Sky Park or Haneul Kongwon (하늘공원) in Korean always disrupts the internet with its stunning vistas of a vast and picturesque grassland. Every year from mid-October to late November, the silver grasses within the park will turn into a beautiful golden sea attracting thousands of domestic and foreign visitors to linger around until sunset. But that cannot be the only treat for the eyes the place can offer during the autumn months.
Opened in 2002, Haneul Park is a part of the World Cup Park, the area that was once used to be filled with piles of garbage. Today it is known as one of the most prominent ecological parks located in Mapo-gu, Seoul.
Within this spacious site of 58,000 pyeong (around 192,000sqm), there is a hidden path of metasequoia or dawn redwoods that is downright overshadowed by the fame of the glorious fields of silver grasses perching on top of the hill.
The metasequoia trail is easily accessed unlike getting to the pampas meadow where you have to climb up hundreds of flights of stairs. It is a 2.2 kilometer long road and is divided into two main sections. You can reach the first 1 kilometer section by walking straight from the park main entrance where the parking space is, passing a steep zigzag set of stairs and keeking for a dirt road of the Forest of Hope (희망의숲길).
This first course seems to be a lovely spot for a family outing or even a date for the courting couples. There are benches scattered around the area underneath the soaring metasequoia trees. I could picture how relaxing it can be to be strolling down this road during a hot summer day. The lush greenery and a cool shade of fully fledged metasequoia is indubitably perfect for escaping the heat.
And when the fall season strikes, the scene of the path becomes even more magical. That is only because this deciduous coniferous metasequoia reveals its best display just before shedding. Delicate flat spray of emerald green leaves turning a rich shade of copper late every fall is one attribute that I like about the tree. It is always good to know that there is another excitement awaiting in November while you are occupied with some earlier color transforming trees in October.
Following the sign for Haneul Park Metasequoia Road (하늘공원 메타세콰이어길) until you reach the end of the first sector and then turn right, it will lead you to the rest of the trail. This second half seems to be more neatly organized since the trees are placed in lines with great intervals creating such an idyllic narrow boulevard.
Even if the road is only 2 kilometer-long, the trees grown in the 2 different areas somehow reach their primes at a distinct speed. Upon my visit, fallen dry sets of brown leaves were already seen on the ground of the Forest of Hope while at this latter half the leaf color just started to change. So, there is no need to feel rushed when you see some autumn posts of Metasequoia trees from the disarray area on instagram, you still have a few more weeks to go until the other zone bursts into orangish brown.
All in all, it is undeniable that autumn is the best time to visit Haneul Park. Aside from viewing the phenomenal scenery of the golden field of fluffy silvergrass, walking down a peaceful path underneath the apricot brown metasequoia canopy is another experience you should not miss.
Information about Haneul Park
Operating Hours: 09:00 - 22:00 (closing time depends on sunset time)
Entrance Fees: None
How to get to the metasequoia trail
⇒ Take Seoul subway line 6 (dark brown line)
⇒ Get off at World Cup Stadium (월드컵경기장역)
⇒ Get out at exit 1
⇒ Walk towards world cup stadium junction (15 minutes)
⇒ Cross the junction and head to the ticket box nearby the parking lot entrance
⇒ Walk straight from the ticket office towards Haneul Stairs
⇒ Look for a dirt passageway filled with metasequoia trees
Naver Map: Gaeul Danpung Gil (Huimangui Forest Tgerapygill Trail)
서울특별시 마포구 상암동 482-49
Date of my visit: 2021.11.14
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