chiaksan national park
is used to be called 'red mountain' because of the numerous Red Pine Trees in the area

chiaksan-national-park-birobong-peakBirobong Peak is the highest in Chiaksan Mountain Park. It is 1,288 meters above sea-level

chiaksan national park

Chiaksan National Park is a spectacular mountain park with several peaks and natural features worthy of a visit. Chiaksan has been designated as the sixteenth national park in 1984. It has a total land area of about 182 square kilometers.

Chiaksan National Park attracts visitors in huge numbers due to its fantastic rock formations, imposing high peaks, steep valleys, scenic slopes, among its natural beauty. Among the highest peaks, Namdaebong, Cheonjibong, Hyangnobong, Sambong, and Birobong tops the list. The tallest among them reaches to over 1,200 meters high.

FACTS: Chiaksan has over 800 plant species supporting various trees including Mongolian Oaks and Japanese Oaks. Also, there are over 2,300 animal species including the endangered (34 species) such as the Flying Squirrel and Copper Winged Bat – knps.or.kr

chiaksan-national-park-guidemapChiaksan National Park Guidemap (right click the photo to view its bigger size)

The total area of Chiaksan National Park includes a 14 kilometer-long trail that connects the peaks for Birobong Peak in the North to Namdaebong Peak in the south. These spiny peaks hold many breath-taking deep valleys, surprisingly unusual granite rock formations, streams and waterfalls that entice visitors.

Specifically, most visitors and hikers alike are drawn into the beauties of Geumdae Valley, Taejongdae Rock, Guryongsa Temple, and the famous Seryeom Falls. During Fall season, you will be entertained by colorful foliage, by verdant forest and plants in summer, and white mountain blanketed by snow in the winter season.

Trivia: Guryongsa Temple was first built during the Silla Kingdom (BC 57-AD 935) by Monk Ui Sang within the years 625-702 during the reign of King Moon Mun in 661-681. However, some argued that the present temple was built during the Joseon Dynasty by King Sukjong (1674-1720)

Having learned a little bit about the park, one will wonder how is it like to hike and conquer its peaks. Yes, it is a beautiful place and visitors are permitted to explore its wonders (except for some dangerous paths). The following information will surely satisfy the curiosity and cravings of avid mountain hikers.

chiaksan-national-parkA relaxing way towards the main entrance of the park

This is a fantastic hiking trail for beginners or for those who simply want to lightly walk and relax with the verdant views around. 

I get off from the bus in front of Chiaksan National Park's management office (when I noticed that everybody did!). Walking from this point will take around 10 minutes to get to the main entrance where you need to pay an admission fee (2,500 Won).

This was the trail I took which directly led to Chiaksan's highest peak--Birobong Peak. On the left side, you will see the clear and freshwater of the stream coming down from the heart of the mountain towards the valleys of Wonju and to the sea.

chiaksan national park hiking courses

Some trails are not listed here as they are not open for hiking due to safety advisory relating to weather conditions and other safety conditions. Anyway, when you are in the area, please inquire at the information center before heading up.

  • Geumdae Ranger Station - Namdaebong Peak Course: Geumdae Ranger Station - Yeongwonsa Temple - Namdaebong Peak. This course is about 5 kilometers long and can take more than two to three hours to accomplish.

  • Haenggu Park Ranger Post - Hyangnobong Peak Course. Haeunggu Park Ranger Post - Bomunsa Temple - Hyangnobong Peak (향로봉). This trail is about 2.8 kilometers in the distance and could take one hour and a half to accomplish.

  • Seongnam Park Ranger Post - Namdaebong Peak Course: Seongnam Park Ranger Post (성남탐방지원센터) - Sangwonsa Temple - Namdaebong Peak. This course is about 6 kilometers in the distance and could take two hours and thirty minutes to accomplish.

  • Bugok Park Ranger Post - Birobong Peak Course: Bugok Park Ranger Post (부곡탐방지원센터) - Godeunjae - Birobong Peak. This longer hiking course, about 8.9 kilometers, is the longer one and could take around three hours to complete.

  • Guryong Information Center - Seryeom Falls Course: Guryong Information Center (구룡탐방지원센터) - Guryongsa Temple - Daegok Campground - Seryeom Falls. This is only 3 kilometers long and could take around two hours to accomplish depending on the speed and skill.

