Planning a visit to Seoul? You need to make the time to wander around Bukhansan National Park – here’s why.

Did you know that there’s a natural oasis nestled within the bustling metropolis of Seoul? We’re talking about Bukhansan National Park, of course. This park, with its awe-inspiring landscapes and rich biodiversity, offers a sanctuary for both nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. 

Step away from the towering buildings and high tech city and instead marvel at the likes of majestic granite peaks, lush forests, and ancient fortresses.

Ready to explore? Read on to discover our Bukhansan National Park guide, complete with everything you need to know before you go.

How to Get To Bukhansan National Park

Bukhansan National Park

Getting to Bukhansan National Park is relatively easy. To get to the West side, you’ll need to take the metro to Jongno 3-ga Station and then catch bus 704 to Bukhansanseong Fortress Entrance. Or, to get to the East entrance, you can take a train from Seoul Station with a change at Sungshin Women’s Univ. Station.

When to Visit Bukhansan National Park

Bukhansan National Park in autumn

If you’re wondering about the best time to visit Bukhansan National Park, we recommend planning your trip during spring or autumn. This is when the weather is pleasant (but not scorching) and the park is at its prettiest. 

The park experiences extreme temperatures: during winter the paths can get incredibly icy, while summers can get very hot and crowded. When it’s raining, be super careful; the paths can become slippery, making hiking potentially dangerous. 

We also recommend avoiding visiting on weekends if possible, as the park tends to be more crowded. At the very least, make sure to start your hikes early to bypass the crowds.

The Best Things to do in Bukhansan National Park

Break a Sweat on Bukhansan’s Hiking Trails

Hiker on hiking trail in Bukhansan National Park

The towering granite peaks of Bukhansan, aptly named “Big Mountain,” are well worth exploring. And the best way to do this is on foot.

The trail network within the park is extensive, catering to all skill levels and providing ample opportunities to soak in the beauty of the surrounding nature.

We’ll delve into our favourite treks towards the end of this article, but trust us when we say that you won’t want to miss hiking to Baegundae Peak. It might be one of the more sweat-inducing climbs, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.

Go Rock Climbing

Rock Climber, Bukhansan

If the thought of scrambling along cliff edges in Bukhansan National Park sends shivers down your spine, you’ll want to head to Insubong. This is the second highest peak in Bukhansan National Park and offers plenty of exciting rock climbing routes for enthusiasts. 

These are the routes we recommend:

Elephant Ridge is the most famous of all routes for rock climbers. You’ll find it on the east face of Insubong. It’s known to be pretty challenging, and features a mix of cracks, slabs, and face climbing.

Head to the northern face of Insubong to find the Lotus Flower Tower. Head here to marvel (and get stuck into) its unique shape and beautiful climbing lines. It offers a mix of crack climbing and face climbing, with pitches ranging from moderate to difficult levels.

For super experienced climbers, White Tiger can be found on the west face of Insubong. It features sustained vertical and overhanging sections, testing both strength and technique. 

Or, if you’re after an easier route, the Jamdoldae section of Insubong is perfect. It has a variety of climbing options, including cracks, chimneys, and face climbs. 

Admire Temples

Temple, Bukhansan

There are so many temples scattered throughout the park. And, while we could write an entire Bukhansan National Park guide uncovering them alone, there are a couple of spots you should not miss.

Jingwansa is a temple not too far from Eunpyeong Hanok Village. While the original structure was burnt down in the Korean War (like many in and around Seoul), the temple was rebuilt. Today, the complex boasts Daeungjeon, The Hall of Sakyamuni, and a huge main statue of Buddha with Mireukbosa and Jehwagalhwabosal flanking each side. 

Samgaksan Doseonsa Temple is another temple you should definitely make time to visit. It is dedicated to the Jogye order and is the largest temple in Bukhansan National Park – it’s also the most historically significant temple in Seoul.

Climb Baegundae (836m)

Baegundae, Bukhansan

We’re going to touch on the route to climb Baegundae in a moment but, if you’re not confident enough to climb on your own, taking a tour with an expert climber is never a bad idea.

