Bugaksan & Seoul’s Nature

Posted on February 4, 2013

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Seoul Nature1

After finding a free map aboard the AREX Airport Train, I discovered there is a trail that runs through Seoul along a fortress wall that was built long ago. I had read during research that a trip to the top of Bugaksan Mountain (342m) is a great way to stretch one’s legs, which sounded nice since I still had a lot of travel ahead of me before Indonesia.

Mt Bugaksan from the Fortress Wall Trail

Mt Bugaksan from the Fortress Wall Trail

After getting slightly lost, I eventually found signs that pointed me towards the “Fortress Wall Trail,” which I knew would lead me to the base of Bugaksan. I ended up on the main trail of Inwangsan Mountain, but kept following my nose (and asking plenty of military guards near Inwangsan trailhead) towards Bugaksan, which was visible for much of the walk.

Golden Tiger near one of the numerous guard stations

Golden Tiger near one of the numerous guard stations

Mt. Inwangsan from the Fortress Wall Trail

Mt. Inwangsan from the Fortress Wall Trail

One thing I noticed while walking was that the trees between the Inwangsan trailhead and the Bugaksan trailhead completely engulfed me; I could have sworn I was walking in a Swedish forest rather than the third most populated city in the world.

Bridge & Trees on the Fortress Wall Trail

Along the Trail

After exiting the trees and finding and photographing a few of the gazebo-like structures, I found the check-in location. I had never had to show my passport and wear a permit to climb a mountain before, but then again, I had never been to Seoul before.

Bugaksan Check-In Station

Bugaksan Check-In Station

Long Stairclimb to the Summit

Long Stairclimb to the Summit

Pictures were generally frowned upon, but this abandoned guard station allowed for some sneaky shots.

Pictures were generally frowned upon, but this abandoned guard station allowed for some sneaky shots.

The stairs felt wonderful for my sleepy legs, and it wasn’t long before I found myself looking at a hazy skyline from the 342 meter summit of Mt. Bugaksan.

Other people on the summit of Bugaksan

Other people on the summit of Bugaksan

Seoul's Hazy Skyline

Seoul’s Hazy Skyline

Inwangsan from Bugaksan

Inwangsan from Bugaksan

Summit Panorama. For an interactive version of this photo, click on it.

Summit Panorama. For an interactive version of this photo, click on it.

Your author upon the summit

Your author upon the summit

Later on, as I dined on kimchi fried rice in Samcheong-dong, I reflected on my little layover hike, and realized that Seoul is a pretty great place, with its wonderful architecture, pleasant nature escapes, and very nice people. I will gladly return if given the opportunity in the future, and I would love to explore more of the nature of South Korea in the future.

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Posted in: South Korea, Trekking