  • Guryong Information Center - Birobong Peak Course: Guryong Information Center (구룡탐방지원센터) - Guryongsa Temple (구룡사) - Daegok Campground (대곡야영장) - Seryeom Falls (세렴폭포0 - Sadari Byeongchang (사다리병창) - Birobong Peak (비로봉). This course is about 5.7 kilometers in distance and could take around three hours and thirty minutes to accomplish.

  • Guryong Information Center - Seongnam Park Ranger Post Course: Guryong Information Center (구룡탐방지원센터) - Birobong Peak - Hyangnobong Peak - Namdaebong Peak - Seongnam Park Ranger Post. This is the longest course and only recommended for experienced mountain hikers. It could take around 10 hours to accomplish the distance of more than 23 kilometers.

  • Hwanggol Information Center - Birongbong Peak Course: Hwanggol Information Center (황골탐방지원센터) - Ipseoksa Temple - Birobong Peak. This course is only 4 kilometers in distance and could be accomplish within two hours and thirty minutes or so.
chiaksan-national-parkManagement office of the park

NOTICE: The park is not accessible during the seasonal fire watch period: March 2-May 15 and November 17-December 15. A preservation area – Seonghwangnim – is closed to the public until 2026.

admission fees & facilities

Entering Chiaksan National Park is not free as it is nationally protected and requires visitors to pay for conservation fee for a minimal amount.

Invidividual: 2,500 Won [Adult], 800 Won [Teenager], 500 Won [Child]
*Group: 2,300 [Adult], 700 Won [Teenager], 400 Won [Child] (Groups means from 30 and above number of people)

Facilities:
Campground, Visitor’s Center, Restrooms

If you are only a backpacker or bicycle rider, you would not need the information below. Yes, that’s because it is about the parking facilities available within the park.

chiaksan-national-parkThe auto-camping area located after passing by the management office. They offer campers for rent and also spaces for those who want to pitch tents inside this facility.

parking area & fees

  • 1 Hour: 500 Won [light-weight vehicle], 1,100 Won [small & mid-sized vehicle], 2,000 Won [large vehicle]
  • Every extra 10 minutes: 100 Won [light-weight vehicles], 250-300 Won [small and medium], 4-500 Won [large vehicle]
  • Over 9 Hours: 5,000 Won [light-weight vehicle], 13,000 Won [small/mid-size], 20,000 Won [large vehicle]
  • Monthly parking payment is also acceptable: 50,000 Won [light-weight vehicle], 150,000 Won [small/medium], 200,000 Won [large vehicles]

Note: Don’t lose your parking ticket as they will charge you for full day basis!

Now, if you are going there and decided to take public transport, the below information could be useful.

Public Transports and Destinations

Chiaksan National Park is very accessible area as it is along Jungang Expressway and Yeongdong Expressway, and national railroad system. If you travel from Seoul to Chiaksan, the following information are available:

  • Train (Mugunghwa Cheongnyangni Station – Wonju Station – Chiaksan National Park (Wonju Station-Chiaksan Park: 9-12,000 Won) – 1 hour 23 minutes (23,129-37,570 Won)
  • Bus: Seoul Express Bus Terminal – Wonju Express Bus Terminal (8,000-12,000 Won/1 hour 30 minutes) – Chiaksan National Park (Taxi: 10-13,000 Won/10 minutes)
  • Subway, Bus: City Hall station (2-Green, 1,400 Won) – Gangbyeon Station  Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (6,900 Won/1 hour 30 minutes) – Wonju – Chiaksan National Park (taxi: 10-13,000 Won).
  • Taxi (from Seoul to Chiaksan National Park): 100-13,000 Won/1 hours and 23 minutes


Wonju Station
From Wonju Station, you can take the following buses:

  • Bus #41 bound for Guryongsa Temple which takes around 40 minutes
  • Bus #21 bound for Geumdae-ri or Seongnam-ri takes approximately 30 minutes
  • Bus # 82 bound for Hwang-gol take approximately 30 minutes

Then get off at the entrance area of Chiaksan Mountain.

Hoengseong County

  • You can also take a fast train (bullet train) – KTX – to Heongseong Station and transfer to a bus bound from Guryongsa Temple. Buses match their schedule with KTX arrival time.

For More Information

Now, if you need further information, you can use the following contact details.

Address: Bugok-ri, Gangnim-myeon, Hoengseong-gun & Hakgok-ri, Socho-myeon, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do
Inquiries: 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Phone: +82-33-732-5231

Hope the above descriptions of Chiaksan National Park help you find what you need. Please, share with us your experience after your visit.

