In this blog, I’ve gone in a clockwise circle around Jeju Island, starting at Seongsan Ilchulbong in the east, and I’ve made many references to Hallasan, the shield volcano which created Jeju Island. It is a World Heritage Site. Hallasan, at 1950 meters above sea level, is also the highest point in all of South Korea.
Now, to conclude this series of posts on Jeju Island, I am going to describe my hike through Hallasan. In this part, I describe going up the Seongpanak Trail, and in the second part, I describe going down the Gwaneum-sa Trail.
The Seongpanak Trailhead is right next to the main road connecting Jeju City and Seogwipo City, and thus is served by frequent buses. The Seongpanak trail starts in a forest, which looks like the photo below.
Seongpanak is the easiest and most gently sloped trail on Hallasan, and is one of the only two trails which go to the top. That, combined with the location of the trailhead, makes it by far the most popular trail in Hallasan National Park.
I didn’t think the scenery was particularly interesting – until I got to the alpine zone.
I was hoping to be able to see the coast and the sea, but oh well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. It’s still impressive that Jeju Island has both subtropical and alpine climates, and everything in between.
The Seongpanak trail passes by emergency shelters which have bathrooms and sell snacks at inflated prices. However, people are only allowed to stay overnight in emergencies.
Heck, who needs to see all the way to the coast and see when you can enjoy the beauty of the alpine mists!
Ah, but what is that up there? Is it the blue sky breaking through the clouds? And why are all of those people standing up there.
They are standing at Baengnokdam, the highest point on Jeju Island and all of South Korea.
This is the crater of the mighty Hallasan.
As I was standing at the crater, the sun began to emerge.