Best Travel Blog 2024

Explore Bukhansan National Park | The Ultimate Hikers Guide

Are you looking to explore the magnificent Bukhansan National Park? That’s an excellent idea!

Heading to Bukhansan National Park is like hitting the refresh button while you’re in Seoul. It’s the perfect spot for a day trip if you’re looking to swap city noise for nature vibes.

The park’s got everything: awesome mountain views, cool streams, and hidden away temples. Living and studying in Seoul was great, but I really missed hanging out in nature.

That’s why my trip to Bukhansan turned into one of my favorite adventures. It’s just an hour away by train, and super easy to get to.

The hike up can get a bit tough, but it’s totally doable and totally worth it for the views at the top. Plus, it’s a sweet break from the city’s fast pace and gives you a chance to catch your breath. Trust me, the view alone is a solid reason to go.

In this guide, I’ll give you all the information you need. I’ll cover how to get there, what to expect, which trails to take, practical information, what to bring, and everything in between.

Let’s get into it!

Bukhansan National Park as a Hiking Destination

Bukhansan National Park isn’t just any hiking spot; it’s a favorite among locals for good reason. With its stunning landscapes, challenging trails, and the promise of an epic view at the top, it draws crowds, especially on weekends.

It’s a huge chunk of nature sitting in the northeastern part of South Korea, covering about 30.86 square miles. It’s like a massive playground for anyone who digs the outdoors. You’ve got mountains to climb, forests to explore, and super clear streams. Plus, there are old-school fortresses and cool Buddhist temples scattered around. It’s right near Seoul, too, so getting there for a quick nature fix is a breeze.

Picture this: groups of hikers, fully kitted out, tackling the mountain with serious determination. It’s a sight to see and shows just how much Koreans love this outdoor challenge.

I’d been warned about the weekend rush and the hike’s tough reputation. Ignoring all that advice, I went on a sunny Saturday morning with a hangover. Luckily, it wasn’t as packed as I feared, but I’ve heard stories of hikers queuing up to reach the peak. Not the quiet mountain escape you might picture.

So, a tip from me: if you can swing it, aim for a quieter, sober weekday hike. It’s a much chiller way to experience Bukhansan’s natural beauty without the weekend warrior crowds.


How to Explore Bukhansan National Park?

Arriving From Seoul

Heading to Bukhansan Mountain from Seoul is super straightforward and only about an hour away by subway.

Here’s the lowdown:

Start by hopping on the subway and get off at Gupabal Station on Line 3, which is on the north side of the Han River. You’re basically heading from the heart of Seoul out to Gyeonggi, the region that wraps around the city to the north.

When you get to Gupabal, make your way to the bus stop just outside the station. Catch bus 34, 704, or 720 from there. Any of these buses will drop you off at the entrance to Bukhansanseong Fortress in about 15 minutes.

Not sure where to go? Just follow the crowd decked out in hiking gear since they’re all heading to the mountain.

Once you’re off the bus, just follow the signs to Bukhansan National Park’s entrance.

On your way, you’ll walk past the National Park Service where you can spot shops selling hiking gear and some spots to grab food. It’s a good idea to pick up some snacks and water before you start your climb.

There is no entrance fee for the park so don’t worry about finding a ticket office.

Oh, and a heads-up: there aren’t any restrooms along the hiking path, so use the ones here before you head up.

Which Trail to Pick

Bukhansan National Park is split into two main areas: the Bukhansan section in the south and the Dobongsan section up north. Each offers its own set of trails leading to spectacular granite peaks, and both are stunning in their own right.

Heading north, you’ll find the Dobongsan trail, a 740m climb to the Ridgetop peak. This path is sprinkled with detours to serene Buddhist temples nestled in the forest, like Cheonchuk-sa and Mangwol-sa, making the roughly 4-hour trek a journey of discovery.

In the south lies Baegundae Peak, the tallest in South Korea at 836m. Opting for this southern adventure, you’ll find multiple paths to the summit, with the Bukhansanseong Course being the most popular and accessible. This is the route I picked, and we completed the whole thing and returned in about 5 hours.

Despite its popularity, I found it manageable and surprisingly uncrowded, even on a weekend expected to be busy.

As you approach Bukhansan Mountain, keep an eye out for signs directing you to your trail’s starting point.

Uncertain about the route?

The information center is your go-to spot for guidance. Grabbing a map there can also give you a good overview of all the available trails, helping you to pick one based on steepness and distance.

The Hiking Trail

Tackling Bukhansan Mountain is a bit of a workout but totally doable and absolutely rewarding. If you’re in decent shape and don’t have any major mobility issues, you’ll crush this hike with no sweat.

The climb to the top usually takes around 2 hours, but that can vary depending on how fast you move. And hey, there’s no rush. Take your time to chill, soak in the views, and maybe munch on some snacks.

Plan for about 4-6 hours for the whole trip, so you’ve got plenty of time to take it easy and enjoy the journey.

The hike up to Baegundae Peak starts off pretty chill, with a nice path through the woods and some easy steps up a gentle slope. But as you get higher, things start to get a bit tougher. The path gets steeper, and before you know it, you’re scrambling over some serious rocks.

bukhansan mountain

The final push to the peak is the real deal – it’s steep, you’re climbing rocks, and all you’ve got is a skinny metal rope to help you out. The steps are narrow, and looking down, it’s a long way down. It might get your heart pumping and your adrenaline going.

It’s a bit scary and a challenge for sure, but super fun and totally worth the bragging rights.

Reaching Baengundae Peak

After the climb and all the effort, reaching the top makes everything worth it. You’re greeted with an incredible view of mountains stretching out as far as the eye can see, with Seoul’s endless cityscape below.

