Around 80% of the Korean land is covered in mountains. The percentage is quite high, isn’t it? The mountains in Korea are relatively small (their height is between 500 ~ 1 000m) compared to the ones in Europe, but they are easily accessible. Koreans love hiking and people from all ages hike a lot. In fact, if you visit the mountains around Seoul during the weekend it’s so populated that it feels like being on a highway. Today, I’m going to introduce some accessible mountains you can go hiking in Seoul.
Korea has four season and each of them has its own beauty. I personally prefer hiking during spring and autumn as the weather is not too hot or cold.
In this article, I am going to present you the Bukhansan National Park, Ansan mountain, Namhansan National Park and Gwanaksan.
Bukhansan National Park
Bukhansan or 북한산 is a mountain in the northern part of Seoul. In fact, 북 (buk) stands for north and 산 (san) means mountain. Bukhan mountain covers a very large area and has a variety of hiking trails offering different level of difficulty. Before going up in the mountain, it’s a good idea to obtain a map of it. All the hiking trails as well as their duration and level of difficulty are on the map. So it’s a very useful to have one. You can easily get an English version of the map from a tourist information center in Seoul.
Don’t forget to wear hiking shoes
Bukhan mountain is relatively high compared to the other ones located in Seoul. Baegundae, the peak of the mountain, is around 800m high. The course to the peak might be a difficult task for a person. But if you are motivated enough to go all the way to the end, it will offer you a splendid view of the city.
If you just want to have a leisure walk in the beautiful Bukhan mountain, you can choose a beginner to intermediate course and take your time to enjoy nature.
Ansan mountain and Ansan Jarakgil
Ansan mountain, around 290m high, is in the northwest part of Seoul. Ansan mountain is extremely easy and pleasant for hiking. Its low amplitude as well as the easiness of its trails makes it a great place for a walk. It takes no more than 3 hours to see the whole place. If you decide to spend time at this mountain definitely check out the Ansan Jarak-gil.
Perfect for healing in a forest
Ansan Jarak-gil (안산자락길) is 7km forest trail that encircles the entire circumference of Ansan mountain. The route almost entirely follows a wooden pathway. And you can finish the course within 2 hours. It is suitable for everyone that want to fully immerse in nature while enjoying a leisure walk. The trail offers different observatory points with lots of scenic views of Seoul City Wall, Bukhansan, N Seoul Tower, Blue House and others.
Namhansan National Park
Namhansan or 남한산 is a mountain in the southern part of Seoul. This time남 (nam) stands for south and산 (san) means mountain. The main sight at this national park is the fortress: Namhansanseong (남한산성).
Good for beginners
Hiking in Namhansan is easy and great for people not fitted for more demanding one or for people that just want to spend some time out of the hustle and bustle of the big city. Namhan mountain offers several hiking course around the fortress with different duration.
The courses have either same starting point or over cross each other at some point, but all of them have signs. So just going on site and taking one of them seems to be the best idea.
How to get to Namhansan
It’s easy, you just need your Tmoney card and go to the nearest subway station. Get off at Sanseong station line 8 exit 2 (산성역), walk few meters to the bus stop and take bus number 9 or bus number 52 and get off at Namhansanseong stop. (it’s the last stop and there is a big parking lot you won’t miss it.)
Okay, so among the mountains up to here this one is really difficult one. Gwanaksan (관악산) is a mountain in the southern part of Seoul but not so close to Namhansan. The “ak” (악) sound in the name comes from a Chinese character that has the meaning of evil. So among Koreans there is a joke that the mountain is difficult just like the “ak” sound in its name. In fact, the mountain is very rocky which makes it more suitable for people with more trained physique or people that intend to climb with rope.
No matter which mountain you choose for your hike, each one will grand you with a beautiful nature, fresh air and worth seeing view of the city.