Bukhansan National Park is a mountain range in Seoul that expands towards Gyeonggi Province. It has been designated as a national park (in 1983) due to its spectacular features and as an ecological treasure. Bukhansan Mountain has an area of 79.9 square kilometers stretching over Seoul and Gyeonggi-do.
The national park is divided into two areas: Bukhansan Mountain to the south from Uiryeong Pass, and Dobongsan Mountain to the north. This mountain is valuable as it supports over 20 million residents and flora and fauna in it.
Bukhansan is a favorite mountain among locals who hike (or climb) its spiny, rugged, and challenging but invigorating environment. The park has some gorges, granite summits, and potable fresh streams.
Bukhansan is one of my favorites and one of the mountains I first hike in South Korea. Not only because it has various and fantastic courses but also because I used to live just a few kilometers from its foot. Exploring the mountain with my colleagues, I learned that doing so is healthy (for both my mind and body) – we usually bring with us lunch box, a bottle of water, an apple or kimbap.
Before I describe further this mountain, let me just briefly introduce in advance the main points of this page. Here they are…
Okay… let’s proceed.
The name ‘bukhansan’ was believed to be coming from a place located north of the Han River (or Hanggang) in the late Joseon Dynasty period. As aforementioned, there are three highest peaks with imposing and glorious presence: Baegundae Peak, Insubong Peak, Mangyeongbong Peak. These three peaks are called ‘samkaksan,’ which literally means the ‘three mountains.’
The number ‘three’ or ‘triangle’ is a very symbolic number that it is being used in Korea’s poetry, triangle-shaped mountains, defense areas in the past. That number is highly popularized through Korea’s three kingdoms: Baekje, Shilla, and Goguryeo – as popularized in computer games with similar names.
Other spectacular mountains in Seoul which form part of the whole Bukhansan National Park include the mountain peaks of Eunpyeong-gu, Jongno-gu, Seongbuk-gu, Gangbuk-gu, and Deokyang-gu of Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do (Province).
However, specifically, based in Uiryeong, the Dobong-gu, Yangju, and Uijeongbu which belong to Bukhansan National Park are also called Dobongsan (Mountain). Having such attractive features, Dobongsan is one of the five famous mountains where ancient rituals were officiated during the Korean dynastic periods. (Story: Dobongsan, one of the most beautiful mountains in Seoul, is one of Seoul’s symbols along with Namsan and Han River.)
Insubong Peak was used to be called ‘Buaak’ Mountain which is thought to be the epicenter of Seoul. However, among the three peaks of Bukhansan National Park, Baegundae (which rises to 837 meters high), and Insubong (811 meters high), particularly belong to Goyang City rather than in Seoul City.
Since we now have a little understanding about Bukhansan National Park, it would be good if we can start looking at the possible accesses to the park with the following trails or mountain courses you will take (hush, you can approach the mountain from almost every point!)…
Presuming this is your first time to explore South Korea’s mountains or national parks, you will learn that there are specific trails, or shall I say designated courses or mountain trails, that you can easily follow so that you won’t get lost and fall into dangerous paths. Korean mountains are easy to explore not because they have those trail pointers but also because many of them have stairs and railings built.
Mangyeongdae (Mangyeongbong Peak) is about 800 meters high. However, to its peak is approximately over a kilometer long. Along with that trail, you will see unusual rock formations such as the Pig Rock, Love Rock (heart shaped-rock), Piano Rock, among others).
To its west, you will see Noryeongbong, Wonhyobong, Yeomchobong, Yeomchobong, Suraksan, Bulamsan, and Cheonma Mountain.
Bukhansan Mountain’s hiking trail is divided into the following section…
Seoul Departure Course Area
This departure hiking course includes the Right-hand Course. This course is created, usually based on the more natural trail as experienced by regular hikers, for Yeongbong (about 600 meters high), Baegundae, Mangyeongdae, and Doseonsaengol.
Baegundae, the most popular one, is about 2.1 kilometers from the parking lot which is next to Doseonsa (Doseon Temple). This is the shortest route you can take for Baegundae Peak. Once you are on top of Baegundae, where most hikers stop and rest, you should enjoy its height and take advantage of viewing the surrounding spectacular sights as far as your eyes can see. Of course, you can replenish your energy by consuming your prepared food and drinks supplies.
