Uisangbong 의상봉 & Baegundae 백운대 Circuit, Bukhansan National Park 북한산국립공원, Seoul, South Korea
Top class scenery in Seoul’s Bukhansan National Park, on the best circuit in the park climbing Baegundae Peak (836m) via Uisangbong Peak.
Bukhansan National Park sits on the northern edge of Seoul, and offers some of South Korea’s most dramatic scenery, all accessible by public transport. The route to the spectacular high point of Baegundae Peak (836m) over Uisangbong Peak (502m) is probably the best in the park. Returning through Oryudong Valley adds variety, including a couple of temples and various traditional buildings. Expect granite cliffs, beautiful valleys, fortress gates and Buddhist temples.
The first third of this walk requires some scrambling, although there are always railings and chains to help. The views start very early, and just keep coming. Korea’s often hazy weather can be a bit limiting, but even then there are plenty of interesting closer landforms and other sites to make this a very satisfying walk. But choose a clear day if you can, and I’d definitely aim for a week day. Weekends are very busy. Track notes at the end.
Uisangbong 의상봉 & Baegundae 백운대 Circuit, Bukhansan 북한산: The Scenery
Returning down Oryudong Valley
We walked anti clockwise from the Bukhansanseong Visitor Centre (북한산 탐방지원센터) entrance. (See the embedded Google map below).
In 2023 you can take a train to Gupabal Station on line 3. Use exit 2 and catch either bus number 34 or 704. You’ll probably see other hikers waiting. Get off at the Bukhansanseong Fortress stop and walk a short distance to, and then up, Daeseomun-gil (Road) into the park.
Continue up the road for a few minutes. You’ll pass the return route on your left. The steep climb/ scramble to Uisangbong starts a little further along the road on your right. There are signs in Korean and English the whole way so navigation shouldn’t be too hard.
Follow the trail up and over Uisangbong, and continue along the undulating ridge over a few peaks and past many fortress gates all the way to a saddle below Baegundae. You’ll be joined by many others on the final short and steep ascent on rock.
From the summit we returned to the saddle, and further retraced our steps for a few minutes to a junction: take the right hand option down Oryudong Valley back to the start. For some reason this route was very popular with foreigners.
The dotted line is a short diversion we took (by mistake) which crosses the river on a road bridge and visits a temple and big standing Buddha (“Amitasa”). This is worth it if you have the time. Earlier on there is another small temple you can visit just a minute’s walk off the track.
We took about 6-7 hours with most time taken in the first half of the walk. There are numerous other options in the park, and since you’re likely to take public transport you don’t need to start and end in the same place like we did.