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The best autumn views in JejuJoin Koreans in their centuries-old celebration of this fleeting season with some Jeju specialties
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승인 2015.09.17  09:33:38
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Jeju's autumn views are the most stunning of all the seasons. Photo courtesy JTO

Autumn not only brings cool relief from a hot summer but also transforms the landscape with its comely vistas.

As the days shorten and the temperatures fall, trees go into a form of hibernation as less light means lower production of starches and sugars.

Cork-like cell growths seal off the leaves from their stems, and less of the green pigment, chlorophyll, is produced, with the production of others shooting up.

As other pigments shine through, the greens fade and deciduous tree leaves glow with yellows, oranges and reds.

The change happens when temperatures dip to 8 degrees Celsius, and mountainous Gangwon-do is thus the first to experience it, before the migration southward and seaward.

Looking for something to do in Autumn?

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10 of Jeju's best hiking Oreum

Great spots for camping and glamping

On Jeju, the last province to experience the change, deciduous broadleaf trees such as Sargent’s cherry, Japanese Rowan, snowbell, and Korean and Japanese maple are typically located at higher altitudes (900 to 1,400 meters) making the views all the more spectacular.

Eventually, the leaves are severed, and woodland floors sparkle with their sacrifice. Before this, Koreans love to engage in the popular pastime of “danpungnori,” or leaf viewing.

Danpungnori has a long pedigree, with records confirming that lavish celebrations were held as far back as the Goryeo era (918-1392) on “Junggujeol,” the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, which is Oct. 21 this year.

The day was also a Joseon (1392-1910) national holiday and literati would ascend mountainsides to imbibe chrysanthemum liquor, gorge chrysanthemum pancakes and wax lyrical about the autumnal views.

Jeju's Eulalia grass sways in the breeze. Photo courtesy JTO

High grass best for fall

Jeju's Eulalia grass. Photo courtesy JTO

There are other autumnal views to wax lyrical about, this time at ground or, at least, oreum level.

Remember those grass-topped, pillow-like oreum in the distance? Well, in fall they glow golden and sway in the cool breeze thanks to Miscanthus sinensis, or Eulalia grass. In many ways, it is the definitive image of a Jeju autumn.

This herbaceous perennial grass, growing as high as 4 meters, is out of sight most of the year, forming dense underground clumps or rhizome.

In autumn, the rhizome shoot up for a few short weeks like golden ears of wheat, before the stems wilt and turn beige in anticipation of the next growing season.

In many ways, this is Jeju’s true autumn sport, allowing walkers to bathe in the fall breeze as the silver grasses sway atop those most ubiquitous of Jeju features, the oreum.

Notes : The Korea Meteorological Agency states that optimal autumn viewing is normally in mid to late-October with Jeju being latest to see fall colors.

JBT: Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal
SBT: Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal

*Scroll to the bottom of the page for a map of all the sites.

Oreum, or volcanic cones, are symbolic of a Jeju autumn. Photo courtesy JTO

Saebyeol Oreum and Idalbong
1529, Pyeonghwa-ro, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si
Paths: Saebyeol Oreum - Idalbong: 5.9km / 3hrs

Before the Jeju Fire Festival is held here in spring, this oreum becomes a sea of Eulalia in autumn making it a favorite site for fall photographers. The oreum’s base to crest flourishes and stunning views are to be had of the “jungsangan,” Jeju’s mid-mountain zone.

From JBT: #750-1 or #750-3
to Hwajeon village (44mins) ->
Walk back north 1km (15mins)
From SBT: #961 to Donggwang 6-geori
(31mins) -> #750-1, 750-2, 750-3
or 750-4 to Hwajeon village (6mins)

For the luck few, paragliding provides the best views of Jeju autumn. Photo courtesy JTO

Jeongmul Oreum
Walk 100 meters east of 25 Geumakdong 2-gil, Hallim-eup, Jeju-si
Paths: 1.5km / 40mins

This out-of-the-way oreum provides a more colorful show than Saebyeol, boasting silvers, greens, yellows and browns. Being near Isidore Farm, the surrounding lands are populated by horses and cattle and a path allows walkers to skirt the oblique crater with magnificent views to Mt. Hallasan.

