Added by Kyle Obermann
This is Seoul’s tallest and most significant mountain. Mt. Bukhansan’s windy granite peaks tower over the metropolis below, offering the area’s best 360 degree views and natural escape. Hike along forested valleys filled with yellow Forsythia blossoms in the early spring and traverse the 400 year old Joseon Dynasty Bukhansanseong Fortress wall.
Starting from almost sea level, it’s almost a full 800m climb to the top of the highest peak, Baegundae. The most direct route is about 7km start to finish, although it’s also possible to do an out and back route for those with less time. Overall, the whole hike takes 3-5 hours and follows a mix of dirt trails, stone stairs, and granite slope with chains for safety when nearing the top. In winter, expect there to be some snow and a lot of ice. Many local Koreans use crampons on the ice, but I found it unnecessary in February (albeit slow going at parts).
One starting point is from the Gupabal Station on Subway Line 3. From Exit 1, take the 704 or 34 bus going towards the Bukhansanseong Fortress and get off at the park entrance (Bukhansanseong Information Center). Another option is starting from the Suyu Station on line 4 and taking bus number 1 to the park entrances at the Akademi or Baekwoon information center. Taxis should also be available and not too expensive (the distances from the subway station to the park entrances are short). These two starting points are your options for a point-to-point route, check out more information and a map here.
From the information centers, simply follow other hikers or signs for Baegundae. Park admission is free, so beware that outside of winter and in nice weather the crowds here might be significant. The official park website lists pets as not permitted, but there are sites for camping. If you have time, camping and catching the sunrise/sunset and possible sea of clouds from Baegundae would certainly be worth it. Overall, this hike is fairly relaxing and will be a rewarding escape from the buildings of Seoul for a hiker of any level.
- Sturdy shoes
- Wind breaker
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