Autumn Bucket List Daedunsan South Korea

Daedunsan Mountain & the Cloud Bridge: A South Korea Fall Colors Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Daedunsan Mountain, with its suspension Cloud Bridge, spine-tingling stairway, cable car and brilliant South Korea fall colors!

In a country of mountains, Daedunsan Mountain stands out for its famous suspension Cloud Bridge and its colorful contributions to the South Korea fall.

And what a feat, for South Korea is full of mountains! Early European visitors to the Korean Peninsula are said to have likened the region to “a sea in a heavy gale,” because of the numerous mountain ranges snaking up and down the entire peninsula. About 70% of South Korea’s land is mountainous, meaning no matter your position in the country, the mountains won’t be far away. Autumn may well be the perfect time to go hiking South Korea’s mountains. But the perhaps the best mountain to enjoy the South Korea fall? We’d venture to say Daedunsun Mountain. 

Whether you’re planning on visiting for the South Korea fall colors or for another season, here’s our Ultimate Guide to visiting Daedunsan Mountain and the Cloud Bridge!


This guide includes the following sections:

  1. Daedunsan Mountain: The Highlights
  2. Autumn Weekend Trips in Korea
  3. Daejon to Daedunsan
  4. To Hike Daedunsan or Take the Cable Car?
  5. The Cloud Bridge: Daedunsan’s Famed Suspension Bridge
  6. Daedunsan Stairway
  7. Daedunsan: A Spectacular South Korea Fall Display
  8. How to Get to Daedunsan
  9. What to Bring to Daedunsan in Autumn

 


 Daedunsan Cloud Bridge, Autumn in Korea

Daedunsan Mountain: The Highlights

Named one of our top Romantic Spots to Enjoy Autumn in KoreaDaedunsan Mountain is renowned throughout Korea, not just for its spectacular granite cliffs, but also for its suspension bridge known as the Cloud Bridge (Geumgang Gureumdari), its spine-tingling stairway, and its cable car. Daedunsan Mountain is also justly renowned for its brilliant South Korea fall colors at the end of October and the beginning of November. 

 


Looking for more spectacular South Korea fall photographs?

 Check out 30 Photos That Prove the South Korea Autumn Just Won at Life!


 

Autumn Weekend Trips in Korea  

We’ve listed some of the Top Autumn Travel Destinations around the world, but we easily could’ve filled half the list with some of the South Korea fall gems.

 

South Korea’s compact size and extensive system of public transportation makes it super easy to bask in the glory of the South Korea fall during weekend trips. Coming from the summer beach paradise of Jeju Island, we sought a mainland getaway to fully appreciate the South Korea fall colors. We combined our weekend Daedunsan Mountain and Cloud Bridge visit with a one-day visit to Seoul, where we visited the palace of Changdeokgung and its famed Secret Garden to enjoy its South Korea fall colors.

Daedunsan Mountain is located partway between the cities of Daejeon and Jeonju, both of which are easily reachable from Seoul. For our trip, we spent the night in Daejeon, which we reached after a two-hour train ride.

Daedunsan Mountain, South Korea Autumn Leaves

Daejeon to Daedunsan

Waking up early the next morning, we caught bus #34 at 6:45 am from Daejeon’s Seobu Bus TerminalDaedunsan Mountain is about a 45 minute to 1 hour ride from the terminal, at the end of the bus route. You can see Daedunsan Mountain from where you get off the bus, and it’s a 15-20 minute walk down the road to the park at the base of the mountain.

Now don’t be alarmed if your bus ride is shrouded in mist! For practically our entire bus ride, we could hardly see anything at all due to incredibly thick mist cloaking the valleys and hilltops. To add to my unease, from this (rather limited) vantage point it seemed that most of the trees we passed were already bare of leaves! Oh no, I said to myself, are we too late?

Luckily, our fortunes turned around when we got off the bus. It was definitely clearer up there, and yes! The hillsides were indeed tinted with autumn’s pallet of yellows, oranges, and reds. It looked like, at the first weekend of November, we weren’t too late to enjoy the mountain and its Cloud Bridge after all!


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To Hike Daedunsan or Take the Cable Car?

If you hike up Daedunsan Mountain, it’s only about a 2.1 km hike one way, but it’s very steep. Don’t let the short distance deceive you! It’s a quite strenuous walk up and down, taking 4-5 hours total to go up and down the mountain, including your walks on the Cloud Bridge and exposed stairway.