It’s not your typical natural view, but the contrast between the rugged Bukhansan and the urban sprawl is something special – something I haven’t seen anywhere else.

The peace and quiet up here are a welcome change after spending months in the hustle of the city. Even if you’re not feeling city-weary, this view is a must-see.

bukhansan mountain

For anyone into hiking or just being in nature, Bukhansan is a spot you shouldn’t miss.

Plus, it feels pretty awesome to say you’ve stood at the top of South Korea.

I heard from someone that it’s tradition to toast with soju at the peak of Baegundae. True or not, I’m all for it. It’s a cool way to celebrate your achievement.

So, take a moment to relax, soak in the view, and sip some soju for that authentic Korean vibe. And with a bit of luck, you’ll have the sun warming your face too.

Heading Back Down 

Heading back down from the peak, you’ve got a couple of choices. You can either retrace your steps or take a detour along the ancient fortress wall, which is definitely worth the extra look.

This second route tacks on an extra 4km, making your total journey about 7km.

I ended up heading straight back the way we came because the weather began to turn sour. But honestly, if it had been nicer (and if I hadn’t been feeling a bit lazy), I would’ve loved to check out the fortress.

It’s a bit of a bummer thinking the hike’s just a few kilometers. It really puts into perspective how steep Bukhansan is because it feels like you’ve trekked much farther.

Trust me, your legs will remind you of every step the next day—and probably the day after that, too.

So, yeah, who needs a gym when you’ve got Bukhansan?

Never skip leg day!

Returning to Seoul From Bukhansan National Park

Getting back into the city is easy because you’ve already done it. Simply return the exact same way you came and rest assured that transportation runs regularly – like everywhere else in Seoul.

Grab either bus 34, 704, or 720 back to Gupabal Station. 

Then get back on subway line 3 and head straight back into Seoul city.

From there you can head back to your hotel or accommodation in Seoul and take a well-deserved rest.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Bukhansan National Park?

The best time to visit Bukhansan National Park is during the autumn months of September to November when the weather is cool and the foliage turns stunning shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Spring, from April to June, is also ideal with mild temperatures and blossoming flowers. These seasons offer the most comfortable hiking conditions and the park’s natural beauty at its peak, making your climb both pleasant and picturesque.

What to Bring to Bukhansan National Park

Make sure you’re well-prepared to enjoy the hiking experience to the fullest. Here’s a quick checklist of essentials you should pack:

  • Water: Stay hydrated throughout your hike.
  • Snacks: Energy bars, nuts, or fruit for a quick boost.
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to shield yourself from the sun.
  • Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good grip.
  • Layered Clothing: The weather can change, so layers are key.
  • Map: Always handy to have, even if you’re planning to stick to the main trails.
  • First Aid Kit: Just in case of minor scrapes or blisters.
  • Camera or Smartphone: For capturing stunning views.
  • Light Raincoat: Weather can be unpredictable, better to be prepared.

For a more detailed guide on what to pack for a hike, including Bukhansan or any other adventure, make sure to check out my guide on hiking essentials. It’s packed with tips to ensure you have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable trek.

Final Thoughts About Bukhansan Mountain

And that’s it!

I hope you get to enjoy a lovely day of hiking in Bukhansan National Park.

This day trip from Seoul truly was one of my favorites and something I can highly recommend!

If you liked this post, make sure to read my ultimate guide on the best things to do in Seoul.

Feel free to include any comments or questions below!


FAQs About Bukhansan National Park

Is Bukhansan National Park worth visiting?

Absolutely! With its stunning mountain scenery, ancient temples, and diverse trails, Bukhansan National Park offers a refreshing escape from Seoul’s hustle and is a must-visit for nature and hiking enthusiasts.

Is Bukhansan a hard hike?

Bukhansan offers a range of trails from easy to challenging. The hike to Baegundae Peak, the park’s highest point, is considered challenging due to steep, rocky sections but is doable for those with a moderate fitness level.

How do I get from Seoul to Bukhansan National Park?

You can easily reach Bukhansan National Park by subway and bus from Seoul. Take the subway to Gupabal Station (Line 3), then catch bus 34, 704, or 720 to the park entrance.

How long does it take to hike up Bukhansan?

The time to hike up Bukhansan can vary, but reaching Baegundae Peak typically takes about 2-3 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level. Plan for a full day to enjoy the hike and views or a total of about 6 hours.

How much does it cost to visit Bukhansan National Park?

Entry to Bukhansan National Park is free. However, you may need to budget for transportation costs to and from the park, and any snacks or gear you might need.

The article may include affiliate links, meaning that I may receive affiliate compensation at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. Read more in my Affiliate Disclosure.


Not sure how to get the best and cheapest flights? Use Skyscanner for the best deals. The great tip is to be flexible with dates and destinations if you want the best deals.

Alternatively, get a membership with Wayaway and receive a cashback on cheap flights and hotels every time you book! Via the link, you even get a 10% discount on your membership.

Booking great accommodation is not difficult, but it sucks overpaying. Use for the greatest hotel deals and Hostelworld for amazing hostel stays. Also, sign up for Worldpackers to get FREE accommodation in exchange for work.

Traveling without insurance is a mistake that you shouldn't make - trust me, I’ve done it. I suggest SafetyWing since they offer great and flexible policies - especially for long-term traveling or for digital nomads. World Nomads is the best insurance with extensive coverage.

Figuring out how and when you need a visa can be a bit of a jungle. iVisa is a very handy and user-friendly service.

Use AirHelp as a service to get flight compensation on your European flights in case your flight was delayed, canceled, or disrupted in other ways. Often you are actually entitled to compensation!

Airalo has affordable rates for local eSIM solutions in more than 200 different destinations. Stay easily connected on your trip!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top