Hallasan National Park Hiking
Hallasan from Visit Korea

The 149 km2 of Hallasan National Park are centered around the dormant shield volcano that brought Jeju Island into being. The summit (1,950 m) of the mountain is the highest point in South Korea, though not by much (it's only 35 meters higher than Jirisan's Cheonwang Peak). The mountain is located exactly in the middle of the island and can be accessed from all sides fairly easily. Hallasan is one of the most popular mountains for hiking in Korea, particularly with all the local vacationers who come to Jeju Island on holidays and for honeymoons.

It is, indeed, a beautiful setting with its gentle, grassy slopes, misty coniferous forests, meadows, and semi-wild horses roaming about. One of the great things about Hallasan, after having lived on the Korean mainland awhile, is that most of the area around the mountain is yet undeveloped and quite peaceful. The rural terrain of the foothills looks very similar to Mauna Kea on The Big Island of Hawaii and Haleakala on Maui (both shield volcanoes). Further up on the slopes, the trails wind through stands of Japanese oak, cedars, and Korean firs. Tree-cover is sparse at the highest elevations, where open grassland is more common. Many people come to Hallasan to see the azaleas bloom in June.

Baeknokdam Crater lies at the summit and hosts a spectacular, blue lake (except in winter, when it freezes over). There are also dozens of picturesque parasitic cones, called oreum, on the mountainside.