Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park, Seoul, South Korea

Located within the Seoul City boundary, Baegunbong (or Beakundae, 836m), the highest peak in Bukhansan National Park, is a spectacular lump of granite, and climbing it makes for an excellent and easily accessed day-hike. Just expect many others to join you if it’s the weekend or a holiday.

Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park

Bukhansan National Park (Dobong Section) is located in the northern suburbs of Seoul. The highest peak, Daegunbong (or Daekundae, 836m), is an enormous granite summit that provides excellent views of the surrounding area (subject to weather and pollution levels). The walk to the top gets quite adventurous as you walk steeply up the smooth granite summit, inevitably queuing with many others on the narrow and precipitous sections if you do it on a weekend or holiday (as I did). But despite the crowds it was an excellent walk.

My photographs from the day were rather hazy with pollution, which is to be expected given the mountain sits in a metropolis of over 25 million people (though a bit less when I climbed it in 2005). The mountain itself is very attractive though, so there’s still lots to look at if you can’t make out much of the city and surrounds.

Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
The view of Bukhansan National Park from a family friend’s place.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
The view of Bukhansan National Park from a family friend’s place.

Track Notes

The national park is accessible at various points by public transport, so you can choose a one way route and still get home easily enough. I can’t actually remember what the route I took was, but it was a one way route with a temple at the end (perhaps from left to right in the Google Map below). Here’s some info on the park from Visit Korea. Whatever route you take there will be some steep sections, and it’s probably not great for those with a fear of heights. Nevertheless, I remember that some younger hikers were doing the walk in their flat soled sneakers, so it can’t have been all that hard. Perhaps at the hard end of moderate if you take a long route.

Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan: The Scenery

Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
The view back towards the city as we ascended.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
On our way up. I think this may have been part of a historic fortress wall.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
Looking up at the summit.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
The summit cliffs.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
Looking up at the summit. You can just see a long line of people to the top right of these massive granite summit cliffs. There were cues to the top at some of the slowest and most precipitous places, although there were railings at these spots to stop us all from falling off.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
On the summit.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
A touch crowded on top!
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
Hazy views towards the city.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
Looking back up at the bulky summit.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
A younger me.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
A temple building at the end of our walk.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
A temple building at the end of our walk.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
Vessels for fermenting soya bean paste and chilli paste.
Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
You rub the happy Buddha’s belly to gain prosperity.

Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park

Baegunbong/Baekundae ascent, Bukhansan National Park
This structure houses a big bell.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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