Bukhansan National Park, Seoul's hiking hotspot.
Updated: Aug 20, 2022
Before arriving in South Korea, we honestly had no idea that South Korea was so famous for hiking. But as it became clear after arrival, this is a kind of national hobby of the Koreans. And understandable because South Korea has many beautiful mountains and national parks, very suitable for an adventurous hike.
Bukhansan National park:
National parks are very rarely within a city, and yet Bukhansan Mountain was designated as a the 15th national park of Korea in 1983. With an area of 80km2, it stretches over Seoul and Gyeonggi-do. The national park is like an ecological island because it’s totally surrounded by urban areas, but it still serves as green lungs for the urban environment. It’s a popular natural park for over 20 million residents within the vicinity. It’s accessible from anywhere in the Metropolitan area thanks to the great road system. With around five million visitors each year, it’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Most Visited National Park per Unit Area”.
Of course it sounds great. Into nature, then up the mountain for an adventurous hike, and then the view over the entire city. So we decided to make our way to the top. It is a fairly tough hike, but oh so beautiful. The terrain is varied with beautiful vegetation and flowing rivers. And towards the top it gets rocky with the most beautiful views. There are several starting points from which you can start, and also various hiking routes.
We decided to start our route from the city and took the metro to "Bukansan Ui" station. From here we walked towards the foot of the mountain at the budist temple "Samgaksan Doseonsa". This is where the mountain path to the top begins. After some time you will come across a fortress wall and you can choose which direction to go. We went right to the highest point of the mountain called "Baegundae Peak". The height of this point is 836.5 meters. After intense enjoyment at the top we went back the same route because it was late afternoon and we wanted to be back before dusk. Please note: our route was more than 20 km so take enough water with you. Also important to keep a close eye on the seasons because of different weather conditions.
We have climbed and hiked many mountains and volcanoes, but this is a very special hike. Once at the top you not only see the beautiful national park, but wherever you look, you have a full 360 degree view of the huge city in the distance. Truly a view you will never forget. So if you are ever in Seoul and you are naturally inclined, then you really can't skip this tour.