From JBT: #780 to Donggwang 6-geori
(37mins) -> #961 to Isidol Hadanji (7mins) ->
Walk east 1.4km (20mins)
From SBT: #961 to Isidol Hadanji (38mins) ->
Walk east 1.4km (20mins)

Silver grasses front the view to Mt. Hallasan in the background. Photo courtesy JTO

Gabmajang Path
20, Gasi-ro 565beon-gil, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si
Paths: 20km / 4 or 7hrs

The upland plains of Gasi-ri are famed as horse pastures and this walking trail passes the “Noksanjang,” centuries-old horse lands. This is a landscape of numerous oreum such as Ddarabi, Beonneol, and Keunsaseumi and in autumn they are home to broad sweeps of Eulalia.

From JBT: #720-1 to Gasi-ri Bus Stop
Hacha (1hr14mins)
From SBT: #910 to Gasi-ri Bus Stop
Hacha (1hr17mins)

Yeongsil Valley Mt. Hallasan Course
226, Yeongsil-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Contact 064-747-9950
Final entry
Sept-Oct: 2pm
Nov-Feb: 12pm

Paths: Yeongsil to Witse Oreum: 6.1km / 3hrs
Yeongsil-Witse Oreum-Nambyeok Bungijeom) 8.2km / 4hrs

Yeongsil is the shortest trekking course to the top of Mt. Hallasan and Witse Oreum, and it is understandably also one of the best places to get an eyeful of Jeju’s autumnal wonders in glorious reds, oranges and yellows.

From JBT:
#740 to Yeongsil Entrance (58mins)
From SBT: #702 to Jungmun Elementary
School (12mins) -> #740 to Yeongsil
Entrance (20mins)

The views high up on Mt. Hallasan show the bright colors associated with fall. Photo courtesy JTO

Jonjaam Forest Path
226, Yeongsil-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Hours No restrictions
Jonjaam Forest Path: 3km / 1.5hrs
Jonjaam to Yeongsil Office: 7.8km / 3hrs

Away from the crowds in this tranquil corner, visitors can feel the fresh autumn breeze descend from Mt. Hallasan. The mountain’s famed deer might wander past to add to the woodland scenes.

From JBT:
#740 to Yeongsil Entrance (58mins)
From SBT: #702 to Jungmun Elementary
School (12mins) ->
#740 to Yeongsil Entrance (20mins)

Yongjingak Valley Mt. Hallasan Course
588, Sallokbuk-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Contact 064-756-9950

Final entry
Sept.-Oct.: 12:30pm
November-February: 12pm
Course 8.7km / 6hrs

As soon as you reach Samgakbong Peak, the glories of Sobaengnokdam crater, Baengnokdam Crater and Yongjingak Valley come into view and otherworldly rock formations poke through the autumnal canopy, making this a tough but rewarding trek.

From JBT: #502 to Jeju National University
Entrance (24mins) - > #43 to Gwaneumsa
Deungsan-ro (11mins)
From SBT: #780 to Sancheondan
(1hr1mins) - > #43, #77 to Gwaneumsa
Deungsan-ro (9mins)

The bright colors brought into relief by Mt. Hallasan's rock. Photo courtesy JTO

Handae Oreum
1187, 1100-ro, Seogwipo-si
Contact 064-728-3123
Hours not restricted

Paths: 6km (one way)

At over 900 meters, Handae Oreum is off the beaten track. Dominated by deciduous broadleaf trees and with thick undergrowth, it is somewhat hidden compared to most other Hallasan courses. If you wait until November, this area is also good for Eulalia grass viewing.

From JBT:
#740 to Yeongsil Entrance (58mins) - >
Walk 700 meters north (10mins)
From SBT:
#702 to Jungmun Elementary School
(12mins) -> #740 to Yeongsil Entrance
(20mins) - > Walk 700 meters north

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