Introducing Bukhansan National Park
Granite peak-studded Bukhansan National Park is so close to Seoul that it’s possible to visit by subway – which partly accounts for why it sees over 10 million visitors a year. It offers sweeping mountaintop vistas, maple leaves, rushing streams and remote temples. Even though it covers nearly 80 sq km, the park’s proximity to the city means it gets crowded, especially on weekends.
Popular for hiking and rock climbing, the park’s highest peak is Baegundae (836m), while rock climbers particularly enjoy Insubong (810m), a free-climber’s dream with some of the best multipitch climbing in Asia and routes of all grades. A popular hike is to the peak of Dobongsan (740m); along the way you can visit two temples, Gwangnyun-sa (광륜사) and Mangwol-sa (망월사). Tree-shaded valleys with cooling streams also provide a chance to wallow in nature for those who’d rather not hike so far or so high. Camping is possible in summer or you can stay in basic mountain shelters (per person ₩5000).
To reach the park take subway Line 1 north from Seoul to Dobongsan station, a 45-minute journey from City Hall if your train goes all the way (not all do). Exit the station and follow the other hikers across the road, past food stalls and hiking-gear shops to reach the Dobong Park Information Center, which has a basic hiking map in English.