What I love most about Seoul is its proximity to a lot of different sceneries: the sea with Incheon, mountains all around… This proximity’s the reason why hiking is an extremely popular activity in South Korea. Whether they’re a part of hiking clubs or chose to do it on their own, Koreans love hiking and a majority of them have already hiked at least once in their lives. The mountainous environment as a whole plays an important part in the citizens’ lives. More than 7800 mountains are named in the country, covering approximately 70% of the territory. 17 national parks are considered mountainous! South Korean mountains offer beautiful spots for hiking with safe trails ranging from easy to sensational according to the place of choice. Around Seoul, a lot of these spots are accessible through public transportation, which makes things even better! Here are some of the most popular hiking spots in Seoul!
Hiking spots in Seoul
Namsan (202m): for casual walkers and beginner hikers
Namsan park is famous for its tower, but not only! To go all the way up there, you’ll have to bring a bottle of water. Indeed, its sloping trail makes the average walker do quite the effort! This path is probably too easy for true hikers but go there in the spring and you’ll be enchanted by the pink scenery.
Achasan (295m): a little bit more effort, but still very safe and easy!
Accessible at walking distance from a few different subway stations, this mountain is a nice alternative for those who don’t want to commit to a higher altitude. 3 courses of different lengths exist. This hike is probably the one which offers the best view of the city: about 40 minutes into the hike, you’ll see a splendid panoramic view of the Hangang River and Seoul!
Bukhansan (840m): for all ages and levels [hiking gear recommended]
Bukhansan is probably the most popular spot of the city! Its trails are stony -so be careful not to trip- and absolutely beautiful, surrounded in trees and little watery spots! You can choose where to stop and whether you want to go all the way up or not… If you do, make sure not to
Dobongsan (740m): a true challenge! [hiking gear recommended]
Dobongsan is considered the hardest hiking trail of them all in the city. Indeed, although lower than Bukhansan, some routes are not the safest for the inexperienced! The sceneries are more dense and nature-based than those of Bukhansan.
Rent hiking gear
When traveling, bringing hiking gear can be unnecessarily heavy and inconvenient. But don’t worry! You will still be able to explore Seoul’s hiking spots easily and for a cheap price. Thanks to the Seoul Hiking Tourism center, located right beside Bukhansan at 52 Samyang-ro 173-gil, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul, you’ll be able to rent the hiking gear elements of your choice!
Make your reservation on the website. You can choose the items of your choice and their sizes. There are hiking sticks, shoes, pants, jackets, shirts and gloves. The prices are very low!
You can choose a date and pickup time before paying. On the day of the hike, visit the center (5th floor), show your passeport and ta-da! You’re free to use your gear for the day. The staff will tell you when to bring the items back. You can borrow a locker to put your own stuff in for free!