park to the mountain peak.

Address
South Korea, Kwangju, Buk-gu, Mudeung-ro, 1550 500-400
Phone +82 62-227-1187
10 of 12

Hallyeohaesang Marine National Park

Aerial photo of Hallyeosudo Marine National Park

Iseo Yang / Getty Images

Hallyeohaesang Marine National Park is a marine environment that runs along the coastline from Geoje in Gyeongsangnam-do province to Yeosu in Jeollanam-do province. The beautiful coastal park is known for its hiking trails, islands with various beaches for swimming, and marine activities. The park is also home to over 1,000 plant species such as red pine, black pine, and the Korean winter hazel. There are plenty of mammals, bird species, and freshwater fish for visitors to discover.

Address
Namhae-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do 668-810, South Korea
Phone +82 55-860-5800
11 of 12

Byeonsanbando National Park

Waterfall at Byeonsanbando National Park

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Known for having a great mix of mountains, cliffs, forests, and beaches, Byeonsanbando National Park is famous for its stunning coastal area and excellent hiking trails. The park doesn’t receive as much traffic as others due to its location on the peninsula, but it is well worth the trek to witness the sunset, as it is the last place the sun goes down in Korea. Those that venture to the park can experience unspoiled landscape views of the rock formations, mountains, and the surrounding sea.

Address
Byeonsan-myeon, Buan-gun, Jeollabuk-do 579-850, South Korea
Phone +82 63-582-7808
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Deogyusan National Park

Beautiful winter scenery of Deogyusan National Park
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Nicknamed by locals as “The Heaven of the Wild Flowers,” Deogyusan National Park is famed for its stunning flora and fauna as well as its magnificent views. It is situated between several other parks worth exploring, including Naejangsan, Jirisan, and Gyeryongsan. The park is also home to Muju Ski Resort, popular amongst locals and tourists. Many also enjoy hiking Hyangjeokbong, the fourth highest mountain peak in South Korea. Animal enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the park as it has an abundance of biodiversity, including over 2,000 species from amphibians to reptiles and mammals living in the area.  

 

Address
469-1 Samgong-ri, Seolcheon-myeon, Muju, Jeollabuk-do 568-810, South Korea
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The 12 Best National Parks in South Korea