Wed, Dec 08, 2021, 18:23 KST (UTC+9)  Seoul  Korea

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Travel Highlights

Travel Highlights

Trekking Around Seoul This Fall

  • Tag etc Tour
  • Date11/08/2021
  • Hit1879

View of Seoul from the summit of Inwangsan Mountain

In a mountainous country like Korea, it’s no wonder that hiking is a popular activity among residents even in the sprawling metropolis of Seoul! There are lots of great mountains that are also easily accessible from the city, but we’ve picked out the very best ones for a trek this fall!

Inwangsan Mountain & Cheongun Literature Library

View of Seoul from the summit of Inwangsan Mountain

▶ Inwangsan Recommended Course: Approx. 2 hr round-trip

For the best views of the city juxtaposed with the mountain, we recommend Inwangsan Mountain. Located just north of the city center, Inwangsan provides a relatively easy hike complete with the old fortress wall, making it a popular choice. There are a few trails to choose from, but the one starting from Gyeongbokgung Station on Subway Line 3 is recommended; this course passes through the cozy neighborhood of Buam-dong.

  • Inwangsan Fortress Trail
  • Inwangsan Fortress Trail

The section of trail that follows the old city fortress wall has evenly spaced stone stairs. Before you realize it, you’ll have made your way up the mountain; just look behind you to see exactly how far! The landscape of forest fading into the city, with Namsan Seoul Tower standing atop Namsan Mountain in the distance is quite unique.

Looking over Seoul at sunset from Beombawi Rock on Inwangsan Mountain

Inwangsan Mountain also has many photo spots for taking snaps of the sunrise and sunset, as well as the urban nightscape. The fortress wall undulates like a snake before the twinkling city at night.

  • Cheongun Literature Library
  • Cheongun Literature Library

While in the area of Buam-dong, be sure to stop at Cheongun Literature Library. This public library is unique in that it is located in a traditional hanok building in the mountains! The peaceful forest creates the perfect ambiance for relaxing with a good book, while the view of a tiered waterfall outside the window is Instagram-worthy.

Inwangsan Mountain Trail

  • Address (Entrance): San2-1, Muak-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 무악동 산2-1)
  • Directions: Walk for approx. 15 min from Muakjae Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 1
    * Alternatively, walk for approx. 50 min from Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 1
  • Operating hours: Open 24 hr
    * For hikers’ safety, entering after sunset not recommended
  • Admission: Free

Cheongun Literature Library

  • Address: 40, Jahamun-ro 36-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 자하문로36길 40)
  • Directions: Take Bus No. 7022 from Gyeongbokgung Station Bus Stop (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 3 to Jahamungogae.Yoon Dong-ju Culture Hall Bus Stop and walk for approx. 10 min
    * Alternatively, walk for approx. 40 min from Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2
  • Operating hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-22:00 / Sundays 10:00-19:00
    * Closed Mondays, January 1, Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) & Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) holidays
  • Admission: Free

Gwanaksan Mountain & Sharosu-gil Street

Gwanaksan Lake Park

▶ Gwanaksan Yeonjudae Course: Approx. 3~4 hr round-trip
▶ Gwanaksan Lake Park Course: Approx. 1 hr 20 min round-trip

Reaching an altitude of 633 meters, Gwanaksan Mountain is a fairly large mountain, located between southern Seoul and Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do. The many mountain trails, from easy walks around the park at the foot of the mountain to the hard-but-worth-it trek to Yeonjudae Hermitage at the summit and everything in between, make this mountain a great choice for visitors of all skill levels.

  • Gwanaksan Yeonjudae Hermitage
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Yeonjudae Hermitage is perched atop rocks that appear to have been cut and then stood up together. It is also one of the most amazing views you can find on the mountain. The path isn’t for the faint of heart, though. The trail is littered with rocks of all sizes and splits at various points along the way. However, these obstacles just make the success of reaching the summit feel even greater.

  • Gwanaksan Lake Park
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If the Yeonjudae Course is too intimidating, you can still enjoy a leisurely walk around Gwanaksan Lake Park. The lake area is located about 1 kilometer from the entrance of Gwanaksan Park. It’s a perfect compromise between the city and nature, with the autumn sky reflecting in the still waters of the lake, and the sounds of birds blending with campus life at Seoul National University.

