Since we were staying in Seogwipo to the South and wanted to access the entire island, we rented a car for the trip.
Getting to Hallasan was easy. Took 1131 all the way up and parked relatively near Donnaeko Road in a little parking area that featured a toilet.
The Donnaeko trail is OPEN!
It begins in the South East.
We trekked up in short sleeves and hiking sandals.
The sandals were a bit of a mistake because this trail immediately dives into a deeply wooded area. The trail is not smoothed out at all, quite unlike most commercialized Korean hikes. It's full of boulder fields and roots.
It was incredibly quiet and tranquil. We saw one other soul climbing down, but other than that we had the entire trail to ourselves.
It was full of beautiful flora and greenery, shrouded in a wooded canopy.
When the trail finally opened up into the mountaintop, the views were beyond stunning.
Unfortunately, the summit from this trail is closed off a few hundred meters South for "environmental reasons." At this area we ran into quite a few more people, and the trail transformed into the usual built up Korean hiking scene- railings, stairs, the whole nine.
We turned left at the crest to take the Yeongsil trail back down. This was a much more heavily trafficked trail than the one we took up, and it was full of built in stairs and rails. However, due to the season it was still a fairly uncrowded hike.
This trail was much more open and certainly pleasurable to head down on. The stairs made it easy on the knees and you would not need hiking boots for this one.
Eventually this trail took into the woods as well and came out at a ticket booth and bus stop. Plenty of public trans was available to get you where you needed to go.
We took a cab back to our parking space, and just like that, our hike was over. It was a pleasurable 10 miles total with stunning views and it is an absolute must-do on Jeju island.
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