Enjoy the thrilling route of Mangyeongdae Horit-gil. Nowadays, however, you will feel a bit safer (not exciting anymore to thrill-seekers!) steps or stairs and railings are installed to keep hikers from falling into the ravines on both sides of the route. During clear days, you can see the West Sea, but you can anyway see the Nojeokbong, Yeomchobong, and everything around.
4. Yondeok Temple - Yukmojeong Pass – Youngbong - Hajujae
5. Jindallae Ridge – Daedongmun
6. Baegundae 2 Hiking Support Center – Youngbongjeon Observatory - Harujae
If you are targeting the summit, you can go to Daedongmun, Mangyeongdae, Uimundae, and Baegundae
1. Jeongneung Hiking Support Center – Neolpjeokbawi – Bokukmun
2. Jeongneung Hiking Support Center – Naewonsa (temple) – Galbawi Ridge
3. Jeongneung Hiking Support Center – Sambongsa (temple) – Youngchusa (temple) – Daeseongmun
4. Jeongneung Hiking Support Center – Daeseong Ridge – Daeseongmun
Bulgwangdong and Jingwansa (temple) Course
Goyang City Hyojadong Course
You can go to Yeomchobong Ridge and Bamgol Ridge (Yangcho Bukhang Ridge), but the trails are quite challenging and dangerous for beginners.
Bukhansan National Park has one of the most accident-prone peaks in the country – Baegundae Peak. It has the most accidents not only because it has the most challenging trail but because it has the most number of visitors as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. Many people hike (or climb) it because it is beautiful and a strategic peak where you can view Seoul’s downtown, Incheon, Ganghwa Island, Yongmun Mountain (in Yangpyeong)
Since you have already learned enough about Bukhansan National Park, you might be interested in hiking it from any point. To help you out, you may use the guides below for your convenience.
For further information, you may use the following information. These are the officially designated offices for South Korea’s national parks.
Bukhansan National Park Office
Address : San 1-1, Jeongneung-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
Tel : +82-2-909-0497~8, 918-9063
Fax : +82-2-909-0888
Bukhansan National Park Dobong Office
Address: 229-104, Howon-dong, Uijeongbu Si, Gyeonggi-Do
Tel : +82-31-873-2791~2
Fax : +82-31-871-7972
South Korea’s national parks are well-organized and equipped with facilities to support and help hikers enjoy and keep safer. The following facilities can be found at this dedicated website.
National Park Offices and Mountain Ranger Stations
Bukhansan National Park Office: San 1-1, Jeongneung-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul Phone: +82-2-909-0497~8
Bukhansan National Park Northern Office: 229-104, Howon-dong, Uijeongbu Si, Gyeonggi-Do, Phone: +82-31-873-2791~2
Jeongneung Visitor Center: San 1-1, Jeongneung-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
Jeongneung Information Center: San 1-1, Jeongneung-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
The peak season for Bukhansan starts from May to
December. It means that the fees and rentals for the parking lots,
campsites, shelters, and other facilities increase during these months.
For example, for a campsite, an adult pays 2,200 KRW during off season
but raises to 2,700 KRW during peak season.
Aside from the above facilities, Bukhansan National Park also offers photo taking for profit for the local government. Such photo taking includes photo shooting and filmings – such as films, TV dramas, C.F., and VTR.
If you are looking for a place to stay, aside from camping, you can also avail affordable rooms at some select place only. For example, you can choose the below properties:
Address: San76, Suyu-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
Address: 240-1, Ui-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
Address: 306, Ui-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
Also, depending on your trail choice, you can have more proper meals before or after your day’s hiking by availing the services of some restaurants (eateries, cafes) at some specific sites near the mountain. Such are the following…
Ui Sanjang (serves duck dishes, raised at the restaurant’s farm)
Address: 324-1, Ui-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
Yetgol Toseong (services barbecue dishes using a patented stove)
Address: 216-43, Ui-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
Sigolgil (serves varied delicious Korean dishes)
Address: 282-1, Ui-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
Jingogae Hanjeongsik (serves traditional Korean dishes with natural ingredients)
Address: 229-272, Howon-dong, Uijeongbu Si, Gyeonggi-Do
Dubu Hanmadang (serves its specialty dish – savory tufus)
Address: Jingwanoe-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul
Hope this helps your search and useful for your travels or hiking plans at Bukhansan National Park.