Bukhansan trail: 정릉 - 대성문 - 구기

This trail in the southern area of Bukhansan mountain national park is a moderate hike, a few rocky parts on the way up, and gentle on the way down. Total 3.5 hours. No stunning views but pretty enough, and when I went there were a quite a few other hikers around, but it wasn't super crowded.

Start: 정릉유원지. Easy to get to from Noksapyeong, Jongno or Hyehwa by taking bus 143 all the way to its terminal station (대진여객차고지).

From 정릉유원지, follow signs towards 대성문 / 영취사.

The trail up to 영취사 (temple) is pretty easy, and takes about one and a half hours. At the temple, there is a nice resting area, toilets and drinking water.

From there up to 대성문 (fortress gate), the trail gets a little more difficult, with a few narrow, steep and rocky parts.

From 대성문, follow signs to the next fortress gate, 대남문.

Warning - It's late February now, and there is still a lot of ice and snow in the area between those two gates, so you really need hiking poles and/or crampons (shoe spikes). I didn't have any - doh! - so it was really slippery and slow-going. However, that was just a small area - the rest of the trail was mostly snow-free.

Walk straight through 대남문 and go down the other side towards 구기분소 (Gugi ranger station). There are two staircases beside each other - I took the left one.

The trail down to 구기분소 is fast and easy, about an hour. At the end, keep walking through to the end of the road and you'll come to a bus stop heading back into central Seoul. There are a few restaurants and cafes along the way.

Bus 7212 goes to Jongno, but you'll have to check which direction it's going in because I think it does something weird on that road .... If in doubt, just walk a bit further to the main street and cross over to take a 7022 bus that's heading away from the tunnel! If you do go in the other direction, through the tunnel, you should get to Bulgwang subway station anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

As an alternative, slightly longer hiking option, from 대남문 you can go just a little further to 문수봉 (Munsu peak), instead of taking the steps down towards 구기분소. And from 문수봉 you can keep going to 비봉 (Bibong peak), and then downwards to 비봉탐방지원센터 and eventually you should end up at the same bus stop as the route above finished at.

Click picture for full size

Happy hiking!


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