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A journey to the top of Kwanak-san, a beautiful mountain that is located right inside of Seoul city!

Living in South Korea, you must be familiar with hiking as a common outdoor activity. Korea is famous for beautiful natural landscapes and mountains with convenient hiking trails for people who like adventures, fitness and nature. Beside high mountains as Seorak-san (1.708 meters) or Jiri-san (1.915 meters), Kwanak-san mountain shines its own way with a humble altitude as only 632 meters and its perfect location which is inside of Seoul city. The reason why this mountain is also in the must-go list of Seoul hikers is because of its convenient accessibility and breath-taking view of the whole city. The mountain includes Samseongsan and Janggunbong Peak on the southwest side of Gwanak-gu. There are several diverse hiking courses starting from different directions, which you can choose basing on hikers’ endurance, hiking levels and transportations. It is also home to beautiful temples that you can pay a visit on the way if you are interested in learning about Korean Buddhism and culture. There are plenty of information posted online about the hiking trails for you to research and pick the course that you want to take. Or if you want a random adventures, you can always follow other North Face, Red Face, and Kolon Sport clad senior citizens on the weekend from the stations nearby, most of them will lead you to the top of the mountain.

Even though I am not an advanced hiker, I tried one of the tough trails which starts from Sadang station (line 4). You can easily find the way to the bottom of the mountain. After getting out of exit 4 of Sadang station and walk straight for around 300 meters, you will see a coffeeshop named Café WOW on the right. The way to Kwanaksan is just right next to the café. There is a map of the mountain at the entrance and several signs on the way to show you the direction to the main spots. The hard part of this trail is that you will have to experience some semi-rock climbing sections so if you are afraid of height or not familiar with climbing, you should take another route. However, the result was very rewarding. As you get to the summit, you an see the whole Seoul city right in front of you. If you go on a nice weather day, the view is very breath taking. Additionally, you can check-in with South Korean flag near the top of the mountain. I strongly recommend this route since there are many spots to take pictures with the city. The total time for hiking would be around 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on how many breaks you take on the way. If you come with a group of friends or family, it would be a perfect idea to pack kimbabs or chicken for a picnic on the top of the mountain. Since Kwanak-san mountain is located in Seoul city, it is surrounded by many bus stops or subway stations, which is more convenient and easier if you want to explore another route on the way down.

Although there are many great mountains in South Korea to explore, I believe that Kwanak-san should be one everybody’s list if you live or visit Korea, to have a good observation of beauty of Seoul city, and to relax and enjoy a actively healthy weekend.


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