If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know that our family’s happy place is outdoors. We love hiking. We love nature. We love camping. Since arriving in Korea, we haven’t done nearly as much of these things as we’d hoped – in large part because hiking in Korea is very different, AllTrails (our usual go-to) isn’t very accurate here, and navigating traffic to the national parks can be a serious undertaking. Since Ryan returned though, we decided it was the perfect excuse to get out again and explore Jangtaesan Recreational Forest in Daejeon before the fall colors disappear for good.
Jangtaesan Recreational Forest (장태산자연휴양림)
Hailed for being one of the most dense forests of ginkgo and bald cypress trees, Jangtaesan Recreational Forest is a truly idyllic retreat for families, outdoorsmen, and hikers, alike. People flock to the nearby valleys to “glamp” during the summer, and it’s a natural haven just outside of Daejeon proper.
The fun part of Jangtaesan Recreational Forest is that it has the perfect mix of outdoor activities for all. There are walking paths, forest bathing areas, physical activities facilities – you’ll see a lot of those in Korea – and even dedicated reflexology barefoot walking paths for visitors. We decided to hit some of the dedicated hiking trails because one of the biggest draws here is the fall colors, and I’ll bet you can see why.
Jangtaesan Recreational Forest in Autumn
While beautiful all year long, Jangtaesan’s beauty really sings in fall. We decided to head towards the Sky Tower and Suspension Bridge areas of the forest because, while beautiful whilst you’re in the forest, it’s truly spectacular seeing the area from above. We decided to cross the bridge first, skipped the sky tower, and climbed the hundreds of steps into the wild to view the valley from the left side.
Then, we crossed back and trekked up to the right side, which was significantly less cultivated and more rugged. The right side led to a viewing platform that offered truly breathtaking views. Some people are known to climb down from the platform for unobstructed views, but with the kiddos in tow and Mieke in the Deuter, we decided not to chance it.
Peak Foliage for Jangtaesan Recreational Forest
South Korea likes to produce foliage maps each season because each blossom season is so vivid and unique. Jangtaesan’s foliage peaked right around the early-second week of November, so we were actually there past peak. While still vivid orange in some places, many of the trees had turned brown and the foliage had already fallen by just after the third of November. Still worth it though? Absolutely!
Tips for Visiting Jangtaesan Recreational Forest
Address: For Naver – 대전광역시 서구 장안로 461; For Waze – 461, Jangan-ro, Seo-gu, Daejeon
Admission: Both parking and admission to Jangtaesan Recreational Forest are free. There are a total of 472 parking spaces in varying lots. We chose to park at the top lot below the stairs that lead to the suspension bridge.
Accessibility: While the hikes, naturally, aren’t accessible, the path that leads to Sky Tower, as well as the paths near the cafes and playground are all accessible.
Hours: The park is open daily 24/7, but for those with bookings for accommodation, check-in starts at 15:00, and checkout is at 12:00 PM.
Tips & Tricks: Weekends are extremely crowded all year long. If you hope to visit on a weekend, I highly recommend going early and arriving before 10 AM (it’s a 2ish hour drive from Camp Humphreys, so factor that in). We went the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it wasn’t that busy until around 2 PM when we left.