Seoul might have a population of nearly 10 million people and a skyline featuring impressive modern skyscrapers, but, at its heart, it is a city deeply connected with nature, and one of the best ways to feel that connection is to get out and take a hike during your stay. There are plenty of great hiking trails, mostly located on Bugaksan Mountain, which stands guard over the city, that can give you different perspectives on this South Korean capital. Our curated list features three of the city’s top picks that will give you the best introduction to this fascinating city.
This hike offers an easy hike through Baeksasil Valley. A haven of gentle streams and lush greenery, the valley has been nicknamed “The Secret Garden” thanks to government restrictions on urban development in the area. The trail, just less than 4 miles long, takes about two hours and past examples of some beautiful traditional architecture. This hike is considered of average difficulty and is ideal for all skill levels.
During the Joseon era, a city wall was constructed around the old city of Seoul to protect the city from invaders from the north. Today, the wall still stands and is the focus of this hike, which starts at Changuimun Gate and ends at Hyehwamun Gate. Along the way, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the city, stunning landscapes and sites like Chotdaebawi Rock and Baegakmaru Peak. Plan for 2.5 hours to complete this nearly 3-mile hike.
Bugak Haneul-gil Trails
This network of trails is for the advanced hiker but well-worth the effort if you are up to a more strenuous excursion. The reward is an impressive excursion into the practically untouched South Korean wilderness. The paths, considered eco-trails due to the absence of human intervention over the years, connect the former presidential compound of Cheong Wa Dae with Bugak Skyway Trail deep within Bugaksan Mountain. Along the way, you will encounter sites like Damojeong Pavilion and Hogyeongam Rock. The route, which starts at Haneul Hanmadang and ends at Changuimun Gate, is 5.5 miles long and takes almost three hours to complete.
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