When the South Koreans are not listening to Kpop, going through their seven-step skincare regimen or shopping at the coolest stores, they’re hiking. Blessed with a shapely topography that comprises 70 percent mountain and the other 30 percent, a fully-developed city, the country has millions clambering to the top yearly. Add to that an extensive government conservation program that protects the parks accompanying them, and you truly have some of the best mountains to hike in South Korea.
As the winter chill gradually wanes and nature springs to life again, these mountains see many flock — in their brand new fluorescent gear — to their perfectly manicured trails on weekends to escape the city smog. To encourage the activity, the trailheads are usually easily accessed via public transport, with cosy dining spots and cultural landmarks along the way. Doesn’t hurt that a couple in the list are UNESCO-worthy too.
For vibrant autumnal hues, hit the hills later in the year from November, or in January for a serenely bleached landscape when the snow falls. Whether you’re looking for a physical challenge or trying to impress your Instagram followers, here are the best mountains to hike the next time you’re in South Korea.