Hiking in Seoraksan National Park

courtesy google images

Warranting a blog post all its own was my visit to Sokcho, South Korea for a weekend of hiking and lazing about on the beach in Seoraksan National Park.  Just a (roughly) 3 hour bus ride from Seoul, my friend and I, plus 6 of her teaching friends spent the weekend in Sokcho and shared a pension.

Pension:  A pension is like a hotel but it’s much cheaper and it includes kitchen items like a sink, silverware, dishes, single stove top burner, fridge.  It also has a plethora of floor pads and pillows to sleep on so a whole group of us could stay in one room.

We were able to book one right on the beach and also grill our own barbecue up on the rooftop, which sounds amazing but it was RIDICULOUSLY cold outside so after 8 of us huddled around the grill for warmth we finally cooked all the meat and made the veggies in our room with a fry pan. 

Walking the streets of Sokcho, Seoraksan Mountains in the distance.

Seoraksan means ‘snow-capped mountain’ and it was surreal to hike the trails partially covered in snow and yet walk the beach that same night!  I had never been in the mountains before.  Cliffsides in Europe, jungles in the Caribbean, bluffs in Wisconsin, but not real mountains.  I was in awe!

You know how we have Smokey the Bear? Well, Seoraksan has this parent/child moon bear to look out for your safety!

My lovely new and old friends! Back to Front, L to R: Andy, Lin, Luana, Caitlin, Amy, Josh, and Naomi!

The trail we took led to Biryong Falls, which means “Flying Dragon” Falls.  Legend has it there was a drought that stopped the water flowing in the town.  After the village made a sacrifice of a young maiden, the dragons were appeased and allowed the water to flow again.  It is said the fall looks like a dragon flying upwards toward the sky.

Can you see the dragon?

The trek back down:

Seoraksan also encloses Sinheungsa Buddhist Temple in the park.  Outside the temple entrance is a 62 foot Bronze Buddha called Tongil Daebul which signifies the wish of the people for reunification of its divided country.

Me and the Moon Bear!

That was my favorite moment from travel!  What were the favorite things you remember from trips you’ve taken or new experiences?  If you’ve blogged about it, feel free to share the link!

Happy Hiking Everyone!  Aren’t you glad it’s spring now?

16 responses

  1. Great pictures, and, man, does it look cold. But it seems you had a great time. What an adventure.

    1. LOL I love that you and Mark think it looks so chilly. That was one of the warmest days I was there!

  2. Coleen Patrick | Reply

    Gorgeous photos. I love waterfalls and the dragon story makes it all the more cool! 🙂

    1. And the area surrounding it was all rocks so it was a cool picnic spot really! Several families were there having a treat with their kiddos. So pretty!

  3. Awesome pics, as usual. It’s interesting; I never really pictured South Korea as being a cold place.

    1. Yah, I know! Apparently it’s known for terrible weather! LOL. Long and cold winters, rainy, and a really short spring/summer. Plus there isn’t a lot of green around. A few parks here and there, but the city is built inside the mountains and it’s super populated, so you do need to travel out to see forests/parks. There looked like some good hiking trails near N Seoul Tower, so if you and Tara ever plan a trip, you could have a lot of easily accessible fun bumming around there. Otherwise, Seoraksan was just a 3 hour bus ride!

  4. I feel like i just went hiking with you! Thanks for sharing that adventure with us.

    1. Where are the fun hiking spots near you? Joe and I went to Toronto last year and we DEFINITELY walked all over, but we didn’t trek out to do any hiking. We’re hoping to drive up to Harmony, MN and visit Niagara Cave this year. I’m betting there’s some trails there.

  5. Amazing pics! I love the one with you and the moon bear. 🙂

    1. Did you read the link about moon bears? They’re really endangered right now. It’s essentially the Asiatic Black Bear, but called moon bear because of the crescent shaped white stripe on their chests. I heard there’s a poaching problem with them because people use their gallbladder for medicinal purposes??? Everyone believes in different things, but I am sad to learn it’s causing extinction of this beautiful species.

      1. Okay, even if the gallbadder is helpful for medicinal purposes, wouldn’t it be stupid to make this species extinct? Then one would lose the source of medicine. My point: Whatever the reasoning, we could agree to protect the species as much as possible. Very interesting, Jess.

  6. […] So, a year and a half ago, I started blogging!  And I met amazing writers and readers online!  And through them, got involved with some writing contests and critique groups.  Next, I saved up my money and used my vacation time to attend writing conferences and travel around the world.  I just blogged all about my recent trip to South Korea:  favorite spots, food, and hiking. […]

  7. What beautiful photos you take! Lovely park, even with the cold!

    1. I agree! This was a beautiful adventure. But it wasn’t too cold in the park. The worst was on the rooftop of the pension cause the wind would come and it was freezing! LOL Imagine 8 people huddled really closely around a little grill.

  8. Wow! Looks like fun! 🙂
    I stumble upon your blog as I was researching about Seoraksan. I’m interested to hike a little next October during my trip to South Korea. Read that Biryong Falls is an easy hike. Was wondering how long did you and friends took to finish the hike? Was it really easy?

    1. We didn’t have a lot of time, so this hike was perfect. I can’t quite recall how long it was but I would guess between 1-2 hours. The hike would be fast and has a lot of stairs. We rested for a bit by the falls because it was so gorgeous out. Enjoy your trip!

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