Safe travels!


update with experience!

my chiaksan park adventure

My Chiaksan National Park adventure is a fulfillment to my promise to update the above article with my travel and experience of this beautiful mountain park.

Since I still have many national parks to explore, deciding to climb or hike Chiaksan was a difficult decision and not one of my top listed destination.

But, anyway, I decided to do it because I won’t lose any because all national parks in Korea are worth my time and resources.

This is an important pronouncement….

I should say that I was very satisfied and happy that I did travel to Wonju and explored Chiaksan National Park. Yeheyyyy! I did it!

chiaksan-national-parkEntrance gate to Guryongsa Temple

Travel Plan
I decided to stay for two nights in Wonju City to explore Chiaksan and other exciting travel destinations and attractions in Wonju, Gangwondo Province.

I listed the following sites and places…

  • Hiking Course: Guryong Information Center--Guryong Temple--Daegok Campground--Seryeom Falls--Sadari Byeongchang--Birobong Peak
  • Mount Sogeum Peak and Rocking Bridge
  • Guryongsa Temple
  • Ganhyeon Yuwonji
  • Ganhyeon Wonju Rail Park
  • Wonju Climate Change Center
  • Wonju Yeoksa (History) Museum
  • Hanji Theme Park
  • Park Kyong-ni Literature Park
  • Wonju Gangwon Gammyoung
  • Mureung Bangmulgwan (Museum)
  • Sangwonsa Temple

Yes, they were my initial and rough plan of places to visit. However, I know at the back of my mind that I couldn’t explore them all. I know that I have to be there and decide which places I can cover within a couple of days. Whew!

As you have noticed, the places with links could mean that I wrote an article about them because I have been there and done that (thingy)!

My experiences at Chiaksan National Park is a very memorable and great feeling for me. I love nature and I always will probably because I was growing up as a child in a small town with somehow similar landscapes with this park--mountains, rivers, greens everywhere.

It was a nostalgic experience, and I literally felt like I wanted to visit home. Mainly, the sight of the refreshing streams within Chiaksan was the trigger.

I used to swim in, dip in, and play with my brothers and sisters, and friends in the streams when I was little. It was the most memorable and the best days of my childhood days!

Alright… back to Chiaksan…

I was just saying that if you love exploring nature, this park is one of those places you can put on your list. You have choices of hiking courses or trails…

I chose to climb the highest peak of the park--Birobong Peak! That’s because I want to do it not only for maintaining physical and mental health but also for environmental reasons.

Yes, I want to claim that I care for the environment and that I want to support the efforts of environmental and climate activists. That’s it. That’s my confession to you!

I guess you are one of them^^.

My Travel Timeline

I stayed in Gamyoung area, a historic place, where transports, shops, accommodations, and other facilities that a traveler can easily access.

Here’s my day’s activity…

7:45 AM -- left the hotel to take a bus (#41) at Gamyoung Road
8:00 AM -- took the bus (#41) for Guryongsa Temple
8:50 AM -- arrived at Chiaksan Park Management Office (I got off here as everybody did!)
9:00 AM -- reached the entrance area to the park
9:15 AM -- arrived and then explored Guryongsa Temple
9:45 AM -- reached Seryeom Waterfalls
12:15 NN -- conquered Birobong Peak!
4:00 PM -- returned to the hotel

I kept on checking my phone that’s why I almost got the time right. But they are just based on my pace, and you can have your own time-frame at your own pace.

Of course, you can do it quicker than I do. But since I just want to really enjoy myself in this area, I took time admiring everything (especially when my legs complain and asking me to take short breaks!).

my trail

As I mentioned above, I followed the recommended course from Guryong Information Center to Birobong Peak. My photos below will shed more light about the places I have tracked.

Here are the details:

Guryongsa Info Center ->1.1km -> Guryongsa Temple -> 0.7km -> Daegok Safety Center -> 1.5km -> Seryeom Falls -> 2.7km -> Birobong Peak

chiaksan-national-parkTwo of the four Heavenly Guardians at Guryongsa Temple

I reached the temple area of Guryongsa after a relaxing and energizing walk from the Ticketing Office. Since I got off from the bus (#41, 41-1), the murmuring and calming sound of the stream was always there.

