Hallasan National Park: Explore the Beauty of Jeju’s Highest Mountain

Embark on a breathtaking journey to Hallasan National Park, where you can explore the stunning beauty of Jeju’s highest mountain. Located at the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, Hallasan is not only one of the three most famous mountains in the country but also a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, World Natural Heritage site, and Global Geopark. With its diverse flora and fauna, awe-inspiring landscapes, and a network of 360 peaks, Hallasan offers a unique experience for hikers and nature enthusiasts alike. From the snow-covered peaks in winter to the vibrant autumn foliage, Hallasan showcases the ever-changing beauty of the seasons. Discover the mystical allure of this volcanic island and the precious heritage it holds.

Hallasan National Park: Explore the Beauty of Jejus Highest Mountain

Introduction to Hallasan National Park

Hallasan National Park is located on the southernmost part of the Korean Peninsula, in Jeju Island. It is known as one of the three iconic mountains in Korea, along with Geumgangsan and Jirisan. The park was designated as a national park in 1970 and as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002.

Location and basic information

Hallasan National Park covers an area of 153 square kilometers and includes the Hallasan Mountain, which is the highest mountain in South Korea, standing at an impressive height of 1,950 meters above sea level. The park is divided into four zones: the Baekrokdam zone, the Seongpanak zone, the Gwaneumsa zone, and the Yeongsil-Eorimok zone.

Designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site

Hallasan National Park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its outstanding universal value in terms of biodiversity and geological features. The park is home to a wide range of ecosystems, including evergreen broad-leaved forests, alpine plants, and wetlands. It also has a diverse array of wildlife, including endangered species such as the Korean goral and the Jeju shelduck.

The park’s geological features, including its volcanic landforms and lava tubes, showcase the island’s volcanic history and provide valuable insights into the Earth’s geological processes. These unique natural features played a crucial role in the park’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Beauty of Jeju’s Highest Mountain

Hallasan Mountain is not only the highest peak in South Korea but also a stunning natural landmark that offers breathtaking views and diverse geographical features.

Impressive height and geographical features

Standing at 1,950 meters above sea level, Hallasan Mountain provides visitors with a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience. The mountain is a shield volcano, formed by multiple volcanic eruptions over thousands of years. Its majestic presence and unique geological formations make it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers.

Unique flora and fauna

Hallasan National Park is home to a remarkable variety of plant species, thanks to its diverse climate and altitude variations. The park boasts over 1,800 species of plants, including rare and endemic species that are found only on Jeju Island. Visitors can enjoy the sight of vibrant wildflowers, ancient trees, and lush vegetation as they explore the park’s hiking trails.

The park is also a habitat for various species of wildlife, such as the Korean goral, which is a type of mountain goat, and the Jeju shelduck, a critically endangered bird species. Birdwatching enthusiasts will be delighted by the opportunity to spot rare and migratory bird species in their natural habitat.

Panoramic views of Jeju Island

One of the highlights of visiting Hallasan National Park is the panoramic views it offers of Jeju Island. From the summit of Hallasan Mountain, visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas of the island’s coastline, mountains, and forests. On clear days, even distant landmarks, such as Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak) and Udo Island, can be seen from the top.

The Legend of Hallasan

Hallasan Mountain is not only a natural wonder but also a place steeped in mythology and folklore. According to legend, the creation of Jeju Island’s peaks and hills is attributed to the mythical giant called Seolmundae Halmang.

The mythical giant, Seolmundae Halmang

Seolmundae Halmang is a figure in Korean mythology who is believed to have created the world by digging up the ocean floor with a hoe. Legend has it that she grew tired and dropped her hoe, creating the peaks and hills of Jeju Island. According to some versions of the myth, Hallasan Mountain itself is said to be the hoe that Seolmundae Halmang left behind.

Creation of the island’s peaks and hills

The presence of the numerous hills and mountains on Jeju Island is said to be the result of Seolmundae Halmang’s creation. The unique landscape of Hallasan National Park with its distinct volcanic landforms and diverse topography is a testament to the mythical origins of the island.

