Silver grass field at Ganwoljae © Park Yo-jin, Ulju County Office

[DAYTRIP] Fall Starts From Ulju First
The surrounding area around the Yeongnam Alps is tinted with shimmer gold from the sea of silver grass and reddish brown of fall foliage. Let’s dive into the charms of fall in Ulju. You can take once-in-a-lifetime photos here no matter where you stand.
Tourists visit Ulju for reasons that are different from when they visit nearby large cities such as Ulsan, Busan, and Daegu. The highlight of Ulju is its mountains. Known as ‘the Alps of Yeongnam,’ a group of tall mountains encircle Ulju. Every season comes with its own attraction but fall offers the best scenery. Just like the Korean expression, ‘danpung nori’(go maple-viewing), fall can be best felt by climbing a mountain and immersing yourself in warm-tone leaves that light up the trees. Besides, the silver grass field of the Yeongnam Alps reaches its fullest in October.

Video © Ulju County Office

[12:00 PM] Yeongnam Alps Complex Welcome Center
The Yeongnam Alps refers to the cluster of nine mountains, with Mt. Gajisan in the center, reaching over 1,000m above sea level. To find more information about this Korean mountain range borrowing its name from the authentic one in Switzerland, we headed to the Yeongnam Alps Complex Welcome Center located near the foot of the mountain range in Sangbuk-myeon, Ulju-gun. The massive complex in fact serves as a culture facility housing a movie theater, indoor/outdoor climbing walls, and the mountain culture hall. The entire six buildings take up 5,000m². The opening ceremony of the Ulju Mountain Film Festival, which marks the 6th year now, is held at the welcome center. The mountains are Ulju’s cultural property and resource. There are two movie theaters, and one of them, dubbed the Alps Cinema, shows the latest releases. It is a special experience to watch a movie there, but you would be tempted to check out the outside. Before hiking, you can look around the mountain theme exhibit hall, imagining in advance the breathtaking view from the Yeongnam Alps.
Address Yeongnam Alps Complex Welcome Center, 103-8 Alps Oncheon 5-gil, Sangbuk-myeon, Ulju-gun, Ulsan-si
Inquiry +82-52-204-2931
Hours  09:00-21:00 Daily (Dec-Feb 09:00-20:00), Closed on Mondays
[15:00 PM] Ganwoljae
First you arrive at Korea Deer Ranch after a 30-minute car ride from the Yeongnam Alps Complex Welcome Center. The deer ranch is the departure point of the easiest hiking route to Ganwoljae Pass, a gateway to the Yeongnam Alps famous for the silver grass field. (If you consider yourself a semi-experienced hiker, you may choose the route that begins at the Yeongnam Alps Complex Welcome Center and passes Hongryu Waterfalls and Ganwoljae Crossroads.) Also known as the ‘Deer Ranch Route,’ the trail stretches about 6km, and has a gentle slope perfect for novice hikers.
Silver grass field seen from above © Ulju County Office

Silver grass field seen from above © Ulju County Office

Silver grass field seen from above © Ulju County Office

About an hour and a half after leaving the deer ranch, you finally arrive at Ganwoljae Pass. Located where the ridges from Mt. Sinbulsan and Mt. Ganwolsan meet, the plain sprawls on about 330,000m². A shimmering silver grass field unfolds at 900m above sea level against the backdrop of the typical blue fall sky. One of the best silver grass habitats in Korea. The scenery makes you utter, ‘It is fall.’ The simple act of staring at the silver grass swaying to the wind helps you unwind. After looking at the silver grass, and walking and taking photos in the golden field, you can fill your stomach with instant cup noodles and roasted eggs available at a rest stop in Ganwoljae. You realize once again that instant cup noodles in the mountains beat any fancy food at a high-end restaurant.
Address Ganwoljae Rest Stop, 614 Ganwolsan-gil, Sangbuk-myeon, Ulju-gun, Ulsan-si
Inquiry +82-52-229-9590
Hours 10:00-16:30 Daily
Parking Available at public parking facility across from Korea Deer Ranch(1468, Baenae-ro, Sangbuk-myeon, Ulju-gun)
Toward the top of Mt. Ganwol © Ulju County Office

Toward the top of Mt. Ganwol © Ulju County Office

[16:30 PM] Mt. Ganwolsan Summit
From Ganwoljae, the distance to the peak of Mt. Sinbulsan is 1.6km, and that of Mt. Ganwolsan 0.8km. The trail is well maintained with deck stairs, but for novice hikers it is not easy to resume walking uphill. Nevertheless, you probably instinctively want to reach the summit. Here you may slightly adjust your route to the peak of Mt. Ganwolsan, which is a tad closer. Twenty minutes or so after departing from Ganwoljae and going through both decked and unpaved parts of the trail, you reach the top of Mt. Ganwolsan. A stone monument indicates that you are at ‘Mt. Ganwolsan, 1,069m above sea level’.  Wait for your turn if you want to take a photo in front of the monument. After taking a breather on the mountain top, it’s time to head back down to Ganwoljae. The silver grass field you see on the way back is still enchanting.

