I have been to Gwanaksan Mountain, a famous hiking rocky mountain located at the heart of Seoul, South Korea. People--locals and foreign visitors--go for a hike regularly for both leisure and exercise.
As an introduction to this mountain, I can only provide you with useful descriptions, especially when you are planning to hike this scenic nature. I will update this article with my fresh experiences and photos soon.
So, for now, let me describe this favorite area which could be useful in your inquiry.
Gwanaksan is only 629 meters high. But it is regarded as a 'goddess of beauty' in the area. Most Gwanak district residents think of this mountain as a symbol and pride of Gwanak District.
In fact, Gwanaksan Mountain was designated as a city natural park in 1968. Fundamentally, that is due to the cultural heritage that Gwanak District has inherited from.
Long before this mountain was designated as such, Seoul people have been hiking and enjoying its natural beauty and environment. When it became the 'city natural park' all the more people come to relax, while others made it a favored place for natural 'healing' venue.
What primarily entices people to come are the varied rock formations, each of which can be likened to shapes like animals, human face, vehicles, among other exciting forms.
Besides, the rocky peaks and the deep valleys are sights that any hiker cannot help but praise with wonder.
Considering the size and proximity, as additions to its beauty, make Gwanaksan the most visited mountain in Seoul. A quick hike makes one happy.
You can choose from its number of trail choices.
During the spring, expect that many people would do their pilgrim and flock there to appreciate the gentle and lovely Cherry Blossoms.
Aside from the Cherry Blossoms, Gwanak District also organizes regularly a Rhododendron Festival when this flower species is in bloom.
Wongaksa Temple and Yeonjuam Hermitage are two of the serene places you will find on the rocky mountain of Gwanaksan. It is recorded that these two religious structures were established by the famous Joseon Dynasty founder--Taejo Yi Seong-gye.
Wongaksa Temple and the hermitage were believed to be specially built on this mountain to ward off bad lucks and misfortunes when the founder settled in Hanyang, the old name for Seoul.
Besides these two, you can find more ascetic temples and hermitages in various places.
Yeonjudae Hermitage is not only a fantastic site, but it is you will be passing through since all hiking trails cross their paths. Excitingly, it is built on top of a cliff!
Now, if you can feel your feet getting 'itchy' to hike this place, let me share with you some quick trails you can choose from for your visit if you have decided already.
The following hiking trails are straightforward, and you would not worry about getting lost (if you're in doubt, just follow other hikers!).
I lined up the hiking courses according to distance and time from the closes to the farthest...
Hike Trail 1 (0.9km, approximately 15min)
Start from: 4th Campground → Yongcheonsu → Jeolgu Mineral Spring → Samgeori (3-way Jun.) → Muneomi Hill
Hike Trail 2 (0.8km, approximately 25min)
Start from: Royal Azalea Dongsan Hill → 2nd Ggalddak Hill → 4th Campground
Hike Trail 3 (1.4km, approximately 30min):
Start from: 1st Square → Acacia Dongsan Hill → Ogyucheon → Sujung Dongsan Hill → 4th Campground
Hike Trail 4 (1.2km, approximately 40min)
Start hiking from: Samgeori Mineral Spring → Geobukbawi Rock → Sammaksa Temple
Hike Trail 5 (1.4km, approximately 50min)
Start from: Samseongsan Mt. → Seongji (Holy Land) → Samho Mineral Spring → Songam Mineral Spring → 1st Campground
Hike Trail 6 (1.5km, approximately 55min)
Start from: Hwalteo → 3rd Campground → 2nd Campground → 1st Campground
Hike Trail 7 (1.9km, approximately 65min)
Start from: 2nd Square → Royal Azalea Dongsan Hill → Samakjeong → Samgeori (3-way Junction) → Ggalddak Hill
Hike Trail 8 (2.8km, approximately 70min)
Start from: Senior's Zone → Dolsan → Yongamcheon → Gukgibong → 1st Campground
Hike Trail 9 (2km, approximately 80min)
Start from: 4th Campground → Yeonjusaem Spring → 3rd Ggalddak Hill → Yeonjuam Rock → Yeonjudae
Hike Trail 10 (4.5km, approximately 140min): Gwaneumsa Temple Ticket Box → Dwaejibawi Rock → Yeonjudae
You can get anything you would need in preparation for your day's hike at Gwanaksan Mountain. After your leisurely (or could be exhausting one!), you can easily find refreshing food and drinks nearby the mountain.
Basically, you can find the following facilities...
Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 관악구 관악로 (신림동)
Website: www.english.gwanak.go.kr (available in English and Korean languages)
Various public vehicles can bring you nearby the mountain. Aside from the taxi, you can take any bus or a subway to get close to the mountain.
Seoul Subway Line
Take a subway that passes through Seoul National University Station (Line 2), then proceed to Exit 3.
At Exit 3, take a bus bound for Seoul National University Entrance (SNU) where you should get off. (서울대입구)
Same as above, get off at Seoul National University Entrance bus stop. You can take any of these numbers: 501, 5412, 5515, 5516, 5517, 5528, 5614, 6512, 6513, or 6514.
Thanks for reading this and I wish you an enjoyable day hike at Gwanaksan Mountain.