Hiking in Bukhansan Dulegil

One thing that makes Seoul (서울) stand out among many metropolitan cities around the world is nature. For instance, a metropolitan city with several mountains available for hiking isn’t common. Yes, Seoul has many mountains(some happen to be national parks) visited by thousands of hikers every year. Among them is Bukhansan Mountain (북한산), which covers northern part of Seoul and a bit of Goyang-si (고양시), a satellite city north of Seoul.

Bukhansan Mountain is one of five mountains that represent Korea (both North and South Korea). It is a very popular mountain for hikers for its diverse hiking courses and great sceneries. Over the last few years, it gained popularity among non-hikers as well with Dulegil (둘레길), trails built along byways of the mountain. The purpose of walking Dulegil is not to reach the top, so people who don’t like hiking can appreciate Bukhansan Mountain too. Though it varies depending on which course you choose, most of the courses Dulegil offers are quite easier than actual hiking courses. So you don’t need fancy hiking gears when you visit Bukhansan Mountain Dulegil. All you need is a pair of comfortable sneakers and maybe a bottle of water in case you get thirsty.

Bukhansan Mountain Dulegil offers 21 courses in total. Further information is available on English website of Bukhansan Mountain Dulegil (http://www.knps.or.kr/portal/dulegil/bukhansan/eng/index.do). Not all courses are introduced in this page, but it’s more than enough to take a look at and choose a course you want to visit. Among these courses, I would like to introduce Course 8 named Gureumjeongwon-gil section (구름정원길). 구름정원 means ‘cloud garden’ in Korean. This section has a high altitude, which makes it as if it’s actually touching the sky. All the nut pines that fill this trail make the walk extra refreshing(reason why this course is my favorite).

Gureumjeongwon-gil starts at Bulgwang Station of line no.6 (6호선 불광역) and Yeonsinnae Station of line no.6 (6호선 연신내역). Both ends are not that far from each other, and it doesn’t really matter where you start out. I started at Bulgwang station, from the direction of Bukhansan Mountain Ecologic Park. You have to walk a little bit from the station to get on the course, but there are many signs around so it’s no trouble finding the starting point. There are sings on the road too!

It takes about 40 minutes to 1 hour before you reach the wooden stairs in the photo. Meanwhile, you can take some time to appreciate the trees along the trail. As mentioned in the website there are many pine trees in this course, but there are other kinds of trees as well. Being surrounded by trees is such a refreshing experience, and it’s a good way to relieving stress.

Although Dulegil doesn’t have a summit, there are certain points where you can enjoy great views of Seoul. Take a look at this photo.

It was taken at a midpoint of the first photo and the wooden stairs, but it somewhat felt like the top of the mountain because of its view. You can see all the apartments( which I personally think is a significant symbol for life in Seoul) of Bulgwang. This point is where you can take a break before you continue to the harder part of the course. Drink some water and have some snacks too! My snack for the day was fresh peach.

Gureumjeongwon-gil is a 5 kilometer course and I wasn’t able to finish it. However, I was able to reach the wooden stairs part of the train and it was really great! I could finally see how it got the name ‘cloud garden/garden int he sky). With its high altitude and surrounding trees, it felt like I was really walking somewhere near the sky.

As I wasn’t able to go to the end of the course, my companion and I decided to get off the course somewhere in the middle. Along the way out we were able to run into a small  Buddhist temple located in the mountain. There are many temples located along Dulegil, so if you’re interested in Buddhism or even just temples make sure you stop by.

There are signs along the trail and they offer English translations of different names you need to know in order to find your way in or out. Just walk along the signs and I promise you won’t get lost!


Article by Jieun from Korea, a Senior in Business Administration

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