Bukhansan National Park, Seoul: Ultimate Hiking Guide (2019)

Bukhansan National park is a perfect day trip from Seoul in South Korea. Relax from the busy city and explore some stunning natural scenery. You can get to the Mt. Bukhansan hiking trail by public transportation. You will be amazed by an incredible view of Seoul.

We have prepared an Ultimate Online Blog Guide for you with all the information you need for hiking Bukhansan National Park mountain.

Climbing Mt. Bukhansan is a great adventure!
Climbing Mt. Bukhansan is a great adventure!

How to get to Bukhansan National Park

The biggest advantage of Bukhansan mountain is, that it’s easy to get there by public transportation (subway) from Seoul. It’s an amazing and popular day trip from Seoul.

How to get to Bukhansan trail?

  1. Take the metro (subway) – Orange line number 3 (direction to Daehwa).
  2. Get off at Gupabal Station (Exit 1).
  3. Get on bus 704.
  4. Get off at Bukhansanseong Fortress Entrance (북한산성) station.

Beware, that waiting lines on bus stations could be really long in the high season. If you hike in a group, you can take a taxi instead (it should cost around ₩6,000 from Gupabal to Park entrance).

After that just follow signs “Baegundae” or other people (there will probably be a lot of other hikers).

You can grab a map from the Information Center, which is located at the entrance.

View of the Bukhansan mountain from the trail
View of the Bukhansan mountain from the trail

Directions to descend from Bukhansan Baegundae Peak

You have two options:

  1. Take the same route back to Bukhanseong Fortress.
  2. Continue to the other side of the National Park.

If you choose the second option, than just follow signs to “Daedongmun Gate”.

After you arrive in the city, continue to Ui-dong bus station and take a bus to Suyu subway station.

View from the highest peak - Baegundae
View from the highest peak – Baegundae

When to visit Bukhansan National Park

You can visit Bukhansan mountain and climb to the Baegundae peak just about any time. I have two recommendations:

  1. Avoid weekends if possible – Bukhansan hiking trails are much more crowded.
  2. Start hiking as early as possible – you will avoid the biggest crowds and waiting lines for the bus.

Here is the season breakdown:

Spring and Autumn

Spring or Autumn is the best time to visit and climb Bukhansan. It’s usually the nicest weather. Temperatures on the hiking trails are not as high as in the summer and not as low as in the winter. The scenery is the most beautiful with amazing spring or autumn tree colors.

It is going to be less crowded than in summer, but you can still expect a lot of people.

Summer

I would recommend other times to visit than in summer. It is very crowded! Actually, Bukhansan National Park is listed in the Guinness World Records Book as the “Most Visited National Park per Unit Area”.

The temperatures on the hiking trails tend to be very high and climbing the trail will be more demanding.

Winter

Winter scenery of Bukhansan National Park is also stunning! Just be aware, that temperatures tend to go below freezing point and hiking trails could be very frosty and slippery.

Trail is much less crowdy in the winter, but you will still meet many other hikers there.

Winter scenery is amazing
Winter scenery is amazing

Bukhansan information and tips

  • Hiking distance: 7.7km (4.7 miles)the whole trail crossing Bukhansan National Park and reaching the Baegundae mountain
  • Hike time without transportation: Plan at least 4-5 hours to complete the full hike to Bukhansan mountain. Plan rather 5-6 hours in high season because of the crowds.
  • Hiking difficulty: Bukhansan hike is a moderate hike with some steep and strenuous parts. Be prepared for a lot of stair climbing with steel cables at the highest part of the trail. The trail is not for hiking beginners. If you are a beginner, you should think about hiking with an expert guide.
  • What to wear: Dress in more layers and definitely take some raingear and wind jacket. The weather can change quickly. It is also a good idea to wear some hat and use sunscreen because there is not much shade at the top and sun can be very strong. Definitely wear gloves during the winter season.
  • Food and Drink: There isn’t any place, where you can refill water on the hiking trail, so bring plenty of water with you. Bring enough food too. I would recommend some high protein muesli bars or nuts.
  • Korean hiking style: Hiking in South Korea is a social activity. Don’t be surprised of seeing groups of hikers doing picnics at the top of Mt. Bukhansan or even drinking Soju on the way. Be prepared for some pushy people on the trail too. It’s usually the best to let move out and let them go their fast pace to the top.
Trail leads mostly through the forest.
Trail leads mostly through the forest.

