Mount Hallasan Summit
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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2020)

Hiking Mount Hallasan was the highlight of our autumn trip to South Korea. Located in Jeju Island, Mount Hallasan is a dormant volcano and the highest peak in South Korea. This dormant volcano including its surrounding is within Hallasan National Park and one of the best places to see the autumn leaves in South Korea.

Things you need to know when hiking Mount Hallasan

  • Height: 1950 MASL (Metres Above Sea Level)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Admission Fee: Free
  • Camping: Not allowed
  • Food and water: Not available so include this in your packing list
  • Restrooms: Available at the shelters
  • Days closed: None, open all year round
  • Cut-off time: Noon (read further as I will give more details on this)

Hiking Mount Hallasan is free but camping is not allowed.  The trail is well maintained and very easy to follow so hiring a guide is not required. There is little to zero chance that you will get lost. Aside from ropes built on each side of the trail and numerous signboards, there are bridges and stairs built for ease of walking within the Hallasan National park.

Katie crossing a bridge during hike in Mount Hallasan | The Hollapinos
Mike crossing a bridge during hike in Mount Hallasan | The Hollapinos

Mount Hallasan Hiking Course

There are 6 trails in Mount Hallasan but only 2 routes can take you to the summit. Below are the list of all the trails.

Yeongsil Trail

  • Length: 5.8km
  • Hike time: 1 to 2 hours one way
  • Pros and Cons: It will not take you to the summit
  • Stops and what to see: Yeongsil Rest Stop, Byeongpungbawi Rock, Uitse Oreum, Nambyeok Point

Gwaneumsa Temple Trail

  • Length: 8.7 km
  • Hike time: 4 to 5 hours one way
  • Pros and Cons: Shorter but steeper, best views
  • Stops and what to see: Gwaneumsa Camping Site, Tamna Valley, Gaemideung, Samgakbong Peak Shelter, Summit (Dongneung)

Seongpanak Trail

  • Length: 9.6 km
  • Hike time: 4 to 5 hours one way
  • Pros and cons: Longer but the gentlest trail, easy hike
  • Stops and what to see: Seongpanak Trail Information Center, Sokbat Shelter, Saraak Oreum Entrance, Azalea field, Summit (Dongneung)

Donnaeko Trail

  • Length: 7 km
  • Pros and Cons: It will not take you to the summit
  • Stops and what to see: Donnaeko Trail Information Center, Pyeonggue Shelter, Nambyeok Point

Eoseungsaengak Trail

  • Length: 1.3 km
  • Pros and Cons: It will not take you to the summit
  • Stops and what to see: Eorimok Trail Information Center, Eoseungsaengak

Seokguram Trail

  • Length: 1.5 km
  • Pros and Cons: It will not take you to the summit
  • Stops and what too see: Chunghon Memorial Site parking lot, Seokguram

If you want to explore other trails not leading to the summit of Mount Hallasan, the popular hiking trails are the Donnaeko Trail and the Yeongsil Trail. You can combine these two trails by traversing Mount Hallasan where you ascend via the Donnaeko Trail and descend via the Yeongsil Trail. Click to book a Mount Hallasan hiking tour via Donnaeko and Yeongsil trails that include transfers, lunch, and a guide that will tell you stories about the sites.

Trails to Mount Hallasan summit 

Only the Seongpanak and Gwaneumsa Trails can take you to the summit of Mount Hallasan.

Crater of Mount Hallasan
Photo of the crater at the summit by Adrián Sáenz

Which trail to take?

It will be up to you which trail and combination to take. See details below to help you decide.

Cut-off Time

To ensure hikers safety, there is a cut-off time to hike to the summit of Mount Hallasan. By noon, you must pass the Yongjingak Shelter on the Gwaneumsa trail or the Jindallaebat Shelter on the Seongpanak trail.  

  • Gwaneumsa trail cut-off point: Yongjingak Shelter
  • Seongpanak trail cut-off point: Jindallaebat Shelter
  • Cut-off time: 1:00 PM in summer, 12:00 PM in winter, 12:30 PM in autumn

If you are not yet at the shelter before the cut-off time, you cannot continue hiking to the summit and will have to return to the jump-off point on the same trail you are trekking.

Gwaneumsa trail cut-off signboard near Yongjingak Shelter | The Hollapinos
Gwaneumsa trail cut-off signboard near Yongjingak Shelter

Additionally, you are required to get off the summit by 2:00 PM to ensure you are out of the trails before darkness falls. We recommend starting the hike as early as 6 in the morning to avoid rushing the hike and to have more time to appreciate the views.

Hiking Mount Hallasan Packing List

You need the KakaoMap mobile app downloaded on your phone to help you navigate going to and from the jump-off points and your hotel. But the KakaoMap app needs a Wi-Fi connection to work so rent a pocket Wi-Fi when you arrive in South Korea. It is a lot cheaper than your network’s data roaming!