It took me around 20 minutes to reach the temple. The scary-looking Heavenly Guardians of the temple greeted me with such looks. Now, I got used to them as they are all the same in all temples around the country.

chiaksan-national-parkMain hall - Daeungjeon Hall - of Guryongsa Temple where the main Buddha statues are enshrined

I always feel excited and not even feeling bored of exploring temples. So, I walked around, walking slowly while trying to keep the rules of the temple area. Yes, there are lists of etiquette that one should comply while inside any temple area.

Knowing that these temples are holy and old, their individual historical backgrounds do not bore me although they may seem look are too familiar or similar.

The above photo is the Daeungjeon Hall or the main hall of the temple area. It houses mostly the biggest (golden) Buddha(s) statue. 

chiaksan-national-parkGuryongsa Temple with Daeungjeon Hall behind me
chiaksan-national-parkA cascade located right after you pass through Guryongsa Temple area

Above: I was expecting a beautiful waterfall somewhere in the park after a few hours of hike. But this amazing sight greeted me right after exploring Guryongsa Temple.

It is a cascade to me not a waterfall. But I found it very attractive--the water is very clear and tempting. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to enter and do something in the water. They are protected by law.

chiaksan-national-park-seryeom-fallsSeryeom Falls

Seryeom Falls (photo above): Just like you, I guess, loves waterfalls. Actually, I chose this hiking trail because I wanted to see this falls. I was expecting to see a falling-water from the top of a rock to the pool of water basin.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed because it was not what I had in mind. This was small! But it was cute, though!

Its cute sight, and after a few minutes of break and sipping my water provision, I headed towards the small bridge that links to the start of the real hike towards Birobong Peak.

chiaksan-national-parkSadaribyeongchang area of Chiaksan

Sadaribyeongchang (above photo). Yes, I was expecting to be hiking an area like this one. This time I didn't feel disappointed as the description is correct. 

'Sadari' means a ladder and 'byeongchang' means a cliff in Korean. It is rightly so because you can only pass through this part of the trail by walking on the ladder and/or steps.

Why? Because it would be impossible for one to pass through without the ladder/steps. Both sides of the path are cliffs. You are literally walking above the rocks with the ladder raising you above the rocks.

Yes, it was exhilarating!

The views from the path is fantastic. You can also touch the Red Pine Trees on both sides of the ladder/steps. It was a top-of-the-world feeling!

chiaksan-national-parkView of the valleys mid-way to Birobong Peak

Chiaksan Mountain Range (above and below): I was taking quick stops to catch my breath and relax my muscles--legs muscles--as they started complaining!

My mind was willing to continue the climb but my legs seemed not to listen. I was getting some leg cramps. So, I did make many stops!

Although you are climbing up using either the stone steps or ladders, the steep level is a real challenge even to regular hikers. These facilities are really helpful in keeping hikers or climbers much safer!

Yes... The views, the verdant sight of the mountains are spectacular after the Spring season. You can still see some trees and bushes blooming.

chiaksan-national-parkRelaxing verdant sight on one side of Chiaksan National Park on the way, halfway, to Birobong Peak

Where I comfortably stayed

I decided to pick an accommodation which was recommended by travelers who expressed satisfaction through rating. Among many good online booking providers, I chose a hotel (actually a motel) rated highly at Agoda.

I only paid a very generous offer (around 50 USD) per night and stayed there for two nights. I can honestly say that I was delighted with my decision to stay there. Very cozy room with all the necessary facilities I needed (spotless bed, washroom, computer, free Wi-FI, TV, etc.).

As an international traveler, I should say that a traveler must stay in a hotel that fulfills the standard international requirements, which this hotel has been fulfilling.

What surprised me about the room is that all electronic facilities can be controlled by ONLY one remote control (‘remocon’ in Korean). It controls the lights, TV, air-conditions — a ubiquitous control system. You don’t need to get up and turn on the light!

Yes, of course, there are many hotels nearby or within Wonju City. Feel free to search them here.

Overall Experience

I was dissatisfied...

Because I wanted to explore more but didn’t have many luxuries of the time. I will surely come back and complete my list.

OVERALL, every bit of my experience and memories of the places I’ve been to are very fulfilling. I was more than satisfied. I was very happy with my experiences.

Wonju people were friendly people—hotel staff, bus drivers, hikers, taxi drivers…

I usually greet other hikers. But most of them greeted me first—amazing! You can say “Annyonghaseyo”! You can say that regardless of time and age difference.

Should you have some questions, please ask them below or send me a message.

Thanks for reading this. You’re awesome!

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