Korea, life in korea, nature, outdoors, South Korea

Jirisan National Park – A Surprise Winter Wonderland

Jirisan National Park

Right at the end of November we planned a trip to Jirisan National Park. We had been before, doing a small hike to Ssangyesa Temple, but this time we went to a different part of the Park, to Nogodan Peak. My co-teacher had recommended it as an easy, yet pretty walk. One that was easy enough for her daughter to tag along too, without (too much) complaining.
We had hoped that there would still be some pretty, colourful leaves around (the “hike” is popular for this), but understood that it might be a little too late in the season and therefore may be greeted with bare trees and a dull landscape. Well boy were we surprised, and in for a treat!

Dangerous Roads

We arrived at the park entrance, only to be turned around, due to icy roads and bad conditions up ahead. We waited on the side of the road for Hyun Ju. As it turns out, they were only letting four wheel drive cars in – she totally misunderstood that one and reassured the guards that her car did in fact have four wheels and that we were aware of the bad road conditions (we have all had a good chuckle over this since! Can you imagine our little blue Matiz being a four-wheel drive haha).

Snow Much Fun

I was getting giddy with excitement at the odd patches of ice and snow on the side of the winding mountain road. We parked in a lot where a sign board had been placed to warn of snow on the road ahead. It was a 20 minute walk up to the actual car park, and entrance to the trail for Nogodan Peak. We quickly added an extra layer of clothing after feeling the wind race around us.

Walking up the road, we giggled profusely as we slipped around on the melted snow. We wondered how on earth we were going to manage this walk up! It got a little better, with much thicker snow and by now my excitement was all there! Clapping hands and stomping my feet I couldn’t contain it. Hailing from Durban, South Africa, snow is still a super exciting and novel thing, especially when its real snow and a SURPRISE!!!  So commenced the snowball fights (or more like snowballs to the bum from HaYeon) and the kids gloves were soaked before we even got to the trail head!

Jirisan National Park, winter, South Korea
Jirisan National Park, winter, South Korea

Jirisan National Park, winter, South KoreaJirisan National Park, winter, South KoreaWinter Wonderland

The actual walk was so beautiful. It wound along a little road that was completely covered in soft, fluffy, fresh white snow! I couldn’t stop ooohing and aaahing and saying how beautiful and magical and wonderful it all was! Despite the snow, we were blessed with fairly “warm” weather and beautiful blue skies. The walk to the shelter just before the peak took us a little longer than expected (due to many picture stops and the kids building snowmen at every opportunity). We were rewarded with great views and some wonderful soft white snowy areas to make some snow angels. We sat down to have our little picnic of peanuts and chocopies. Some very kind men next to us gave us one of their cup noodles to share! We love experiencing this Korean kindness!

Jirisan National Park, winter, South Korea
Jirisan National Park, winter, South Korea

Jirisan National Park, winter, South Korea

Jirisan National Park, winter, South Korea

We didn’t make it to the actual peak after having our picnic – the children were cold and tired. Mark and I also wanted to get going at a reasonable time. A 3 hour trip back home on a Sunday evening isn’t the best. In saying that, it is still an easy hike with great views and a great trail. We walked a total of 9,5kms (including the extra walk from the bottom car park) and it took us 4 hours (all that photo taking and snow frolicking). The entrance to the park was W3000 per person. We had such an enjoyable day, and we would highly recommend it to anyone! It was really great to see another part of Jirisan and experience it in a completely opposite season too!

Jirisan National Park, winter, South Korea

0 thoughts on “Jirisan National Park – A Surprise Winter Wonderland”

  1. What a wonderful winter surprise in such a beautiful national park! We love Jirisan, but now you've got me thinking about a trip in the snow because we've never been. The kids look like they had a lot of fun, especially the big one with a beard!

  2. Oh my! Just looking at your photos made me feel cold. Brrr… To hike 9.5 km in the snow would take me 10 hours as I'll have to do my penguin walk to protect myself from slipping. I would love to visit Jirisan someday too ~ my husband and son were there last summer for two nights.

  3. What wonderful photos! It's too bad you guys weren't able to go in (the story about the four-wheeler car is quite funny). I can see how unhappy your partner is about not being able to go in. 😛 I really like the photos of the little girl playing around. She looks like such a fun character to be around. Cute post! 🙂

  4. 9.5 km is a very good hike! I'm surprised you guys managed it with the kids and the snow. I love all the pictures you got, too! I need to check out Jirisan in the spring I think.

  5. I feel like Korean kindness and hikes go hand-in-hand! I can't believe that people still hike during the dead of winter. I'm from Boston where it's cold 10 months of the year and the snow never relents, so I hate being outside in winter as its associated to having to shovel snow and walk around in the cold doing grunt work for hours. But if I had that little girl around to hang out with, I think I might be a happier camper!

  6. Well at least you got a lovely view, with snow and all to boot! It's pretty cool hearing from my foreign friends that have never seen snow what they think of it. The consensus is that it's beautiful and magical and so on. I'm from Chicago so I beg to differ haha. P.S. The kids in the pics are adorable and seems like they had a blast!

  7. Yeah It was quite a distance but I wouldnt really classify it as a hike… it was a lovely walk-made exciting by the snow! Still, I was surprised we ended up going that far!

  8. Totally! Love the Korean kindness. It surprises me too that people hike in the snow but I do feel like this snow fall was a bit early and a surprise for everyone!

  9. Hahah I can totally understand people getting sick of the snow – and it starts to looks so messy and sludgy when it starts melting! But fun was indeed had by all the kids (us big ones too)

  10. Thank you for documenting your wonderful trip! Everything seemed perfect and I think going with a family was the best idea! There's something about children and snow that go well together! Even though you didn't make it to the top, I think you did a fantastic job hiking that far! I couldn't do it. Game recognise game!

  11. Wow, it really does look like a winter wonderland! I was hiking in Jirisan in early November and it is such a beautiful national park. I did not realise that it gets this snowy, though! Lovely pics!

  12. What a winter Wonderland, as I'm soaking in warm rays of Taiwanese winter. I have only been to Jirisan in the fall and not surprised that you'd need a 4 wheel drive since it is pretty steep. 9.5 km covered with kids? Nice job!

  13. This looks like an epic winter hike! Living in Busan means we get no snow at all (okay, 5 second flurries) so I'm living vicariously through these photos. I actually would of never considered hiking in Jirisan during the winter due to its difficult (so I've been told) so will keep this in mind if the boyfriend is ever in for a winter challenge!

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