This is a question I’ve received a few times and one I’ve been helping someone with at the moment. As I do not have a specific post about the subject I thought I’d put one together so all walkers can see the advice about when is the best time of year to walk or hike on Jeju Olle Trail.
It was actually a difficult question to answer. Even though I have quite a few years experience living on the island. I realized there are 2 months out of the 12 that are really not the best for walking or hiking on the trail (especially a thru-walk).
July and August are the most difficult months for walking on Jeju Olle Trail.
The heat and humidity are very high. It can be even higher if you catch the island during a particularly hot summer.
Jeju then has a period with tropical nights for a couple of weeks in high summer. If the temperature does not drop below 25 degrees then that is considered a tropical night.
This is all documented first-hand by Laura Scott of Roam Far and Wide.
As many readers know we also have our monthly ‘Walk Together’ events too. These are almost always canceled in July and August. That should give you some indication about the temperatures on the trail.
So that leaves the other 10 months of weather.
For me there are two golden periods for walking and hiking. The first golden period is from the middle of March until the end of May. At this time spring is coming to Jeju Island. In early April the flowers are in bloom. The cherry blossom comes out to play as well.
Temperatures will still get chilly at night, but during the day it should be generally sunny with warm breezes.
This stretches on until late May at which point the temperatures really start to creep up.
So again, if you’re looking to do some hiking earlier in the year then check out the mid-March to late May period.
From June until July the rainy season begins to appear. We call this jang-ma(장마). There’s a mix of heavy and continuous showers in the humid weather. Though these days many locals say the rainy season weather pattern is changing. It feels different and isn’t what it used to be. It isn’t one long continuous season that was predictable.
If you’re prepared with your waterproofs then why not go for a walk in the rain? For some it is a very pleasant, refreshing experience if done with the correct preparation.
Anyway after the weather service declares it over welcome to the heat and humidity of July and August.
Once summer moves on we get to the second golden period of walking and hiking. This is my particularly favorite time of year.
From late September though to early November are great times to be out on the trail. October is my favorite month of the year actually. Summer is over, but it’s still glorious. It is the time to get out there.
There is one caveat. From the end of August through to October typhoons also sweep up from the Pacific. The strength and arrival are hard to predict. Some take an unexpected turns at the last moment. They avoid Jeju Island or instead make a straight path of the island. Simply put: stay off the trail during typhoons and watch out afterwards because coastal sections could be in a state of disrepair.
As we go into November the weather turns colder. It is still very nice to be out on the trail with a warm jacket, hat and gloves on. Crisp mornings with a cup of hot coffee and a winter’s view provide great feelings too.
I also enjoy walking in November and December, though January is generally very cold.
Halla Mountain gets covered in snow. Sometimes snow comes to the coastal areas. It will settle maybe twice or three times during the whole winter period for one day or two days at the most. The south-side in Segowipo is generally warmer than the Jeju City side. In winter consider sticking to trails on the south-side of the island. Here snow flurries pass over your head from the mountain, but don’t settle.
There we go.
That’s my look and thoughts on when to walk Jeju Olle Trail here on Jeju Island. Of course it isn’t super scientific. It’s just my experience built up from being out there in all weathers over the past couple of years.
I’ll add to it in the future as and when I feel the need. If I forgot something or if something needs clarifying. Here’s my summary:
Best Times to Walk Jeju Olle Trail
Mid-March to late May
Mid September to early November (typhoons do appear at this time)
* November and December are good with the correct warm clothing
More Difficult Times to Walk Jeju Olle Trail
January to early March (cold)
June to July (rainy season)
July and August (hot and humid)