Sharosu-gil Street Gate A (top) & Unique storefronts along Sharosu-gil Street (bottom)

For dinner, head to Sharosu-gil Street, a 600-meter-long stretch of road between Seoul Nat’l Univ. Station’s Exit 2 and Nakseongdae Station. The street is lined with restaurants selling all kinds of foods, from Korean to Thai, Japanese, Italian, and even French cuisine. The area is popular among the young students who study around here as well as the older generation who enjoy hiking in the area.

  • Samgyeopsal kimchi jeon & makgeolli
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There are plenty of options to choose from, but if you’re coming after hiking, it’s an unspoken rule among hikers that you stop for makgeolli (unrefined rice wine) and jeon (pancake)! A glass of sweet rice wine with spicy and sour kimchi jeon will make all your fatigue disappear.

Gwanaksan Yeonjudae Course

  • Address (Entrance): 203, Sillim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 관악구 신림동 203)
  • Directions: Take Bus No. 5513 from Seoul Nat’l Univ. Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 3 to Seoul National University Bus Stop and walk for approx. 40 min to Gwanaksan Lake Park
  • Operating hours: Open 24 hr * For hikers’ safety, entering after sunset not recommended
  • Admission: Free

Gwanaksan Lake Park

  • Address: 203, Sillim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 관악구 신림동 203)
  • Directions: Take Bus No. 5513 from Seoul Nat’l Univ. Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 3 to Seoul National University Bus Stop and walk for approx. 40 min to Gwanaksan Lake Park
  • Operating hours: Open 24 hr
  • Admission: Free

Sharosu-gil Street Makgeolli Café J

  • Address: 31, Gwanak-ro 14-gil, Gwanak-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 관악구 관악로14길 31)
  • Directions: Walk for approx. 5 min from Seoul Nat’l Univ. Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 2
  • Operating hours: 18:00-03:00 (Open all year round)
  • Signature menus: Samgyeopsal kimchi jeon 14,000 won / Makgeolli 5,000~6,000 won

Cheonggyesan Mountain & Mountain lodge-concept café

Cheonggyesan entrance (top) & Cheonggyesan Mountain (bottom)
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▶ Cheonggyesan Recommended Course: Approx. 3 hr 30 min round-trip

With small stones and a lush forest spread on both sides of a valley stream, the foothills of Cheonggyesan Mountain are charming, while the steep upper reaches make it more of a challenge than the previously mentioned mountains. Being accessible via public transportation in just one hour from Gangnam Station, it’s a popular getaway location for Seoulites.

Maebongbawi Rock at the summit of Cheonggyesan Mountain

Maebongbawi Rock at the summit of Cheonggyesan Mountain is a photo spot you can’t skip! The view of the forest and plains spreading out in the background makes for a stunning photo in good or bad weather!

Café Sotsot 618
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  • GGGGG

Café Sotsot 618 is an eco-friendly café located at the entrance to Cheonggyesan’s main trail. The café interior and menu are all themed to evoke the feeling of a stay at a mountain lodge. One of the café’s signature menus is ssanghwacha, a medicinal herb tea that is sure to revive your energy after a hard climb. The lower level of the café also operates a gift shop selling items such as key rings and tote bags made from recycled materials with personalized embroidery.

Cheonggyesan Mountain Trail

  • Address (entrance): 13, Wonteo 2-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 서초구 원터2길 13)
  • Directions: Walk for approx. 10 min from Cheonggyesan Station (Suin-Bundang Line), Exit 2
  • Operating hours: Open 24 hr
    * For hikers’ safety, entering after sunset not recommended
  • Admission: Free

Café Sotsot 618

  • Address: 11, Wonteo 2-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 서초구 원터2길 11)
  • Directions: Walk for approx. 10 min from Cheonggyesan Station (Suin-Bundang Line), Exit 2
  • Operating hours: 08:00-18:00 (Open all year round)
  • Signature menus: Americano 4,000 won / Ssanghwacha 6,000 won / S’more plate 8,000 won

More Info

  • 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

* This column was last updated in October 2021, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.
* Column content provided by TRAVELHOLIC writer Jolly Kim (김지영)

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