Hiking in Seoul: Dobongsan

View from the top of Dobongsan

Dobongsan (도봉산, or 道峰山) is the furthest out of Seoul’s mountains (and the second highest), located in the northern part of Bukhansan national park at the city’s northern limit; while the city views are a bit more distant than those from the other Seoul mountains (they’re still cracking though!), it offers the most dramatic mountain scenery instead. There are also some old and famous temples on its slopes:

Cheonchuksa Temple, Dobongsan

Cheonchuksa Temple

Cheonchuksa Temple, Dobongsan

Cheonchuksa Temple

Temple at Dobongsan

Mangwolsa Temple

Standing at 740m Dobongsan requires a few hours for the hike, but you don’t need to do too much by way of planning; just take Line 1 or Line 7 to Dobongsan Station, and start your walk from exit 1. From the station you walk up to the trailhead past a whole load of food stalls and outdoor goods vendors, if you’re in need of any gear or a feed.

View of Dobongsan from the station

View of Dobongsan from the station

Way to Dobongsan from the station

Way to Dobongsan from the station

Way to Dobongsan from the station

Cross the road from the station and head up the steps, turning left at the top then immediately right you’ll find yourself walking up sidestreets lined with the abovementioned stalls.

Way to Dobongsan from the station

Further up as you approach the national park entrance the road runs alongside a river and the stalls give way to full blown outdoors shops (big international brands such as Merrill & North Face have shops here, alongside domestic Korean brands). Eventually you reach the park entrance and a large map on a board showing the multitude of trails in the park.

Way to Dobongsan from the station

Trail signs on Dobongsan

Trail signs on Dobongsan

Follow the signs for 자운봉, Jaunbong (the peak) or 천축사, Cheonchuksa (a large temple at roughly the halfway point). Shortly after the entrance there’s a ranger station, and halfway from that to Cheonchuksa there’s a shelter (Dobong Shelter, 도봉대피소, Dobong Daepiso), all of which have toilets available.

Ranger station, Dobongsan

Waterfall on Dobongsan

Small stream on Dobongsan

Dobongsan hiking trail

Dobongsan hiking trail

The path’s well-maintained and you’re mostly hiking through the forest, but at the top Dobongsan has a series of granite formations which require some scrambling (there are fixed hand rails to haul yourself up on).

View from the top of Dobongsan

View from the top of Dobongsan

From Jaunbong there’s a great scrambling route along the ridge to a secondary peak (Podae Peak, 포대정상, Podae Jeongsang), it has fixed chains on all the steeper sections and is a great bit of fun but inexperienced hikers may find it a bit alarming – I love it. From Podae you can then return the way you came or descend via Mangwolsa Temple (망월사) on a trail which brings you down to Mangwolsa Station (Line 1).

Dramatic light and clouds on top of Dobongsan

You can get up & down Dobongsan in a few hours if you’re quick, but if you want to allow time for Podae ridge and maybe the descent via Mangwolsa you’ll probably want to allow for 5 hours (perhaps more, depending on your speed and tendencies for photo & rest stops).

Dobongsan’s also a popular spot for more serious rock climbing:

Rock climbers on Dobongsan

A couple of climbers once stopped for a chat (possibly the two in this pic) and ended up inviting me to join their climbing club, but on that occasion I was only in Korea briefly en route to Japan (after doing the Trans-Siberian Railway) and left Seoul a couple of days later.

The mountain can be climbed in all seasons, but if you do it in winter make you’re appropriately dressed and prepared for snow and ice; I did it once in early December and it was still ice-free, but it would be pretty sketchy up there in poor winter conditions wearing only sneakers… in fact if it’s winter maybe just go skiing instead!

Click here for more hiking in Seoul

Have you climbed Dobongsan? How was it? Got any questions? Leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Useful Links

Accommodation: search & book rooms in Seoul

See my Korea page for general info on travelling in Korea, and more Korea posts here

Check out my hiking guides for TaipeiKyoto and Tokyo

Also make sure you have a good insurance policy… World Nomads offer flexible travel insurance you can buy even if already overseas – most travel insurance companies won’t cover you if you’ve already left your country, and this can be a crucial point as I once found out the hard way in Thailand.

These are affiliate links i.e. if you use them to purchase insurance or book accommodation, 4corners7seas will receive a commission from World Nomads or Agoda – this commission comes out of their profit margin at no extra cost to you. I’m recommending them because I know and trust them from personal use; thank you in advance should you choose to use my links.


Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

*

Antisocial media:

Subscribe to the 4corners7seas mailing list:





Heading to China? Make sure to set up a VPN first:

Express VPN banner

Click for $35 off your first stay!

Flexible travel insurance, even if you’re already overseas:

Top