I recently claimed that Insubong in Bukhansan National Park may be the best hike in Seoul and a likely candidate for top 10 hikes in Korea, but now that I’ve been to Suraksan (수락산/637.7m), I think Insubong has some competition. I went hiking on Suraksan on May 18, and boy was I impressed at the top.
I started at Suraksan Station (Line 7/Exit 1) where a short walk got me to the entrance of the park. From there it was about one hour of hiking along a tree covered trail before the great views started. The first of which was around Doksuri Bawi (독수리바위/Eagle Rock), one of four really cool, named rocks I saw on this hike.
Just before getting to Doksuri Bawi, a Korean gentleman I was speaking with told me that Suraksan is a popular mountain because it is made ‘manly’ by all the rock scrambling you have to do. Whether that makes it manly or not, I don’t know, but I do know that it makes a fun hike.
Soon after I stumbled upon Baenang Bawi (배낭바위/Backpack Rock), a humongous set of boulders. There is a set of stairs that you can take around the boulders, but I saw one man who passed around it like a rock climber.
Once again, I crossed another rock formation called Cheolmo Bawi (철모바위/Steel Helmet Rock). There were a couple of places in that area that looked great for having a picnic and so I made a mental note and proceeded to the peak. Oftentimes, the peak area is not the best place for relaxing because there may not be enough space or shade.
After just over an hour and a half of hiking, I had reached the peak. It was an attractive rock outcropping with a Korean flag planted at the top. I considered staying there and eating, but really wanted to find more shade because it was like 30 degrees Celsius that afternoon.
I continued my hike in the same direction until I found a suitable place to eat. There were many decent places all over the mountain, but at this point, I was being picky. I wound up walking to a secluded area beneath some rocks to have my lunch. Midway through my lunch, two Great Tits flew into a nearby tree and I captured a few photos of this lovely looking and sounding bird.
After eating, I decided to keep going in the same direction and eventually follow the trail signs down to one of the nearby subway stations. Taking this alternate route down the mountain afforded me even more stunning views.
The problem with that plan, however, was that the signs on the mountain are too far and few between. I wound up at the bottom of the mountain on the other side and didn’t have a clue how to get back to the subway. That didn’t matter because I called Seoul information at 1330 and told them the name of the bus stop I was at and they helped me to choose the right one to take!
Sitting at my desk and looking back, Suraksan ranks pretty high among hikes in Korea for me because it’s so convenient to get to from Seoul and is a ‘manly’ rock scrambling hike with some really nice views. At this point, if I had to recommend two hikes in Seoul, I would choose Insubong and Suraksan. Both were really enjoyable for me.