Korea is blessed with having sunny weather during most seasons of the year and an abundance of mountains both in the rural and city areas, which makes Korea an ideal place to indulge your hiking dreams. This post a hiking guide to Seoul, where we will cover different mountains in Seoul that are ideal for hiking. There is something for everyone, whether you fancy a light stroll on the mountain or challenging hike. If you are not a seasoned hiker, do not worry, there are plenty of easy routes for the novice hiker. So strap on your best pair of walking boots and go hiking!
Bukhansan Mountain is the biggest mountain in Seoul located in the Northern part of the city and the name means mountain north of the Han river. The mountain is well known for its abundance of hiking routes for various skill levels, offering easy, intermediate and experienced hiking routes. It is located close to the city, making it one of the most convenient mountains to hike in the Seoul area. The peak of the mountain is called Baegundae and it is around 840 m above sea level. If you are adventurous, you can reach the peak in around 2 hours and the view from the top is amazing.
The Korean National Park Service has detailed and great information on the various hiking routes for a variety of skill levels, so we recommend checking it out before your hike. http://english.knps.or.kr/Experience/ParkList.aspx?MenuNum
Our Recommended Course
The Bukhansanseong Hiking Route is one of the most popular hiking routes on the mountain as it leads up to the Baegundae peak which is the highest peak. The route starts from the Bukhansanseong Hiking Support Center and ends at the peak. Please refer to the map for the best route. It is said that this route is pretty easy so even inexperienced hikers can reach the top within 2 hours.
Open all week.
Hours of operation:
November - Febuary: 9AM - 5PM (last entry time 3PM)
March - April + September - October: 7AM - 6PM (last entry time 4PM)
May - August: 7AM - 7PM (last entry time 5PM)
Bugaksan Mountain is a place steeped in history and is full of special places to see. The mountain has an altitude of 342 meters and is located centrally in Seoul just behind the Gyeongbukgung palace and close the Blue House (Cheongwaedae). The mountain has been closed off to citizens for around 38 years because of security concerns. It was opened to the public in 2007 and has since been a popular place for people to hike and take in the history of Seoul. The mountain is also home to the restored Hanyangdoseong (Seoul City Wall).
Be aware that on parts of the hiking route on the city wall pictures are not allowed to be taken. This is because of security and there are signs indicating where photos are prohibited. Also, you should bring your passport or ID to be allowed entrance to the area.
Our Recommended Course
We recommend starting your hiking course in Waryong Park (와룡공원) and finishing at the Changeuimun Gate. You can reach the entry point by getting off at Anguk station exit 2 and getting on bus number 3 outside of the station. Get off at the Sungkyunkwan University stop. From here you can enter the Waryong park and start the hike.
Namsan Mountain is located on the north side of the Han River in the middle of Seoul right above Itaewon and next to Myeongdong. The name means the South Mountain since it was on the southern part of the capital during the Joseon dynasty and periods before that. Namsan Mountain is a well-known symbol of Seoul because it is home to Namsan Tower, one of the top attractions in the city. The peak of the mountain is at 262 meters and is a fairly easy mountain to hike if you are looking for a little easy exercise while in Seoul. If you want to visit Namsan Tower we recommend taking the hike up there.
Our Recommended Courses
There are two main ways to hike up to the top of Namsan Mountain. One is from the Myeongdong side. You can find the entrance close to the Namsan 3 tunnel and there are plenty of signs to give you directions. This route is very comfortable to hike since there are steps and paved roads all the way up. The second way starts in Namsan Park located at the end of Gyeongridan road and next to the Grand Hyatt. Once you enter the park there are also signs that will lead you in the direction of the Namsan Tower which will be your end spot. This way is through a park so there is more natural and you can enjoy some of the Seoul City Wall on the way to the top. The view on the way up is also great.
The Cheonggyesan mountain is located south of Seoul on the edge of the city. The mountain reaches its peak at 620 meters so it is one of the taller mountains in the Seoul area. Cheonggyesan not only has great hiking routes but also a lot of exciting activities such as Seoulland, a theme park, the Gwacheon Seoul Grand Park and the Gwacheon National Science Museum. So even if you are not going hiking it is a great place to visit, especially with kids.
Our Recommended Route
There are several hiking routes on Cheonggyesan mountain but we recommend going from the Wonteogol Entrance to the Maebong Peak as shown on the map below. This hiking route is a little more challenging so we recommend wearing some practical clothes (warm layer in winter) and footwear that is appropriate for hiking.