Renting a pocket Wi-Fi in South Korea will cost you about $2 per day with several devices allowed to connect and strong signal all throughout the country, even at the top of Mount Hallasan. Click here to browse availability and book a portable pocket Wi-Fi.

You will also need to purchase a T-money card for ease of paying when commuting. T-money cards can be purchased and loaded at vending machines at the airport. A T-money mobile app is available. Click here to buy a T-money card or app credits. An option to deliver it to you by mail is available.

Below are the hiking essentials you need to pack for a day in Mount Hallasan.

How to go to the trail

The trails are accessible both from Seogwipo and Jeju City. Using your KakaoMap mobile app for direction, you can easily ride a bus to the trail.

Another option is to ride a taxi. A taxi ride from Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal to Gwaneumsa Trail will cost around KRW 12,000 and take 25 minutes while Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal to Seongpanak Trail will cost around KRW 20,000 and take 35 minutes.

If you are taking the same trail when ascending and descending Mount Hallasan, you can also rent a car and drive to the jump-off point. Make sure you have an international driving permit if you want to rent a car in Jeju Island. Click on the View More button below to compare rates and book a car rental in Jeju Island.

If you are traversing or combining two different trails to ascend and descent Mount Hallasan, renting a car is not recommended. It is better to commute via bus or taxi.

Our commute

We stayed in Elin Hotel during our stay in Jeju City. Click here to book your stay in Elin Hotel.

Since we took the Gwaneumsa Trail and Seongpanak Trail combination, here’s how commuted to and from the trails in Jeju City.

Gwaneumsa Trail

From Elin Hotel in Jeju City, we took a bus ride going to Sancheondan then took a taxi ride going to the jump-off point because there is no bus that will pass near the Gwaneumsa Trail. The bus ride is around 15 to 20 minutes and the overall commute took about an hour.

READ  Things To Know When Planning A Trip to El Nido + Things That People Won't Tell You
Seongpanak Trail

There is a bus stop nearby the jump-off which was convenient and the bus trip has a drop off near Elin Hotel as per KakaoMap. The overall trip should only take about 30 minutes with 2 bus rides but we lost our way during the bus transition.

Mike and I waited at the second bus stop but the bus never came so it is recommended to always check your KakaoMap. After waiting for a long time, we considered another route, endured a long walk to cross back and forth the main road with our sore feet to get to another bus stop.

Book private transfers

You can also book private transfers by clicking on the links below:

Hiking Mount Hallasan

Start of our hike

We left the hotel at 5 in the morning because we don’t want to rush just to reach the Yongjingak Shelter on the Gwaneumsa trail before noon.

Welcome sign at the Gwaneumsa trail | The Hollapinos
Welcome sign at the Gwaneumsa trail

Before starting the hike, Mike and I used the toilet first because the next toilet is at the Yongjingak Shelter. Even if we started early, there were many who has started hiking before we arrived.

Direction sign to Gwaneumsa Trail | The Hollapinos
Mike pointing at the direction where we will start our hike

Since we wake up early, we were unable to eat our breakfast so we did it while hiking. I am really impressed with the trail of Mount Hallasan because it is well-maintained and easy to follow. I remember the various times that we got lost while hiking in the Philippines because some trails were difficult to follow.

Also, every step you take when hiking Mount Hallasan is a step on a UNESCO Heritage Site so you should be honored.

Trail in Mount Hallasan | The Hollapinos
Just starting the hike
Trail in Mount Hallasan | The Hollapinos
Looks like a dried stream

Although the Gwaneumsa Trail is more difficult than the Seongpanak Trail, is known as the most scenic. Especially that we went during the autumn season, we enjoyed the lovely bright red and yellow foliage.

Arriving at Yongjingak Shelter

Mike and I made it to the Yongjingak Shelter before noon. We stayed there for a while to rest and eat our lunch. The Yongjingak Shelter is spacious that you can comfortably find a spot to relax and recover in preparation for more hiking.

Restrooms are available at the Yongjingak Shelter but water and food are not available. Additionally, remember to leave no trace. Put all your disposals in your trash bag and take it with you.

View of Mount Hallasan from the Yongjingak Shelter | The Hollapinos
View of Mount Hallasan from the Yongjingak Shelter

After taking some pictures, we continued hiking to the summit. Even if it was freezing cold when started hiking, we manage to take off our jackets during the hike as the steep route will increase your body temperature.

I must admit that there were several times that I felt tired and regretful. The stairs seem endless! Luckily, Mount Hallasan has elevation signs so you know how near you are to the summit.

Foliage along Gwaneumsa Trail | The Hollapinos
Taking photos of the foliage
Elevation sign | The Hollapinos
One of the elevation signs

Along the Gwaneumsa Trail, you will cross suspension bridges over deep ravines. Seeing razor-sharp cliffs that bulge out from the mountain is one of the sign that you are near the summit.