Daedunsan Mountain Cable Car, South Korea autumn

There’s also a cable car you can take if you choose to bypass the hike. A one-way ticket costs 6,000 won each, while a round-trip ticket costs 9,000 won each. After a 5-minute cable car ride, you disembark at the upper station, which has a small café and restrooms. Then it’s a short climb up some steep stairs, where you reach the famed suspension bridge known as the Cloud Bridge.

We decided to take the cable car up to save time (we were on a tight schedule). Our reasoning was to try and beat the crowds on the Cloud Bridge and the stairway, because they can get rather crowded later in the day, especially during the South Korea fall season. After spending a good amount of time at the top of the mountain, we realized we didn’t have enough time to hike back and ended up taking the cable car down as well.

We had read that the line for the cable car can be an hour’s wait at busy times, but luckily for us that was not the case. Score one for early mornings! 

The Cloud Bridge: Daedunsan’s Famed Suspension Bridge

The Cloud Bridge (Geumgang Gureumdari), a 50-meter-long (164 feet) suspension bridge, stands 81 meters (243 feet) high over a narrow canyon between two rock formations.


Daedunsan Mountain, Cloud Bridge in South Korea fall
The South Korea fall colors transform the view from the Cloud Bridge into a miraculous burst of vibrant oranges and yellows. And even lovelier, after staying on the bridge for awhile (allowing everyone else to pass us of course, as everyone else seemed to want to get off the bridge as soon as possible!), the sky continually cleared up to reveal a lovely blue sky.

Daedunsan Mountain Cloud Bridge in South Korea autumn
We didn’t find the Cloud Bridge too scary, but listening to the screams and squeals of adult hikers as they passed over the suspension bridge was pretty entertaining! If you’re prone to vertigo or fear of heights, don’t look down! 

Daedunsan Stairway

Saying farewell to the suspension bridge, the path up Daedunsan Mountain climbs steeply past a couple restaurants. Yes, there are restaurants on the mountain (this is Korea, after all)! These rough-and-tumble establishments are quite impressively built right into the face of the cliffs. All supplies must be sent up via a small tramway. You can try some local delicacies, including the intriguing fried ginseng. There are also restrooms here.

Daedunsan Mountain Staircase

The exposed stairway is a short distance from the restaurants. We had to wait for 10 minutes before embarking on the stairs. The wait was entertaining, though, as we could hear more screams and macho-yelling from hikers on the stairway.

Daedunsan Mountain Stairway in South Korea fall
Walking up the stairway was exhilaratingly fun. I gave some ahjummas hiking behind us quite a laugh when I kept turning around to take pictures. I was walking backwards for a good portion of the stairs, and I think they were really scared for my safety!


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The sky had cleared up beautifully by the time we got to the top of the stairs, and we enjoyed the long vistas and autumn colors of Daedunsan Mountain.

Daedunsan Mountain, Green to Yellow trees

Daedunsan: A Spectacular South Korea Fall Display

The vibrant South Korea fall colors cover Daedunsan Mountain. Bold splatters of color coat the top of the mountain—but the lower slopes of the mountain are just as stunning! We enjoyed watching the the stunning South Korea fall colors pass by below us as we took the cable car down the mountain. The autumn colors on Daedunsan’s lower slopes were so vivid that we just had to hang around for a while after we got to the bottom. The bright sunshine made the trees glow in yellows, oranges, and reds. Coming from Los Angeles, I’d never seen such vivid fall colors until coming to Korea. 

Daedunsan Mountain Provincial Park, South Korea autumn

We could have spent an hour or more enjoying the scene at Daedunsan Mountain, but unfortunately we had to catch that bus to Daejeon! Our KTX train to Seoul left at 3:30, and we didn’t want to miss it. The walk back to the bus stop revealed how much busier the mountain had gotten over the hours. In the morning, there were no cars, and only one other man walking from the bus stop to the base of the mountain. Now, parked cars on both sides of the road stretched at least half a mile towards the bus stop. The whole mountain area was so busy! South Korea fall destinations are very popular (for good reason), so be sure to visit them early to beat the crowds.

