Bukhansan National Park is one of the busiest parks in the world. The park sits on the north side of Seoul, one of the largest cities in the world, and sees an average of 5 million visitors per year.
The park features multiple peaks to summit, several temples, and Bukhansanseong – a 5.9 mile fortress wall that was built in the 1700s to defend against foreign invasions.
From many points along the fortress wall, you’ll be treated to wonderful views of the park and the massive sprawl that is Seoul.
Near many of the entrances, you’ll find a collection of restaurants and food carts. Stock up on kimbap if you forgot to bring food before you hit the trail. On your way down, it’s nice to sit down for a meal.
The trails in Bukhansan are well maintained and most of the inclines have handrails if you need a little support. But for the most part, the rails are just swings for kids. As usual in Korea, you will be confronted with staircases on most of the trails.
I really like the Kalbawi course because it has a lot of really rocky sections which keeps things interesting. For much of the way, the trail follows a stream until you get to the final push to the ridge. The trail is nice and shaded, with colorful trees and bushes along the way.
Once you reach Bogukmun (a gate in the wall), you’ll have a wonderful view of a small peak on your left and the city spread out below.
Or you can take in the view from one of the arrow slits in the crenelations, like the picture below.
The view of Beagundae, the tallest peak in the park.
Bukhansan National Park has a big network of trails that will take days to explore. Makes me wish I was teaching in Seoul so it’d be quicker to get to. I still need to head back and get the major peaks – Baegundae (836.5 meters), Insubong, Jaunbong, and others.
If you want to read more about Bukhansan or look at trail maps, visit the National Park website. But don’t rely on the trail ratings they list online, it’s very inaccurate. The information even contradicts the signs you’ll see at the park. For example, on the Bogukmun course (also called Kalbawi course) the website lists it as Grade C (A bit of slope. Difficulty is low.) but at the trail head the sign says it’s an advanced course with trail grade up to 30%.
There are multiple ways to get to Bukhansan National Park. The one I’m most familiar with is from Visit Korea – get off at Gireum Station (Subway Line 4) and take Exit 3. From there walk over to the bus stops and take Bus 110B or 143 to the last bus stop (the bus will turn into a parking lot).
Go to Visit Korea for more directions.
Have you been to Bukhansan? What did you think?