The time of year is upon us where the cold starts to creep across South Korea at the same speed of the yellows and reds creeping onto leaves everywhere. While the cold temperatures make staying indoors the easiest option, we always push ourselves to get out as much as possible before winter really takes hold. This past weekend we knew would be one of our last opportunities to sleep in our tent and go camping with our good friends before the cold made such a prospect too uncomfortable. Normally we would have been dressed up and celebrating Halloween, but the lure of one last camping trip was too great. As a compromise, Stephanie convinced everyone to bring a hiking-appropriate costume for our hike around Naejangsan National Park.
Long overdue, we finally made it to Naejangsan on this trip. Famous for its autumn colors, we’ve pushed off exploring this beautiful national park specifically to see it in all of its fire-y grandeur. While this weekend might have been about the earliest we could’ve gone to see the colors, we were fairly confident that some of the trees would be changing. The sea of oranges, yellows, and reds wasn’t as far reaching as we had hoped, but it was still a beautiful park with enough trees changing to make this expedition well worth the long wait to see this park.
We started the hike at Naejangsa Temple at around 8:30am and hiked to the Ggachibong Peak (까치봉). After a brief rest and snack, we pushed on to the Sinseonbong Peak (the tallest in the park) and finally to the top of Yeonjabong Peak before heading back down to the temple. All in all, the horseshoe circuit took us 15 kilometers. We stopped multiple times for photos, lunch, and even drinks but finished out the day at around 4:30 in the afternoon. If you are into less physical activity, there is a cable car to an observatory with great views which costs around 11,000 won round trip per person or you could just enjoy the valley as the colors were the brightest there.
The real crowning jewel of this camping trip was found in the company we’re so fortunate to keep. We typically reject distractions from celebrating Halloween, but opportunities to commune with great friends in the beauty of nature is something to be cherished. With a revolving door of foreigners living in South Korea, we feel very lucky to have such wonderful people around us and for how much time we’ve been able to spend together. Gushing about friends aside, everyone was a really great sport about hiking in costumes and waiting in the cold while we took photos of plants and rocks. The hiking was excellent and the company made for such a lighthearted and amazing trip to cap off camping season. Packing away our tent and hiking boots is a somber activity each year and the memory of this trip to such a beautiful place with beautiful people will surely make it all the more difficult this time.
Enjoy the photos from our trip ×
Camping in Naejangsan
National Park Campsites
Be sure to check out the National Park Campsite Reservation website here if you are looking to camp in the park. Beware that the sites fill up quickly, so you will need to reserve a campsite a while in advance.
We really loved our campsite even though it was outside of the park. Check out their website if you have some Korean skills, or use the map below to check it out and possibly book in person. They have a great campsite that is well spread out and modern and clean facilities. There are even glamping style tents for those of you who are less into roughing it!