For most visitors to Seoraksan, a half-day or full-day hike is a good way to see the highlights of the park. If you're a serious hiker or backpacker, you can hire a guide for about 3 days to explore the lesser seen areas. Contact the Seoraksan National Park Administration Office (tel. 033/636-7700) for more info. The following are hikes (Koreans call them courses) that will take less than half a day to a full day. Regardless of how long you plan to be out, check the weather conditions and road closures before heading out. Be sure to bring a hat, sunblock, water, snacks, and/or a meal. Due to fire hazards, there is no smoking or cooking allowed in the park. The trails listed below are open year-round, except in inclement weather (such as extreme snow conditions in the winter). Note: Regardless of how hot it may get in the summer, swimming is also not allowed.
Biryong Falls-Sinheungsa Course -- Head for the Sinheung Temple. From there, go left, where you will see the Biryong-gyo Bridge. The trail starts right after you cross the bridge and takes you to the waterfall. A pleasant hike near the water, it'll take about 2 hours, with no major uphill climbs.
Biseondae Cliffs-Sinheungsa Course -- From Sinheungsa, head straight, toward the Iljumun (Gate). After passing the cliffs, you'll see Daecheongbong (Great Green Peak). In the center of the Bonguri (rock) is Geumgang-gul (cave). Climbing up the steps to the cave will take about 30 to 40 minutes. This is one of the most scenic hikes in the park, and it's an easy trek for beginners; plan on it taking about 2 hours.
Gwongeumseong-Sinheungsa Course -- From the entrance, walk down the path to the park -- from there you can take the cable car up to the top. Once you get off the cable car, it's about a 20- to 30-minute hike up to the Gwongeum Fortress. A relatively easy hike, the entire round-trip will take about 80 minutes.
Seongguksa Course (Oesaek Area) -- This trail runs through Cheonbuldong and Baekdam valleys, as well as the Seongguk Temple site. From the entrance to the park, follow the trail that leads up to Seongguksa. Continue through Jujeongol Valley, and you will come to a fork in the road. The left leads to Sibi Falls, while the right path leads to Yongso Falls. This easy hike will take about 2 hours.
Ulsan Bawi Course -- This course is relatively easy from Heundeul Bawi (Teetering Rock) to Gyejo-am. The difficulty comes in the steep climb up the rocks of Ulsan Bawi from the hermitage below. There are metal stairs to help with the climb, but it's still quite dangerous and slippery, especially in wet weather. Still, the view of the mountains and the ocean from the top is worth all that hard work.
Yangpok Course -- Starting from the Sinheungsa area, this trail includes the Yang Falls, located in the Dheonbuldong Valley. Well known for its colorful scenery in the autumn, you'll walk along the valley and see mountain peaks, dense forests, and clear water falling from the mountains. This course takes about 6 hours round-trip, but doesn't have any major uphill climbs.
Baekdamsa Course -- Enter the park from the Baekdam area of Inje-gun. This trail has two options: the first will take you to the Baekdam Temple. The well-paved path is easy, but longer. For those less inclined for walking, you can take a shuttle bus, which will take you halfway up the mountain, leaving the last few kilometers for you to hike up yourself.
Daeseung Falls Course -- The Daeseung waterfall is one of the three largest in the country. Enter the park from the Inje area and go up the steep steps. While hiking up the steps you will see a forked path. Take the left one to go to the falls. You'll know you're close by when you hear the sound of cascading waters echoing on the rocks. The steep trail takes about 2 hours.
Suryeomdong Course -- Enter the park from the Baekdam area of Inje-gun, this trail includes the Baekdam and Suryeongdong valleys. This is a long but not steep trail and will take about 4 hours. If you're short on time, or feeling less than energetic, you can take a shuttle bus that will take you about 4.5km (2 3/4 miles) up.