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
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
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
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
From SBT: #910 to Gasi-ri Bus Stop
Yeongsil Valley Mt. Hallasan Course
226, Yeongsil-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
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.
#740 to Yeongsil Entrance (58mins)
From SBT: #702 to Jungmun Elementary
School (12mins) -> #740 to Yeongsil
The views high up on Mt. Hallasan show the bright colors associated with fall. Photo courtesy JTO
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
From SBT: #780 to Sancheondan
(1hr1mins) - > #43, #77 to Gwaneumsa
The bright colors brought into relief by Mt. Hallasan's rock. Photo courtesy JTO
1187, 1100-ro, Seogwipo-si
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.
#740 to Yeongsil Entrance (58mins) - >
Walk 700 meters north (10mins)
#702 to Jungmun Elementary School
(12mins) -> #740 to Yeongsil Entrance
(20mins) - > Walk 700 meters north
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