The peaks of Bukhansan are arguably one of the most majestic sights on the north side of the Han River, towering over the city at 836 meters, taking up a total area of 80㎢, and providing the people of Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area with a welcome natural respite from the densely-populated city. It’s the most visited national park in the world, welcoming roughly 5 million visitors per year thanks to its location in the middle of one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. It was designated a national park in 1983 and is home to numerous historical sites, temples, and tree and floral species. It’s one of the most popular weekend destinations in Seoul, with tons of hikers in fluorescent gear carrying trekking poles descending upon the entrances to the mountain with lunches and alcohol stowed away in their backpacks.
Bukhansan is filled with historical sites that span a number of Korean dynasties. The first site of significance built on the mountain was a fortress constructed by the kingdom of Baekje all the way back in the 2nd century during the Three Kingdoms Period. The Bukhansanseong Fortress was later built on the site of this fortress in 1711 during the Joseon Dynasty and remains largely intact thanks to numerous renovations and preservation efforts by the government. It’s a massive site, designed to function as a palace in case the king needed to evacuate the capital during a time of crisis. There are also some dozen temples situated around the area of the mountain, some of which date back to the beginning of the Silla Dynasty, which ruled Korea from 668 to 935 CE, and numerous Buddhist rock carvings and sculptures around the area.
Bukhansan’s status as a national park provides its wildlife with protections that allow it to flourish. The mountain is home to over 1300 different species of animals and plants, many of which can’t be found very easily in other parts of the country. Its trees and flowers burst with color come Spring and Fall, making these two seasons the peak period for hikers. To deal with the massive influx of hikers during peak season, the hiking trails may be closed on certain days in order to protect the mountain’s ecosystem from so much foot traffic.
The park is easily accessible by public transportation, with numerous buses shuttling hikers between the mountain’s entrances and the subway, along with the Ui-Line light rail which takes hikers directly to the Ui-dong entrance to Bukhansan National Park. The mountain itself is not too challenging for those who do regular physical activity and can be scaled in just a few hours, although the trails from the west side of the mountain are quicker and easier than those on the east side. The last segment of the hike gets a bit challenging, with steep stairs and rocky terrain that requires support from steel cables. There are multiple campsites and shelters located around the park that can be used for just a few thousand won in case you want to stay overnight and explore more of the mountain. Parking is also available for just 2,000 won for a regular car, going up to 7,500 won for a bus.
|Company Name||Bukhansan National Park (북한산국립공원)|
|Category||Outdoors & Adventure Family & Living Sports, Lesure & Hobbies|
Bukhansan, Ui-dong, Seoul Bukhansan
Take Line 3 to Gupabal Station and go out Exit 1. -> Transfer to Bus No. 704 and take that to Bukhansan Mountain Entrance. Take Line 4 to Gireum Station and go out Exit 3. -> Transfer to Bus No. 110B or 143 and take that to the last stop. Take the Ui-Line to Bukhansan-Ui Station and go out Exit 1. -> Walk straight and you will reach the entrance to Bukhansan National Park.