Hiking and Mountaineering in Hallasan

Hallasan National Park offers a range of hiking courses that cater to different skill levels and preferences. Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a casual hiker, there is a trail for everyone to enjoy.

Overview of hiking courses

The park has several hiking courses that lead to Hallasan Mountain’s summit, Baekrokdam. The most popular routes include the Seongpanak and Gwaneumsa courses, which start from opposite sides of the mountain and meet at Baekrokdam. The Yeongsil and Eorimok courses are also popular options for those who prefer a more leisurely hike.

Importance of reservation system

To ensure the preservation of the park’s ecosystems and the safety of visitors, a reservation system is in place for hiking Hallasan Mountain. The system allows a limited number of hikers per day and helps manage the park’s visitor capacity. It is essential to make a reservation in advance to secure your spot and avoid disappointment.

Safety precautions and regulations

Hiking in Hallasan National Park requires careful preparation and adherence to safety guidelines. It is crucial to equip yourself with proper hiking gear, carry enough water and food, and be aware of the current weather conditions. Following the marked trails and staying on designated paths is essential to protect the fragile ecosystems and prevent accidents.

Hallasan National Park: Explore the Beauty of Jejus Highest Mountain

Recommended Attractions in Hallasan National Park

In addition to the breathtaking hike to the summit of Hallasan Mountain, Hallasan National Park offers several other attractions that are worth exploring.

Baekrokdam and the Summit Course

Baekrokdam is the volcanic crater lake located at the peak of Hallasan Mountain. It is a serene and picturesque spot that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The Summit Course, which takes hikers to Baekrokdam, allows visitors to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the volcanic crater up close.

Seongpanak and Gwaneumsa Courses

The Seongpanak and Gwaneumsa courses are two popular hiking routes that lead to the summit of Hallasan Mountain. These courses showcase the diverse flora and fauna of the park and provide hikers with breathtaking views along the way. The Seongpanak Course is known for its lush forests, while the Gwaneumsa Course offers a more challenging and adventurous experience.

Yeongsil and Eorimok Courses

The Yeongsil and Eorimok courses are ideal for visitors who prefer a more relaxed and leisurely hike. These courses allow hikers to explore the lower slopes of Hallasan Mountain and enjoy the park’s scenic beauty at a more leisurely pace. The Yeongsil Course, in particular, offers stunning views of the Hallasan Mountain and the surrounding forests.

Exploring the Nature and Wildlife in Hallasan National Park

Hallasan National Park is a haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The park is teeming with diverse flora and fauna, offering visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the island’s natural beauty.

Flora and fauna in the park

Hallasan National Park is home to a rich variety of plant species, including rare and endemic plants found only on Jeju Island. The park’s forests are characterized by evergreen broad-leaved trees and alpine plants, which create a unique and vibrant ecosystem. Visitors can discover a plethora of wildflowers, ferns, and mosses as they explore the park’s trails.

The park’s diverse habitats also support a wide range of wildlife, including mammals, birds, and insects. The Korean goral, Korean water deer, and Jeju shelduck are some of the notable animal species that can be found in the park. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the opportunity to spot migratory birds and indigenous species throughout the year.

Birdwatching opportunities

Hallasan National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers, with its diverse habitats attracting a wide variety of bird species. The park’s wetlands, forests, and mountains provide ideal conditions for both migratory and resident birds. Birdwatchers can spot species such as the Eurasian jay, Korean magpie, and streaked shearwater, among many others.

Nature photography spots

With its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity, Hallasan National Park offers endless opportunities for nature photography. Hikers and photographers can capture breathtaking shots of the park’s volcanic landforms, vibrant flora, and diverse wildlife. Some popular photography spots include Baekrokdam, the various hiking trails, and the scenic viewpoints along the way.

Hallasan National Park: Explore the Beauty of Jejus Highest Mountain

Enjoying Outdoor Activities in Hallasan National Park

Hallasan National Park is not only a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts but also a destination where visitors can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities.

Picnicking and camping

The park provides designated picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a leisurely picnic surrounded by nature. Camping is also a popular activity, allowing visitors to spend the night in the park and experience the tranquility of the wilderness. There are several well-equipped campsites available, offering basic facilities and stunning views.