Daedunsan Park, Couples Travel for Autumn in Korea

With its robust expression of color, Daedunsan Mountain stands firmly at the top of our list of our South Korea fall experiences. The mountain met our every expectation, from the suspension Cloud Bridge to the stairway to the autumn hues! The fact that Daedunsan has a cable car is a huge plus for travelers with limited time, as the cable car eliminates the need to spend hours climbing up and down. And as if the destination needs any more reasons to stand out, the park at the base of the mountain is equally spectacular in its strong show of color. For any South Korea fall visit, a trip to Daedunsan should be a top priority—but likely for any other time of the year, as well: blooming spring, lush summer, or white winter!

How to Get to Daedunsan

 


From Daejeon: Take bus # 34 from Daejeon Seobu Intercity Bus Terminal (대전서부시외버스터미널). 

  • The bus leaves every 45 minutes, starting at 6:00 AM, 6:45, 7:30, 8:15, 9:00, 9:45, 10:30, 11:15, 12:05, 12:55, 13:50, 14:45, 15:35, 16:20, 17:05, 17:45, 18:30, 19:15, 20:00, 20:40, 21:20, and 22:00.
  • You don’t need to go into the terminal to catch the bus. Go to either the stop at the front or the back of the terminal, where the regular city buses stop, to catch the bus. It’s a green bus.
  • It’s about an hour’s ride to Daedunsan 대둔산, which is the last stop of the route. Get off the bus and walk down the hill toward the mountain. It is about a 20 minute walk from this bus stop to the cable car station.
  • The bus leaves from Daedunsan to Daejeon (대전) every 45-50 minutes at 6:00 AM, 6:35, 7:15, 7:50, 8:40, 9:30, 10:15, 11:00, 11:45, 12:30, 13:20, 14:10, 15:05, 16:00, 16:50, 17:35, 18:20, 19:05, 19:50, 20:35, 21:20, and 22:00. Make sure you note the times that the bus returns to Daejeon! Don’t forget to add an extra 20 minutes’ walk back to where to pick up the bus from the bottom cable car station.

From Jeonju: From Jeonju Intercity Bus Terminal(전주시외버스공용터미널), take an intercity bus to Daedunsan. It leaves at 06:40, 09:00, 09:40, 14:20, and 15:50. 

What to Bring to Daedunsan in Autumn

  • It can get quite cold and windy up on the mountain in autumn, so dress accordingly.
  • A hat, jacket, and scarf will all help with the cold and wind.
  • You can bring snacks and water if you want, but there are a few convenience stores located near the bottom cable car station if you want to buy them there. There are also several restaurants along the road to the cable car station, as well.

 

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Daedunsan Mountain, with its suspension Cloud Bridge, spine-tingling stairway, cable car and brilliant South Korea fall colors! The Ultimate Guide to Daedunsan Mountain, with its suspension Cloud Bridge, spine-tingling stairway, cable car and brilliant South Korea fall colors!

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Are you scared of heights? Would the Cloud Bridge ruffle your feathers?

Let us know in a comment below!

 

 

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Jessica The Dining Traveler
    December 7, 2016 at 3:14 am

    This looks amazing. When I lived in Seoul, I went hiking on the weekends, wish I would’ve known about this!

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 7, 2016 at 8:22 am

      I know, right?! We didn’t know about it last year, but are so glad we were able to make it this year!

  • Reply
    Candace and Spencer
    December 7, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Oh wow guys thanks for the inspiration guys! Visiting in Autumn and seeing all this beauty up close and personal, is definitely something we’ve got to do. The hikes look incredible too I’d so be up for it, however my husband Spence may struggle with the heights, but that’s OK I’ll just leave him at the bottom 😉
    Happy Travels, love the Austins (www.360honeymoon.com)

  • Reply
    Anna
    December 7, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Oooh that Cloud Bridge makes my hands a bit sweaty just by looking at these photos! Daedunsan Mountain looks like a great destination. I’ve only been to Seoul so it’s good to know what I need to check out next time I’m in Korea!

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 10, 2016 at 12:31 am

      Weekend trips are so convenient to take from Seoul as well! And many of them aren’t this high up so you won’t have to worry if you have a fear of heights!

