Bukhansan National Park covers a fairly large area in northern Seoul, encompassing the city’s two biggest mountains Bukhansan (i.e. Baegundae Peak) and Dobongsan. If you’re hiking in the park for the first time you’ll probably be more interested in one of those two, but if you’ve done them before and are looking for another option you can go for a hike on the ridge on the southern edge of the park, which forms the limit of how far you can see from much of the city (it actually blocks views of Baegundae Peak from most central areas in Seoul). This ridge runs roughly west-east before turning north to run up to Baegundae, and consists of a number of connected peaks.
The hike described here is up to Bibong Peak from Dokbawi Station on Line 6, a fairly short distance but quite steep with some semi-scrambling sections so quite fun and with excellent views over the city. From Bibong you can either descend the same way, or continue on to Mansubong Peak which is the highest point of this ridge before it turns north to Baegundae; from Mansubong you can descend to Bukhansan Bogungmun Station on the Ui Sinseol Line, or keep following the ridge north up to Baegundae Peak then descend to Bukhansan Ui Station at the end of the Ui Sinseol Line.
For Bibong straight up & down you just need 2-3 hours at a decent pace. To traverse the ridge from Dokbawi Station to Bukhansan Bogungmun Station via Bibong & Mansubong allow for 4-5 hours; to go all the way up the ridge from Dokbawi Station to Baegundae Peak and down to Bukhansan Ui Station allow for 6+ hours, really depends on your pace of course but it’s quite far with a good bit of ascending & descending with all the subsidiary peaks.
When you come out of the station there’s a useful map just to the left:
Crossing the road, take this side street:
And follow it round to the left through the residential district:
For this first bit passing through the residential area it’s advisable to download Kakao Map on your phone, it’s much better than Google Maps in Korea. The hiking trails are all also shown on Kakao Map which is super useful, but don’t pay attention to the walking times it gives for them – it fails to take the terrain into account and gives you times as though they’re flat roads, which they most certainly aren’t. Something I hope they get around to improving on what is otherwise a really good app for hiking in Seoul – it also has a good 3D terrain view which is great for checking out the approximate profile of your hike in advance.
Turn right here:
And left here:
Which brings you to this park:
Pass through the park and head up this road:
Bringing you to Bulgwangsa Temple:
The park trail starts just beyond the temple at this ranger post:
Follow the signs for Bibong or Hyangnobong (which is the main subsidiary peak before Bibong):
Navigation shouldn’t be an issue as the trails are well-maintained and at each intersection you can just check the signs and take the option for Bibong or Hyangnobong.
Hiking in Bukhansan Park in October/November you should see some autumn colours. Aside from the occasional typhoon, autumn’s the perfect time to visit Seoul and do some hiking; see here for the best autumn colour spots in the city. These pics are from a late-October hike:
The trail isn’t hard, but the overall gradient is fairly steep and there are some semi-scrambling rocky sections:
Once you’re up on the ridge you have views along the ridge and north up to the higher points further into the park:
And cracking views out across the city to the south:
Note that the very top of Bibong Peak is a rock formation requiring proper rock climbing equipment & skills; casual hikers can go past this bit:
…and then take the next turning back up to reach the base of the rock formation and enjoy the views:
From here either descend the way you came, or continue on to Mansubong Peak then down to Bukhansan Bogungmun Station, or if you have time all the way up to Baegundae and down to Ui Bukhansan Station.
Click here for more hiking in Seoul
Have you climbed Bibong Peak? How was the view? Any questions to ask or tips to share? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
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