Birdwatching and wildlife spotting

Birdwatching and wildlife spotting are popular activities in Hallasan National Park. With its diverse habitats and rich biodiversity, the park provides ample opportunities to observe various bird species and wildlife in their natural habitat. Visitors can spend hours watching for rare and elusive birds or catching glimpses of wild animals such as the Korean goral.

Nature photography and sketching

Nature photography and sketching are highly rewarding activities in Hallasan National Park. The park’s breathtaking landscapes, unique geological formations, and vibrant flora and fauna offer endless inspiration for photographers and artists. Whether capturing the dramatic viewpoints or sketching the delicate details of a wildflower, Hallasan National Park provides an ideal backdrop for artistic expression.

Visiting Cultural and Historical Sites in Hallasan National Park

In addition to its natural beauty, Hallasan National Park is also home to several cultural and historical sites that offer insight into the island’s rich heritage.

Temples and Buddhist shrines

Hallasan National Park is dotted with Buddhist temples and shrines that showcase the spiritual and cultural traditions of the island. These sites, such as the Gwaneumsa Temple and the Sangbansong Branch Temple, offer visitors a chance to experience the tranquility and serenity of Buddhist architecture and rituals.

Ancient rock formations and monuments

The park is known for its unique rock formations and monuments, which hold historical and cultural significance. For example, the Sangbansong Rock is an impressive rock formation with inscriptions dating back to the 10th century. These ancient relics provide valuable insights into the island’s history and its connection to Buddhism.

Historical sites and ruins

Hallasan National Park is home to various historical sites and ruins that reflect the island’s past. The Seongpanak Fortress, which was built during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), is a prime example of the island’s military history. Exploring these sites allows visitors to delve into the rich history and heritage of Jeju Island.

Hallasan National Park: Explore the Beauty of Jejus Highest Mountain

Seasonal Highlights in Hallasan National Park

Hallasan National Park offers different experiences throughout the seasons, each with its unique charm and beauty.

Cherry blossoms in spring

Spring is a magical time to visit Hallasan National Park when the cherry blossoms bloom across the park’s pathways and valleys. The delicate pink flowers create a stunning contrast against the backdrop of the lush green forests and volcanic peaks. It is a season filled with beauty and renewal.

Colorful fall foliage

Autumn is a time of vibrant colors in Hallasan National Park. The park’s forests transform into a tapestry of red, orange, and yellow as the leaves change color. The fall foliage creates a breathtaking spectacle, attracting visitors from near and far to witness nature’s artistry.

Winter wonderland and snow-covered peaks

Winter brings a different kind of beauty to Hallasan National Park. The park is transformed into a winter wonderland as snow covers the peaks and trails. Hiking through the pristine white landscape provides a sense of tranquility and serenity that is unique to the season. It is a time to embrace the silence and marvel at the wonders of nature.

Practical Information for Visitors

Getting to Hallasan National Park

Hallasan National Park is easily accessible by various modes of transportation. Visitors can reach the park by taking a bus or taxi from Jeju City, which is the main gateway to Jeju Island. There are also tour packages available that include transportation to and from the park.

Park facilities and amenities

Hallasan National Park provides several facilities and amenities to enhance visitors’ experiences. The park has visitor centers where visitors can obtain information about the park’s trails, flora, and fauna. There are also restroom facilities, picnic areas, and designated campsites available for visitors’ convenience.

Recommended gear and supplies

When visiting Hallasan National Park, it is essential to come prepared with appropriate gear and supplies. Hikers should wear comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes, dress in layers, and carry a backpack with essentials such as water, food, sunscreen, and a hat. It is also recommended to bring a camera or smartphone for capturing the park’s natural beauty.

In conclusion, Hallasan National Park is a gem of Jeju Island, offering visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. From its towering peaks to its diverse wildlife and enchanting legends, the park captivates both nature lovers and cultural enthusiasts. Whether hiking to the summit of Hallasan Mountain, exploring its flora and fauna, or immersing oneself in its cultural heritage, Hallasan National Park provides an opportunity to connect with nature and discover the wonders of Jeju Island.

Hallasan National Park: Explore the Beauty of Jejus Highest Mountain