  • Reply
    Gareth
    December 8, 2016 at 6:08 am

    While I have never actually been to Daedunsan, fall is undeniably my favourite time in Korea. I always found it incredible how almost instantaneously the seasons changed, the entire countryside covered in those lovely autumnal colours. You certainly managed to capture them with your shots here although frankly, my vertigo’s kind of pricked even from here!

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 10, 2016 at 12:34 am

      We’re so happy we were able to take advantage of autumn in Korea as it will likely be our last for awhile!

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    December 8, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I’m a total wimp when it comes to heights!! This looks terrifying, but definitely worth it. I do try to face my fears when the reward is truly worth it – this looks like it fits the bill nicely! Thanks for the detailed post and directions!! Gorgeous photos as well, looks like a fantastic day 🙂

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 10, 2016 at 12:35 am

      It really was a great day! If you’re scared of heights I think you’d be in good company though–most of the people on the bridge were quite happy to get off as soon as they could!

  • Reply
    Travel with Karla
    December 8, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Wow! Amazing views! The stairway looks fun. I wish there are mountains in Seoul like that. I love how you divided this guide into sections. You’re very organized. This guide is perfect. 🙂

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 10, 2016 at 12:36 am

      Thank you! Yeah it’s true–Namsan is lovely but it doesn’t quite have the drama of Daedunsan! Luckily, weekend trips are super easy out of Seoul!

  • Reply
    Ana Park
    December 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Awesome photos! I think you went there at the perfect time. The stairs looked scary with all the people in it ~ the ajummas were quite patient with your picture taking. They always seem to be in a rush even climbing mountains. It’s always fun to hike Korea’s mountains with all the Koreans in colorful mountain gear that seems to match the season 🙂

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 10, 2016 at 12:37 am

      It’s true–the hiking gear in Korea is always quite vibrant!

  • Reply
    Kathy Andy
    December 9, 2016 at 5:54 am

    Korea is one of my dream destinations <3 I love your pictures, and the narration is perfect. I want to go there right now!

    http://kathyandyblog.blogspot.com.es/

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 10, 2016 at 12:38 am

      Thank you, Kathy! Let us know if you ever need any tips!

  • Reply
    Rocio Cadena
    December 11, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    These photos are spectacular!!! I must visit here next year to see the foliage. I didn’t understand why most of mu Korean friends kept raging about fall in Korea until I witnessed the splendor of the season myself. I get the hypr now and it’s totally real!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    December 11, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    You guys went there at the perfect time- the colours look amazing! This is a hike that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, actually! It’s a bit out the way for me though so I’ve never managed to get there. It actually looks a bit like Saryangdo, an island down off Tongyeong that has a very similar hike! You should check it out if you ever get the chance 🙂

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 14, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Oh interesting, I wonder how Saryangdo looks in the spring! Maybe we’ll check it out!

  • Reply
    Alla Ponomareva
    December 12, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    This place is epic – one of my favorites in and around Daejeon. Wowza! I’ve never seen so many people there, you must have caught a popular weekend. I’m curious if you took some of these images with a drone? They are excellent!

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Yes we took all of the aerial shots with a drone! It sure was tricky finding a place to launch–we ultimately had to step right near the edge of a cliff–but it worked out and was worth it!

  • Reply
    Hedgers Abroad
    December 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    This hike has long been at the top of our list since coming to Korea. The views are amazing! I am a bit scared of heights myself, so hearing those people screaming would have put me straight on edge. Maybe I need to do this hike in the winter when there’s less people haha!

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 14, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      They were more like squeals than screams! I hope that would be better!

  • Reply
    Jackie
    December 12, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    What a beautiful mountain! I wish I had gone there while traveling in Seoul. That exposed stairway tho—whoa, that’s just scary! Especially with all those people! I don’t know how they’re not freaked out by that!

  • Reply
    Hallie
    December 12, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    I didn’t even know this existed here until last year and it, of course, made it onto my must see list. I really appreciated all of the info in this post. I didn’t even realize there was a cable car up. I’d definitely want to go as soon as I could in the morning to beat as many crowds as possible too. I wonder if week days would be better. I imagine they would, but who knows in Korea. Love the photos!

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 14, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Week days could easily be better–unfortunately we’ve never been able to check it out because we work at a hagwon Monday-Friday!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Emily
    June 6, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I am visiting South Korea over the holidays in December. Is this bridge open and accessible during the winter? Thank you for your post. I have been trying to narrow down which places to hike.

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