Hiking the Bukhansan is a must-do activity in Seoul. Buhkansan is a very popular mountain amongst Koreans and tourists for hiking in Seoul. It is the ideal place to relax in the nature while being so close to the city. Between Buddhist temples, the Bukhansanseong fortress and the diversity of the landscapes, there are many things to see in this mountain which is beautiful in all 4 seasons.
Throughout this article, we will take you to discover the Bukhansan and also give you tips and information to plan for your hike.
The mountain is located north of the capital and extends to Gyeonggi-do province. It is Seoul’s tallest mountain. In February 1983, Bukhansan Mountain was designated in South Korea as the 15th national park. To hike this mountain, you have several entrances which are often close to metro stations and which allow you to access several trails with various levels of difficulty.
A bit of history…
In addition to the beauty of the landscapes, the mountain is linked to history. During your hike, you will see many Buddhist temples, but also the Bukhansanseong fortress built to protect the capital.
The Bukhansanseong Fortress was built in 1711 during the reign of King Sukjong (1661-1720) with the aim of protecting the capital from foreign invasions. It also served as a refuge for the king in the event of attacks. The wall of Bukhansanseong is 12.7 km long. Several Buddhist temples were built inside the fortress and were used by the army of Buddhist monks.
Hiking the Bukhansan has become extremely popular amongst South Korean. Don’t be surprised if on the weekend or peak foliage season in Fall you will need to queue up to reach the top. Neverlethess, hiking the Bukhansan is one of the best thing to do in Seoul if you enjoy nature and the outdoor activities like us.
Here are some of the most popular trails in the Bukhansan:
1. Baegundae Peak Trail
This is probably the most well-known trail in the Bukhansan. The hike starts from Bukhansanseong Hiking Support Center – 북한산성탐방지원센터 (location: here) and takes you to Baegundae Peak.
Baegundae is the highest peak in Bukhansan National Park. It is 836 meters high. It is the perfect place to have a great view 360 degrees of Seoul. Also, if you are just a casual hikers like us, this is a trail that is quite accessible. Due to its popularity, you are very likely to come across a lot of hikers on the way. So we advise you to go there rather during the week and to leave early enough if you want to avoid the crowds.
Access this trail
If you want to reach Baegundae Peak, you need to go to Bukhansanseong Hiking Support Center.
By Metro :
Take line 3 and stop at Gupabal Station (구파발 역). Then take exit 1. You can then take bus 704 at Gupabal Station Exit 2 bus stop (구파발 역 2 번출구). Once you are on the bus, you will need to stop at the Bukhansanseong Fortress Bus Stop (북한산성 입구). You just need to walk a bit to get to the entrance to the trail. You can go to Bukhansanseong Hiking Support Center and take a map if you want.
If you don’t want to take the bus, you also have the option of taking a taxi, once you have exited the metro station. If you opt for the taxi, the fare will be a little higher than the bus, but still reasonable. The ride will cost you less than KRW 10,000.
2. Ilseonsa Temple
In one of our previous blog post, we talked about the best outdoor cafes in Seoul, here. Well, in Pyeongchang-dong, The Piano is a stunning cafe right by the Bukhansan. Next to the cafe, you can start a beautiful trail walking through Dongnyeong Pokpo waterfall, Ilseonsa Temple and Hyeongjebong Peak.
The hike is relatively easy and probably took us 4 hours by walking in a moderate pace and stopping many times to take pictures.
Here are some pictures of The Piano Cafe in Pyeongchang-dong (Address: 서울 종로구 평창6길 71 / location: here):
The hike ends at the bottom of Pyeongchang Dong Valley where you can catch the bus back to the city. To get to the Piano cafe at the start of the trail we recommend to catch the a bus (1711, 7016 or 7022) to Pyeongchang-dong, stop at the GS market and grab a taxi all the way up.
3. Daedongmun, Jindallae Mountain Range Trail
Another great hike at the Bukhansan, is the Daedongmun Trail. We were lucky to do it during the snow where the entire mountain was white. What a sight it was!
This hiking trail, located in the middle of Bukhansan National Park that starts from Baeknyeon Park Protection Area (here) and passes through Jindallae Mountain Range before reaching Daedongmun Gate.
From the Jindallae Mountain Range, you can see magnificent view of Mangyeongdae Peak, Baegundae Peak, and Insubong Peak which makes this path one of the most scenic one.
The hike is not very long, it can be terminated in less than 2hours.
Access this trail
Tourism information center (here): 28-gil, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul (01013). To reach there, take Subway Line 4 until Suyu Station and then the bus Gangbuk 01 or taxi all the way to the center. The hike starts right at the tourism information center.
When to go?
In our opinion, the best time is fall when you can admire the trees in sharp red, orange and yellow colors. The temperatures are also more pleasant. Spring is another great season to hike the Bukhansan when you can see the flowers blooming.
Jingwansa Temple at the bottom of the Bukhansan
Located near the Hanok Village of Eunpyeong District, Jingwansa temple (진관사 (서울)) is one of Seoul’s four most famous temples.
In the heart of Bukhansan Park and at the crossroads of two valleys, this temple enjoys a beautiful surrounding environment.
Jingwansa also offers Temple Stay program, allowing you to stay overnight and participate in the temple’s daily activity. To find out more about Temple Stay program, check out the official website here.
Eunpyeong Hanok Village
Eunpyeong Hanok Village (은평한옥마을) is a beautiful village right by the side of the Bukhansan National Park. We never heard and did not know about this place, until we drove past it by chance, going somewhere else. What a surprise when we found out that this place was actually a Hanok village, located in the middle of nowhere.
So we decided to share this “secret” or shall we say “not so known” place in this blog post. Eunpyeong Hanok Village is great to experience a non-touristy Seoul and take great photos. We are convinced you are going to love Eunpyeong Hanok Village.
The Bukhansan is a stunning mountain right in the city. The views from the the mountain are simply stunning. Most hikes in South Korea are not too easy and often steep. So a bit of preparation would be better. However, hiking the Bukhansan should absolutely be on your list of things to do in Seoul.
If you are looking for more adventures, check out this post, for the best adventures around Seoul. For awesome day trips just outside Seoul, you can also check out this post here.
For more information on the Bukhansan, we recommend to take a look at the Korean Official National Parks website in English here.
If you have to choose… Bukhansan or Seoraksan? Thanks!
A Fun Couple
Hi There, Seoraksan is more impressive… You can also take the cable car to get to the top of a mountain, which is then more family friendly. But overall, yes we would go to Seoraksan… https://afuncouple.com/seoraksan/