National Park entrance

  • National Park entrance admission: The park entrance is completely free! Just if you drive there by car, the parking fee is between ₩2,000-8,000.
  • Opening hours: Hiking is allowed from 2 hours before sunrise till sunset.
  • Not Access Period: All hiking trails are usually closed because of fire prevention at following days:
Wild mountain cats at the top of Bukhansan
Wild mountain cats at the top of Bukhansan

Bukhansan Hiking Map

I have prepared for you a detailed map of the whole Bukhansan hiking trail with all the important places.

You can export this map and import it to your mobile map application such as Locus Map or Maps.me.

Map Bukhansan

Accommodation in Seoul

I can highly recommend Kimchee Downtown Guesthouse, which is one of the cheapest and have a nice central location with a 2-minute walk from the train and metro stations. Alternatively, you can sleep in the more luxurious G2 Hotel Myeongdong, also right in the center.

If you have more time in Seoul, check this great Seoul Itinerary to get some inspiration, what to do.

Hike Mt. Bukhansan with Local Mountain Expert

Hiking Bukhansan could be dangerous for less experienced hikers, so it could be a good idea (especially for beginners) to hike Mt. Bukhansan with a local mountain hiking expert guide.

You will not need to worry about planning and safety restrictions and can enjoy fully just the hike itself. You will get a delicious Korean lunch box too. Book this tour here.

Bukhansan fortress wall
Bukhansan fortress wall

Bukhansan Video

Check our video with stunning drone views:

I hope this blog post will help you with your hiking climb trip to Mt. Bukhansan and if you have any comments or suggestions, please leave us a comment.

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Bukhansan National Park_ Complete Online Hiking Guide

FAQ – frequently asked questions:

How to get to Bukhansan trail?

1) Take the metro (subway) – Orange line number 3 (direction to Daehwa).
2) Get off at Gupabal Station (Exit 1).
3) Get on bus 704.
4) Get off at Bukhansanseong Fortress Entrance (북한산성) station.

When to visit Bukhansan National Park?

Avoid weekends if possible – Bukhansan hiking trails are much more crowded.
Start hiking as early as possible – you will avoid the biggest crowds and waiting lines for the bus.
Read more about which seasons are the best for climbing Bukhansan.

Is there a map I can download to my mobile phone?

Yes, there is! You can download a map of Bukhansan trail here.

Should I hike Bukhansan with mountain expert?

Hiking Bukhansan could be dangerous for less experienced hikers, so it could be a good idea (especially for beginners) to hike Mt. Bukhansan with a local mountain hiking expert guide.
You will not need to worry about planning and safety restrictions and can enjoy fully just the hike itself. You will get a delicious Korean lunch box too. Book this tour to Bukhansan with mountain expert.

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Adriana a Matěj - Czech the World - travel blog

Adriana & Matěj

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6 thoughts on “Bukhansan National Park, Seoul: Ultimate Hiking Guide (2019)”

    • Hello Tony,

      As for flying with a drone at Bukhansan, we didn’t find any barriers and we weren’t the only ones flying there. It was allowed in January 2018. However, these rules are changing quickly in the last few years. Here are the regulations: https://uavcoach.com/drone-laws-in-south-korea/
      It seems like it’s still allowed. 

      Enjoy your Bukhansan trip, it’s a beautiful place!

  1. Is this a place a 7 year old can hike? She’s tough and can hike up to ten miles without complaints and can do relatively steep climbs but she can’t do a rope ladder or bridge or climb rocky mountain sides.

    • Hello Cynthia,

      I think, she will be fine. The steepest climb with ropes is in the second picture of this article. It’s like this at several places but nothing steeper or more exposed.

      Enjoy your Bukhansan climb, it’s amazing!

  2. Hey Matěj,

    Very helpful post!

    I’m looking forward to a longer route in this National Park on a long layover in Seoul. My hope is to purchase or print a pdf map with trail names/distances if possible or at the very least download gpx/kml that I can use offline in Locus or the like. To that end, did you come across any such map or even just have any other points in the Park that you’d recommend adding to a longer route? I’m a glutton for climbing, especially if it has scrambling and doubly if there are good views.

    p.s. I’ve read up on UAV regulations in South Korea and I’m curious, did you encounter any barriers in locations you filmed in video above from January 2018?

    Cheers.

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