Sunset at silver grass field © Park Yo-jin, Ulju County Office

[20:00 PM] Japanese Restaurant Bom Kyung
Enjoy a late dinner at Japanese restaurant Bom Kyung where you have made a reservation the day before. Sometimes in a travel destination, you need to make a safe choice that guarantees both flavor and efficiency. Especially on a day when you feel exhausted. Famous as a meeting venue among parents of soon-to-be brides and grooms, Bom Kyung offers private rooms of various sizes, accommodating up to 18 guests. The quality of food and the atmosphere are checked off the list. Located on the 24th floor of LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN, the view from the restaurant is stunning. Have a relaxing time while tasting assorted sashimi and seafood dishes and admiring the nightscape of downtown Ulsan and the Onsan Industrial Complex in the far back.
Address 24F, LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN, 282 Samsan-ro, Nam-gu, Ulsan-si
Inquiry +82-52-269-8634~5
Hours Lunch 11:30-15:00(last order 14:00), Dinner 17:00-21:00(last order 20:00)
Japanese restaurant Bom Kyung

Japanese restaurant Bom Kyung

Japanese restaurant Bom Kyung

Where to Stay in Ulju: LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN
LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN is a 50-minute drive from Korea Deer Ranch. LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN is located in the new City Center in Ulsan where tourism and industries coexist. The hotel has 200 rooms and suites overlooking Taehwagang River crossing the city and the Onsan Industrial Complex, one of the 12 scenic spots in Ulsan. It also has various facilities such as a fitness center, swimming pool, and a golf range. Among them, SPA EIR is a premium spa inspired by Scandinavian sensibilities, and a perfect place to unwind after a day of hiking. The hotel provides you with a comfortable bedding so that you can fully recharge yourself overnight.
Address LOTTE HOTEL ULSAN, 282 Samsan-ro, Nam-gu, Ulsan-si
Inquiry +82-52-960-1000


[10:00 AM] Seoknamsa Temple and Mt. Gajisan
With a 1,241m height, Mt. Gajisan is the tallest mountain in the Yeongnam Alps, and one of the top 100 mountains of Korea according to Korea Forest Service. The four seasons of Mt. Gajisan is considered one of the 12 beautiful scenes of Ulsan, and its fall foliage is to die for. You cannot miss out on Mt. Gajisan if you’re visiting Ulju. Seoknamsa Temple is the starting point of the trail to hike up to Mt. Gajisan. There’s a route that departs from Seoknamsa Temple, passes the main ridge of Mt. Gajisan, and returns to the temple located at the foot of the mountain. The forest trail toward Seoknamsa Temple is full of fall scents. If you find the trail too challenging for yourself, spend time looking around the Seoknamsa Temple and the nearby valley, relax, and enjoy the warm sun.
Mt. Gaji, colored in foliage © Kim Jeong-dol, Ulju County Office

Mt. Gaji, colored in foliage © Kim Jeong-dol, Ulju County Office

The Seoknamsa route starts on a gentle slope and becomes increasingly difficult. However, the colors of fall foliage turning darker as you go closer to the peak keep your feet moving. Try to remember as many scenes as possible on the way up, rather than passing by them. The view of surrounding mountain peaks and colorful trees from the Gajisan mountain top is beyond description. There is a reason people choose to go up mountains for ‘maple viewing’ when all the streets are lined with trees turning red. From the top, and on the way down, you can thoroughly devote your time to absorbing the unforgettable fall foliage. It’s not a scenery you encounter any time.
Address Seoknamsa Temple, 557, Seoknam-ro, Sangbuk-myeon, Ulju-gun, Ulsan-si
Inquiry +82-52-264-8900
Admission Seoknamsa Temple 2,000 won per adult
October 2021 Editor:Kim Hyewon
Cooperation: Ulju County Office

Where to stay?

  • 트위터로 공유
  • 페이스북으로 공유
  • 핀터레스트로 공유
  • 링크URL 공유