Fun Fact: 70% of South Korea’s land is considered uplands or mountainous, leaving just 30% that is lowlands and suitable for farming. It’s no coincidence that Koreans love hiking because they have plenty of mountains to get out and explore! I really want to encourange expats living here in Korea to do the same: get out to some of Korea’s beautiful national parks or nearby mountains. I promise, you won’t regret it (sure, it may be a workout but the views will be worth the effort).
I’m a bit obsessed with maps, directions, knowing where I am at all times, what altitude I’m at, etc. Maybe you’re the same, maybe you’re not? While hiking, I like knowing how high the peak is. So here’s a list of the highest mountains in Korea. Please note that 14 of the 25 highest are found in Jirisan National Park, giving good reason why I feel Jirisan is the “grandaddy of them all”, why it attracts serious hikers, and why we owe it another visit (or two or three) asap.
Highest Peaks in South Korea:
1. 1950m – Hallasan, Jeju-do
2. 1915m – Cheonwangbong, Jirisan
3. 1875m – Jungbong, Jirisan
4. 1806m – Jeseokbong, Jirisan
5. 1781m – Habong*, Jirisan
6. 1734m – Banyabong, Jirisan
7. 1708m – Daecheongbong, Seoraksan
8. 1703m – Chotdaebong, Jirisan
9. 1667m – Yeonghabong, Jirisan
10. 1652m – Yeongshinbong, Jirisan
11. 1642m – Sseoribong, Jirisan
12. 1614m – Hyangjeokbong, Deogyusan
13. 1594m – Jungbong, Deogyusan
14. 1586m – Myeongsongbong, Jirisan
15. 1567m – Taebaeksan, Taebaeksan
16. 1563m – Birobong, Odaesan
17. 1547m – Munsubong, Taebaeksan
18. 1534m – Tokkibong, Jirisan
19. 1522m – Deokpyeongbong, Jirisan
20. 1507m – Nam Deogyusan, Deogyusan
21. 1507m – Nogodan, Jirisan
22. 1492m – Muryongsan, Deogyusan
23. 1462m – Samgakbong, Jirisan
24. 1444m – Bangtaesan
25. 1439m – Birobong, Sobaeksan
*There is no official trail to this peak
You’ll note that these peaks don’t necessarily stack up against the impressively massive Rocky Mountains, Himalayas, etc. BUT, I will say the trails here in Korea offer a challenge because the trails are comparatively very steep and they often start near sea level and work their way up to the peak, resulting in a lot of elevation gain each time you hike. An example would be Hallasan National Park in Jeju-do: 1950m (peak) – 620m (Gwaneumsa trailhead) = 1330m (4363ft) of eleveation gain.
Elicia and I will be doing our best to cross off as many peaks on this list as possible while we visit all sixteen (16) mountainous national parks. You can follow our progress here.
Info source: KOREA IN THE CLOUDS (blog here)
This blog is a great resource, but has been inactive since Oct 2010.