On my last hike at the beginning of May, I visited Bukhansan National Park’s Dobongsan Mountain. The national park is divided into two sections: the Dobongsan side, and the Bukhansan side. For my second hike in the park, I wanted to visit the Bukhansan side. I wanted to visit Insubong (인수봉/810m) after seeing pictures of it on the Korean hiking website www.koreasanha.net. There are lots of trails and ways to enter the park, so I called tourist information and they suggested I start from the neighborhood of Ui-dong (우이동) (directions at bottom).
At the Ui-dong entrance to the park is a ranger station where you can get really nice maps, but they are only written in Korean. Trail signs, on the other hand, are written in both Korean and English. It may help to have your route planned before you go if you can’t read the Korean language map.
On of my main goals of the hike was to get photos of Insubong like some that I saw online. To do that, you need to hike to an adjacent peak called Yeongbong (영봉/694m). It takes about an hour to get to Yeongbong from the start and makes a great destination if you want a short hike. There is space for sitting and eating while taking in great views.
After taking the shots I wanted, I made my way back towards Baekundae (백운대/836.5m), the highest peak in the entire park. That took just over an hour. The last bit of climb includes some rock scrambling and the use of ropes and rails for balance. Around the peak of Baekundae is plenty of space for folks to sit and relax. Standing on top of Baekundae allows you to take in what might be the most fantastic scenery in the park. This scenery includes another look at Insubong as well as other rocky outcrops.
The only way I could tell that people get to the top of Insubong is to use climbing gear. There were easily 50 people climbing it’s giant walls at the same time. It was interesting to see so many people climbing and to marvel at how small they look compared to the mountain peak.
Sitting at my desk and looking back, this is probably the greatest hike one can do when visiting Seoul. I know it was only my second hike in the park and there are many other trails, but I’m comparing this hike to the 39 other hikes I’ve written about on this travel blog. I would easily put this one in the top 10 hikes in Korea.
Gwanghwamun Station Exit 2
Bus 109 (50 minutes) to the very last stop at Ui-dong Bus Terminal
Cross the street to take the temple shuttle which departs every 30 minutes (first come first serve and you are asked to donate 1,000 Won to the temple when you get off) OR taxis are available but they will only take you if they have 4 passengers at 2,000 Won a head. If you aren’t in a group of 4, you will have to wait until more hikers arrive to share the taxi.
You can also walk up the hill but that will take 30 minutes and some of your hiking energy.