Home > Travelling Korea > Travelling Korean National Parks – Odaesan National Park

Travelling Korean National Parks – Odaesan National Park

Although Seoraksan National Park & Jeju Island are most popular national parks in Korea, I prefer less crowded places, and want to travel places those I haven’t visited before. FYI, –san means a mountain, so Odaesan means Mt. Odae (1,536m), which has 5 major peaks in the park. It’s also famous for holy ground of Buddhism, where has several Buddhist temples around the park. For the official & general information, you can refer KNPS(Korea National Park Service) http://english.knps.or.kr/Knp/Odaesan/Intro/Introduction.aspx?MenuNum=1&Submenu=Npp 

To enjoy autumn colors of the mountain, it’s best during end of October, full of maple tint around the mountain. But it’s also famous for beautiful snowy mountain in Jan & Feb. When I visited there, it’s mid-Oct, started to have autumn colors around from the the peak.

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It’s located in Gangwon-do, one of provinces in Korea, 3 hour-distance from Seoul by driving, and the nearest city from the park is Gangneung-si(강릉시, means Gangneung City, at http://g.co/maps/97kbx). There’re express bus lines from Seoul, in Dong Seoul Express Bus Terminal, at Gangbyeon Station (MRT, green line). For more details of public transportation, refer http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264215&nearBy=tran&#nearbyMap , and select ‘Dong Seoul’ to Jinbu(a name of entrances in Odaesan). For general more information, refer http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264215

Hmm, it seems that it’s not simple to explain about transportation, I just drive my car with GPS navigator..

Well, let’s say you arrived there successfully Smile, I recommend to start travel Odaesan at morning, because it may take several hours, and the recommended course is Soguemgang course (http://g.co/maps/trexk), as it’s beautiful, easy to walk, and clean stream through the valley.

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It’s clean & colorful nature along the stream, and it never makes me tired to stroll the course. I have a tip, if you’re not ready to walk a long distance, just reach Guryong fall, and come back, and don’t miss the fall, and take a photo.

Sogeumgang course has a easy path for walk
Guryong fall

If you need an accommodation, it’s okay to stay in any hotels in Gangneung-si(about 20km distance from the park), or you need to find a small inn around Odaesan national park.

Sogeumgang course can be a good one-day walk for you, but if you’re interested in climbing a peak of mountains, there’s another optional course that takes 6 to 8 hours of round trip. The highest peak is Birobong(-bong means a peak), 1536m, not easy for beginners, but it’s a possible mission for most healthy people to be there.

To climb Birobong, it’s a good idea to start from Sangwonsa (Sangwon temple) because of shorter distance to the peak. (For more details, http://english.knps.or.kr/Experience/ParkContent.aspx?SEQUEN=3&ParkDiv=13&HikDiv02=01&MenuNum=1&Submenu=Npp&Third=HikingCourses&Fourth=01)

It’s possible to drive to Sangwonsa, and start climbing. Climbing is not likely to climb a cliff, it’s more about hiking without using your hands.

The entrance of Sangwonsa course

I think I should mention that there’re scary number of stairs along the course, enough to make you breathless many times.

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If you insist to climb the peak, yes you can conquer the mountain, but if you find you’re not strong enough, take one minute break, 120 times all the way, it just spend 2 more hours.

On the way to the peak, Birobong, there’re a few beautiful Buddhist temples to enjoy short breaks with fresh water & beautiful sceneries.

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If you don’t have a mission, to reach the peak, you can enjoy fresh water, or some tea in the temple, and come down. The temples in this national park are good destinations for travel, and you can save your time & energy.

In my case, I’d like to see the landscape from the peak, I decided not to give up, which need a sort of cheating my mind – it’s almost there.. almost.

finally.. last stairs in a short distance
A sign, here’s the peak of mountain

It’s time to stay & enjoy the landscapes around the peak,

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On the way back, there’s another peak(Sangwangbong, 1491m), about 1km distance from Birobong.


I don’t regret to be there, it’s a great experience for me, but I’ll hesitate if I should climb again, because of horrible number of stairs. Smile

I spent 2 days in Odaesan national park, to take Sogeumgang course, and Sangwonsa course(to climb Birobong), and I’m able to have beautiful memories from the mountain. For travellers those who don’t have enough time, it’s a good idea to select Sogeumgang course to visit Guryong fall, that takes a few hours.

# Here’re suggestions,

Preparations : A bottled water (1000 ml+), Shoes for climbing (Birobong), No reservation required

Schedules : Avoid weekend, or holidays (crowded by local travellers), Recommended to visit – late October, or early November, to enjoy the autumn color. To track snowy mountains, it’s late Dec, to early Feb (requires Climbing irons).

Access to the park : Driving is recommended for your flexible schedules.
Sogeumgang course –

From Seoul, take an express bus from Dong Seoul express bus terminal(동서울버스터미널, Korean language only, https://www.ti21.co.kr) located at Gangbyeon(강변) station (MRT, Green line).  It takes about 3 hours to arrive any entrances(Jinbu(진부) – near from Sangwonsa(상원사), Sogeumgang(소금강) – near from Gangneung-si(강릉)) of the park. It’s required to check available bus schedules & destinations before your leave.

References – Official travel web sites


Categories: Travelling Korea
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  6. 2017/06/25 at 10:52 am

    I am planning to go to Odaesan next weekend and Guryong Falls looks like something I would be very interested in seeing. What trail is it on and what peak is the closest to it that is not too hard?


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