Generally, Baegundae is quite a gruelling hike, though it’s possible for most people who are reasonably fit. That said, guides will be able to customise your route and tour depending on your fitness level, as well as providing moral and physical support along the way.

Read Next: Essential Tips for Beginner Mountain Climbers

Catch the Sunrise on Top of Bukhansan

Sunrise on Bukhansan National Park

Can you think of anything more magical than watching the sunrise over Seoul as you’re perched hundreds of metres above the city? This tour offers you just that.

You’ll camp overnight in Bukhansan National Park, before waking up bright and early to begin your hike. You’ll be accompanied by a sherpa, who will ensure you get to the top safely and as quickly as possible.

What’s more, this is the only sunrise hiking tour in the whole of Korea. Which, alone, is enough reason to book, we think.

Visit Eunpyeong Hanok Village next to the park

Eunpyeong Village, Bukhansan

Visiting a hanok village is a must on any Seoul itinerary, so we had to include Eunpyeong Hanok Village in our Bukhansan National Park Guide. Spending time in a hanok village – or a traditional Korean village – is the best way to delve deeper into the country’s rich cultural heritage. Stepping into this neighbourhood is akin to travelling back in time, as ancient hanok houses line the narrow streets.

Head here to snap some photos of beautiful Korean architecture, with intricately-crafted wooden structures, graceful tiled roofs, and picture-perfect courtyards. 

Best Hikes in Bukhansan National Park

Baegundae Peak

Baegundae hiking trail, Bukhansan

Distance: 8.5km • Difficulty: Hard • Map

The most iconic of all the park’s trails, Baegundae Peak is the best hike in Bukhansan National Park. We’re not kidding; along the way you’ll wind through lush forests, meander along rocky paths, and unveil hidden gems such as tranquil streams and cascading waterfalls.

While the hike is undoubtedly challenging, with steep ascents and rugged trails, the rewards are worth it. As you ascend towards Baegundae Peak, you’ll notice that you can even see the huge metropolis that is Seoul below you.

We’ll warn you, though, we’ve heard of wait times of up to 45 minutes to take photos with the sign at the top.

Dobongsan Trail

Dobongsan hiking trail, Bukhansan
Image credit: AllTrails

Distance: 6.3km • Difficulty: Hard • Map

This picturesque trail unfolds within the vast Dobongsan Mountain, adorned with granite peaks and cascading waterfalls. This might just be the most beautiful trail in the park, winding its way through dense forests and revealing breathtaking panoramic views.

Though, the highlight of the Dobongsan Trail is the awe-inspiring rocky peak, a rewarding challenge even for the most avid of climbers. Keep your eyes peeled because, along the way, you might just spot serene temples nestled in tranquil nooks.

Bukhansan Northern Half Trail

Bukhansan Northern Half hiking trail
Image credit: AllTrails

Distance: 14.2km • Difficulty: Hard • Map

Fancy exploring the Northern half of Bukhansan National Park? The aptly-named Bukhansan Northern Half Trail allows you to do just that on an extremely rugged – and slightly technical, in parts – hike through the Seoul national park.

Or, if you’re up for an extra challenge, you can continue the trek. You can use this map to keep going and eventually summit Baegundae. This will take around 12 hours, so it’s a pretty big test of your stamina. 

Obong Course

Distance: 7.6km • Difficulty: Hard • Map

The Obong Course is another Bukhansan National Park hike you need to add to your itinerary. The views along the entire 3-hour-ish route are stunning, though the main pull of this trail is the gorgeous Songchu Falls that you get to pass along the way.

This trail might be fairly tricky (it’s nowhere near as difficult as the trail map makes out though) but it’s mainly shaded, so it’s ideal if you want to take rests along the way.

Bukhansan National Park: Top Tips to Know Before You Go

View of Seoul from Bukhansan National Park

• It goes without saying that you should respect the park and its wildlife. Do not feed or disturb the animals, and certainly don’t litter.

• Make sure you take plenty of water with you – it gets super hot in the summer months. It’s also a good idea to pack snacks as there aren’t many food options within the park.

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