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Where to Hike in Seoul?

Trek Through History

A ZenKimchi Seoul Tour

An experience in Korea isn't complete without a visit to its mountains.

Seoul sites are fine, but hiking at Bukhansan National Park is a top Seoul attraction.

Much of Korea's history, folklore, and culture grew out of its highlands. Join us on a Small-group Seoul hike through the mountain heritage that forms much of the country's personality, followed by a mountainside meal and well-deserved drinks.

Mt. Bukhan Hike

Amble through pine forests, across passes, and through valleys to take in some of Seoul's most spectacular natural views. Visit Buddhist temples and hear histories and legends of famed monks. Muse at tales of ghosts and goblins said to populate the peaks and valleys. Learn of shamanic traditions that worship guardian mountain spirits.

After-hike Restaurant

After-hike food and drink is integral to hiking in Korea. The word for post-hike meals is hasanju, literally "descent alcohol."

The meals are a selection of fresh chicken stew boiled with roots picked from the mountain and vegetables from a local garden.

A vegetarian option is bibimbap, mixed rice and vegetables from the local garden.

Meals come with a variety of side dishes, a selection of kimchi and fresh vegetables.

The preferred after-hike drink is makgeolli, a traditional milky, slightly sweet alcohol made from rice. Beer, soju, cola, and other drinks are also available.

Breakdown of The Seoul Hike

  • Meet your guide at 10:00am at Gupabal subway station (line 3/orange line), gate 1
  • Take a short bus ride to the trailhead
  • Stretch with your guide and walk to the trailhead
  • The hike will go up an afforested valley before crossing a pass with spectacular views
  • Upon descending you'll visit Buddhist temples nestled in rugged nooks of the mountains
  • During the hike you'll be treated to history, legends, and folklore related to Korea's age-old mountain heritage
  • You'll finish up the hike at a local restaurant and enjoy traditional food and drink (included in tour price)

Important Information

When: Saturdays at 10:00am

Difficulty: Seoul Hike is approximately a 4-5 hour tour of medium grade. There is one long, steep ascent near the beginning, a short steep descent about halfway through, and a comfortable amble the rest of the way down. Special equipment, such as ropes and harnesses, are not necessary.

Suggested items: Make sure to wear comfortable footwear; hiking boots or cross trainers/sneakers are ideal. Tennis shoes, casual shoes, and other footwear that may be slippery on rock or not offer good foot support are not recommended. Comfortable clothing (weather specific) that provides ease of movement is recommended. It's best to bring layers of clothing instead of one heavy layer because layers can be removed to suit comfort. Water is essential! There will be an opportunity to refill water about halfway through the hike. Food isn't necessary, but you may wish to bring light snacks, like sandwiches, peanuts, trail mix, energy bars, etc.

Start location: You'll meet your guide inside Gupabal subway station (line 3), gate 1.

Seoul Hike: The Sunset Trail (Limited Time)

EXCLUSIVE LIMITED TIME TOUR!

Hike with one of Seoul's top English-language folklorists for a rare treat. Wind through shamanic sites, hearing tales of the mountains and how they shape Korean culture.

Witness a stunning sunset from the summit.

This is one of those life-changer moments. Don't miss out!

Key Points

  • Small group tour (6 max.)
  • Bus from and to Gupabal station is included in price
  • Total time on the mountain will be roughly five hours

Breakdown of The Sunset Trail

  • Meet your guide at 2:30pm at Gupabal subway station (line 3/orange line), gate 1
  • Take a short bus ride to the trailhead
  • Stretch with your guide and walk to the trailhead
  • The hike will go up an afforested valley and a steep slope before reaching a peak with spectacular views of the sunset and surrounding mountains
  • Upon descending in the dark (headlamp provided) you'll visit a Buddhist temple nestled in rugged nooks of the mountains
  • During the hike you'll be treated to history, legends, and folklore related to Korea's age-old mountain heritage
  • No food is included in this tour, but restaurants can recommended at the end

Important Information

When: Saturdays at 2:30pm

Difficulty: The Sunset Trail is approximately a 5 hour tour of upper medium grade. There is one long, steep ascent near the beginning, a short traverse of an exposed rocky outcropping, and a steep descent in the dark. A headlamp will be provided (at no extra cost). Special equipment, such as ropes and harnesses, are not necessary.

Suggested items: Make sure to wear comfortable footwear; hiking boots or cross trainers/sneakers are ideal. Tennis shoes, casual shoes, and other footwear that may be slippery on rock or not offer good foot support are not recommended. Comfortable clothing (weather specific) that provides ease of movement is recommended. It's best to bring layers of clothing instead of one heavy layer because layers can be removed to suit comfort. The summit is often windy and can be cold after sunset. Water is essential! At least one litre is recommended. There will be no opportunity to refill water on the trail. A snack, like sandwiches, peanuts, trail mix, energy bars, etc., and perhaps a Thermos of a hot drink, is recommended.

Start location: You'll meet your guide inside Gupabal subway station (line 3), gate 1.

Shawn Morrissey

Shawn Morrissey

Guide

Shawn is a heritage interpreter with 18 years experience living in, writing about, and studying Korean heritage and culture, plus years of mountain experience all over Korea, other parts of Asia, including the Himalaya, and North America, including the Rockies.

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