This hike takes you up the previously closed Donnaeko Trail
through lush green forest to the summit of Halla San. The views are incredible at the top even though the trail does not quite reach the summit due to environmental closures. You end the hike by heading down the Yeongsil Trail
. It is probably best to do this as a point-to-point hike with a shuttle.
Bring cash for the rest stop a few hundred meters from the junction. They sell hot ramen, drinks, and snacks. It was a great treat.
Wear durable shoes with ankle support for this hike. The trail up features many boulders and roots.
Parking for Donnaeko Trail
is at the Mourning Gallery on the south side of the mountain, off route 1115. There is also a public city bus 610-1 running from Seogwipo city bus that will stop at the Mourning Gallery six times daily. Otherwise, a taxi ride is only 13,000 W from Seogwipo.
From here, the hike uphill begins immediately through a path of dirt and grass. It transitions swiftly into a thick and peaceful forest, canopied by greenery as far as the eye can see. The trail is not at all built up, a rare sight for a Korean hike. It traverses many roots and boulder fields, and there is not a lot traffic. Despite the rugged nature of this trail, it is relatively well marked. Animals can be seen along the route such as deer and multiple species of birds.
About 3.5 miles after the start of the trail,you'll encounter the Pyeonggwe Shelter. After that, Nulbende Observatory offers stunning views of Seogwipo and the offshore islands if fog and mist don't obscure it. After 5 miles, you'll reach South Wall Fork, which according to the park is where Donnaeko Trail
ends. This is where the trail truly opens up out of the woods and the rocky, boulder-filled top of the mountain exposes you to breathtaking scenery.
You'll then transition to the Yeongsil Trail
which utilizes ropes, stairs, and rails, to guide you on a much easier hike back down the mountain. From on top, you'll see Nambyeok Watershed Observatory and a bit farther on is Banga Oreum Observatory where you can see the summit. Another mile leads to Witsae Oreum junction. Larger crowds will certainly be present at this point.
Turn left to follow the rest of Yeongsil Trail
which offers a much more built up and heavily trafficked experience. There are stairs and rails set up, which make for an enjoyable and relaxing hike down. The views of the jagged peaks remain incredible all the way down.
You'll pass the Wise Shelter which offers drinks and snacks as well as a nice resting area. There is a junction with the Eorimok Trail at this point as well. From here, continue your descent down the Yeongsil Trail
where it will eventually become paved, and there will be a restroom. Once you reach the ticketing area, there is public transportation available and taxis that will take you back to your parking space.
Hanllasan was isolated from the mainland for a long time, and its species were able to become unique and different from mainland species. The elevation of the mountain causes various plant species to live there. The mountain became a habitat for plants that thrive in low and high elevations. Fifty or more unique species live in Jeju Island, especially in high elevation area in Hallasan. There are a total of 160 bird species that use Hallasan as a habitat. Nineteen species are considered a natural monument and are protected by the government. Ravens are commonly seen on the trail.
Hallasan is a massive shield volcano which forms the bulk of Jeju Island and is often taken as representing the island itself. There is a local saying that "Jeju Island is Hallasan, and Hallasan is Jeju." The mountain can indeed be seen from all places on the island, but its peak is often covered in clouds.