Would you believe me if I told you that today marks seven months of living in South Korea? Seven whole months on a peninsula thousands of miles from home. Our time here thus far has been the best of times and the worst of times, but we sat down and remembered this weekend how very thankful we are that we dove straight into exploring this country before ROM began again in earnest. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to do more family adventures soon, but for now, we’re doing our best to stay sane whilst keeping it simple. The kids and I ventured to Yeonginsan Natural Forest in Asan this past weekend, marking our first of (hopefully) many hikes this year!
Yeonginsan Natural Forest in Asan
Honestly, I can’t believe it took us so long to find Yeonginsan since arriving in Korea! At just 35 minutes from Camp Humphreys, Yeonginsan Natural Forest is a haven of mountainous adventure activity that you won’t often see in an area known for its flatlands. We haven’t hiked in a good while, so I checked out my trusty AllTrails app and found Sangtubong, a solid two-mile hike at Yeonginsan Natural Forest.
The neat thing about Yeonginsan is that it’s kind of one of those “pick your own adventure” sort of places. There are two parking lots at the base of the mountain area where you can begin either a steep trek up through the trees, or you can choose a beautiful paved path along the road. Or, you can do what we did and head up to the paid parking lots near the arboretum and pay to get in to hike from there. Since I had my sights on Sangtubong, that’s what we opted for.
What to Do at Yeonginsan Natural Forest
If you’ve never seen South Korea in the winter, allow me to paint a very general, bleak picture. For the most part, South Korea is brown, cloudy, and dry with an absolutely abysmal AQI through the winter months. In fact, the AQI was bad – but better than most days – at just 118 when we made our way up to the mountain area. During the summer months though? I’d have to hazard a guess that it’s absolutely stunning, and there is so much to do at Yeonginsan Natural Forest.
Obviously, there is the aforementioned hiking, but the area also has a swimming pool, obstacle course, zipline, rental cabins (shaped like mushrooms…what?), playground, badminton court, and plenty of beautiful walking paths. Since we chose to hike and since Korea is still in the throes of Covid chaos, we only saw a sliver of the area, but it was beautiful – even in the winter.
Yeonginsan Natural Forest Cost
Since we went up to the paid parking lot, we paid a grand total of W5,000 to get in. While the different activities cost additional during the summer, hiking is free (beyond the parking fee), and it’s always a hit. One of my favorite things about hiking in Korea is that it’s set up to be a true day activity. There are platforms to eat wherever you go, there are toilets along the way, and many of the trails are really well maintained. Yeonginsan Natural Forest is no exception in that.
Also, it must be said that, like many places in South Korea, it’s set up for every instagram-worthy photo you could ever want. We only checked two miles off our hiking bucket list for 2022, but I’m excited to venture back there this year and, hopefully, tackle a beautiful sunrise adventure, too!