Route along Mount Hallasan | The Hollapinos

Another sign that you are near the summit during autumn is you will see patches of snow but this outside temperature did not beat our rising body temperature as the trail was becoming steeper too!

Snow along the trail of Mount Hallasan | The Hollapinos
Snow along the trail of Mount Hallasan | The Hollapinos

Summit

Arriving at the summit, we were so proud that we did this challenging hike together. The summit of Mount Hallasan was windy and covered in several layers of wooden platforms.

You can have a snack, sit or lay down to relax but never forget to take pictures! Especially of the Mount Hallasan crater.

It was still vivid in my memory how we asked a guy to take our picture. He was happy to take our picture but he was of the same level like us.

I asked him if he can step on a higher platform so that the crater will be captured on the photo. Again, he was willing to do so but we saw how his hands shivered while holding my phone to take the photos due to the coldness of being on a higher ground. Mike and I were so thankful!

Our picture with the crater of Mount Hallasan at the background | The Hollapinos
The crater of Mount Hallasan at the background

After taking several photos of the crater, we noticed that there was a long line for something. It is to take a photo at a commemorative rock as a symbol of hiking to the summit of Mount Hallasan.

When it was our turn, someone from the line was willing to take our photo and everyone cheered when we did one of our favorite travel pose. A kiss!

Mount Hallasan Commemorative Rock
Mount Hallasan Commemorative Rock
"There's no one I'd rather walk the trails with than you." Click To Tweet

Remember to leave no trace anywhere in Mount Hallasan. I want to reiterate this because I saw a plastic bag floating in the air while relaxing at the summit! SMH!

Descending Mount Hallasan

There is a staff on the summit who will remind you to descend by 2 PM. We descended via Seongpanak Trail.

Even if the Seongpanak Trail is mildly inclined, we were a bit drained from hiking the Gwaneumsa Trail. Also, the Seongpanak Trail is longer!

Seongpanak trail descending Mount Hallasan | The Hollapinos
We’re almost done descending Mount Hallasan

We took more photos while descending to enjoy our hike with the views but in a good pace because we also want to be out of the trail before it becomes dark.

And just before sunset, we reached the Seongpanak Visitor Center. This is your jump-off point if you are taking the Seongpanak Trail to ascend to the summit of Mount Hallasan.

After the hike, we went back to our hotel to clean up then went out for dinner. We capped off the day with a treat of Bingsu in Caffe Bene.

Our treat for finishing the hike

Where to stay when hiking Mount Hallasan

Below are the best hotels at Jeju Island that is near the city center and affordable.

Click on the View Hotel button of the property that you like to get more details and book a room at the best price!

Below are the top hotels on Jeju Island that have high ratings. The list of hotels below range from budget to luxury to meet your preference.

Click on the View Hotel button of the property that you like to get more details and book a room at the best price!

Flights to Jeju Island

Although there are several ways to go to Jeju Island, the most convenient way to go is by flying. Click here to read our guide on Jeju Island travel.

The price calendar below shows the cheapest flights from Seoul to Jeju Island within one year. Click on the month that you like below to book your flight from Seoul to Jeju Island.

Recap of links

Here’s the recap of links for ease of your booking. Click the links below to book online.

Conclusion

And that’s it! Doing a 1950 MASL hike was worth the adventure with all the lovely views of autumn foliage and the company of your loved one. Hiking Mount Hallasan in Jeju Island in South Korea should be on your travel bucket list.

Where was your most memorable hike?


Travel planning resources

Flights: Jetradar compares airfares from airlines and travel agencies to help you book the best flight deals. Check with CheapOair too!

Accommodation: Book with Hotellook! It compares accommodation rates of several booking platforms like Booking.com, Zen, Agoda, Expedia, Hostelworld, Trip.com, Hotels.com to make sure you book the best price.

Book budget stays: Hostelworld

Book hotel rooms: Hotels.com

or book rooms with Booking.com or Agoda

Car Rental: Book the best prices and services with Rentalcars.com

Search using your phone: Download the Jetradar mobile app in iOS or Android to set price drop alerts on flights and compare accommodation and car rental rates

Tours: Get Your Guide or book with Klook and Viator (a TripAdvisor Company)

Bike and Scooter Rental: BikesBooking.com for motorcycle, scooter, quad, and bicycle rentals

Ferry: 12Go for ferry tickets in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Philippines, New Zealand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macao, and China.

And don’t forget travel insurance with World Nomads!

What to pack

Reusable Water Bottle: Nalgene

Immune Support: Airborne Chewables

Comfortable Walking Shoes: ON Sneakers

Waterproof Action Camera: GoPro Hero 7 White

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment

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The Author

Katie is a Software Quality Assurance Analyst by profession. She is also a dragon boat paddler, a Crossfit athlete, and a weightlifter by passion. She has travelled within Asia, Europe, and Micronesia before meeting Mike.

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