Natural Parks


Natural Parks are designated by the Korean government in outstanding natural scenic areas that represent the country’s ecosystems or natural and cultural landscapes. They are classified into National Parks, Provincial Parks and County Parks. A total of 79 sites have been designated as Natural Parks in Korea, including 22 National Parks, 30 Provincial Parks and 27 County Parks. These parks are open to the general public. To ensure their conservation, park authorities develop and implement policies for facility management and enforce penalties for illegal activities through regulatory measures. Recently, there have been growing calls for a shift from mere conservation to greater utilization of these parks including accessible and sustainable ecotourism.

Source: The Ministry of Environment (As of February 2022)
자연공원 이미지

Criteria for Designation of Natural Parks

  • Natural ecosystems : Natural ecosystems are well-preserved or they provide habitat for endangered species, natural monuments and protected wildlife.
  • Natural landscapes : Natural landscapes are outstanding and well-preserved without much degradation or contamination
  • Cultural landscapes :The site includes cultural properties or historical artifacts that blend in with the natural landscape, adding more conservation value
  • Landscape conservation : The landscape is unlikely to be disrupted by industrial development activities.
  • Location and Accessibility: : The site’s location, once designated, should be in line with, and contribute to, the coordinated conservation, use and management of the national land as a whole.

National Parks

National Parks are Korea’s most prized natural ecosystems or scenic areas designated by the Ministry of Environment. Following the first designation in Jirisan Mountain on December 29, 1967, 4 sites were designated in the 1960s, including Jirisan Mountain and Gyeongju; 9 sites in the 1970s, including Seoraksan Mountain and Songnisan Mountain; and 7 sites in the 1980s, including Dadohaehaesang. As of February 2022, there are a total of 22 National Parks covering 6,726.298㎢.
Among them are two marine parks, Hallyeohaesang and Dadohaehaesang, that include islands and inland and marine areas; two coastal parks, Taeanhaean and Byeonsanbando, featuring scenic shorelines and land areas; and one historic park, Gyeongju. The rest parks are mountainous parks that encompass some of the most renowned mountains in the country.

국립공원 지정현황으로 지정순위, 공원명, 위치, 지정연월일, 면적, 비고를 포함하고 있습니다.
No. Name Location Date of designation Area (㎢) Remarks
1 Jirisan Mountain Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do, Gyeongsangnam-do Dec. 29, 1967 483.022
2 Gyeongju Gyeongsangbuk-do Dec. 31, 1968 136.550
3 Gyeryongsan Mountain Chungcheongnam-do, Daejeon Dec. 31, 1968 65.335
4 Hallyeohaesang Jeollanam-do, Gyeongsangnam-do Dec. 31, 1968 535.676 Marine area 408.488㎢
5 Seoraksan Mountain Gangwon-do Mar. 24, 1970 398.237
6 Songnisan Mountain Chungcheongbuk-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do Mar. 24, 1970 274.766
7 Hallasan Mountain Jeju Mar. 24, 1970 153.332
8 Naejangsan Mountain Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do Nov. 17, 1971 80.708
9 Gayasan Mountain Gyeongsangnam-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do Oct. 13, 1972 76.256
10 Deogyusan Mountain Jeollabuk-do, Gyeongsangnam-do, Feb. 1, 1975 229.430
11 Odaesan Mountain Gangwon-do Feb. 1, 1975 326.348
12 Juwangsan Mountain Gyeongsangbuk-do Mar. 30, 1976 105.595
13 Taeanhaean Chungcheongnam-do Oct. 20, 1978 377.019 Marine area 352.796㎢
14 Dadohaehaesang Jeollanam-do Dec. 23, 1981 2,266.221 Marine area 1,975.198㎢
15 Bukhansan Mountain Seoul, Gyeonggi-do Apr. 2, 1983 76.922
16 Chiaksan Mountain Gangwon-do Dec. 31, 1984 175.668
17 Woraksan Mountain Chungcheongbuk-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do Dec. 31, 1984 287.571
18 Sobaeksan Mountain Chungcheongbuk-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do Dec. 14, 1987 322.011
19 Byeonsanbando Jeollabuk-do Jun. 11, 1988 153.934 Marine area 17.227㎢
20 Wolchulsan Mountain Jeollanam-do Jun. 11, 1988 56.220
21 Mudeungsan Mountain Gwangju, Jeollanam-do Mar. 4, 2013 75.425
22 Taebaeksan Mountain Gangwon-do Aug. 22, 2016 70.052
Total 22 sites 6,726.298 Land area: 3,972.589㎢
Marine area: 2,753.709㎢

Provincial Parks

Provincial Parks are outstanding natural scenic areas that represent the natural landscapes of a given special city, metropolitan city or province. Following the first designation in Geumosan Mountain on June 1, 1970 by Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, 11 sites were designated in the 1970s; 5 sites in the 1980s; 2 sites in 1990s; 1 site in 2005; 7 sites in 2008, including 5 County Parks in Jeju elevated to Provincial Parks); 1 site in 2009; 1 site in 2011; 1 site in 2016; and 1 site in 2019. As of December 2022, there are a total of 30 designations covering 1,147.547258㎢.
These parks are further divided into historical parks (such as Namhansanseong), coastal parks (such as Gyeongpo and Naksan), and mountainous parks in well-known mountains in the region.

County Parks

County Parks are outstanding natural scenic areas that represent the natural landscapes of a given city or county. Since the first designation in Gangcheonsan Mountain located in Sunchang-gun, Jeollabuk-do on January 7, 1981, a total of 28 sites covering 254.481㎢ have been designated as of December 2022.
With the exception of Sangjogam, which includes a marine area (3.7㎢), and Gobok National Park, which features a reservoir, all other County Parks are mountainous parks that feature temples, historical sites, valleys and famous mountains.
Download the list of Natural Parks in Korea below for more information about County Parks.


Geoparks are areas of geological significance and outstanding landscapes. City mayors or provincial governors may submit a request for geopark designation to the Minister of Environment, following a public hearing and consultation with a respective county governor. If the proposed site meets the following criteria, the Minister of Environment may approve the designation after consultation with the heads of relevant central administrative agencies.

  • An area of geological importance and landscape value with rare natural features
  • An area of outstanding archaeological, ecological or cultural features related to the area's geological characteristics and therefore with high conservation value
  • An area with geological heritage, the protection and utilization of which may contribute to local economic growth
  • An area that meets other criteria prescribed by a Presidential Decree.