Seoul Trail #5: Gwanaksan Course

South Korea's flag
Asia » South Korea » Seoul » Gwanak-gu
January 24th 2016
Published: March 2nd 2016
Edit Blog Post

Today's trail would take me from Sadang Station to Seoksu Station around the base of Gwanaksan Mountain. The trail is 12.7 kilometres and would take around 5 hours and fifty minutes to complete. The trail is rated as medium difficult. It is split into two sections Sadang to entrance of Seoul University, which is 5.8 kilometres, and then Seoul University Entrance to Seoksu Station, which is 6.9 kilometres. I exited Sandang Station at exit four and walked past the various shops and bus stops. I must be made as I think I pickedthe coldest day of the year to hike on. It was -18 degrees Celsius. I had put on a few extra layers to try and fend off the cold, I hoped that they would work. I spotted a Seoul Trail sign that told me to turn right. I was a little familiar with this route as I had used it before when hiking Gwanaksan.

The first part of the trail is through an old residential area. After about ten minutes I came to a park area. The first stamp box was located there. The next part of the trail was only a few metres leading to Gwaneumsa Temple, but it was pretty steep. I'm not sure if I have been in this temple before or not, I think I have. I followed the trail around the side of the temple and up into the woods. The signs on this part of the route were counting down the kilometres to Nakseongdae, whatever that was. I was quite intrigued to get there and see whether it was something or nothing. I followed the trail through the woods. I have hiked up Gwanaksan in the past and I really like it. This trail reminded me how much I enjoyed hiking here. I could see the peak of Gwanaksan above me. The views across Seoul were okay, but hidden a bit by the trees. It is definitely worth climbing higher to see the city. I came across a big rock that must be holy or something as people had left offerings nearby. There were some of those dried fish that are hung up as a symbol of good luck and there were sweets sprinkled on the ground. I hope someone hadn't dropped them.

The trail started to descend and I came to Nakseongdae. I was impressed as it was quite a big building. Nakseongdae Park was built as a tribute to General Kang Gam-chan, whose was a general during the Goryeo Dynasty. I walked around the shrine. I was happy to see that it was open, normally things aren't open as I start the trails pretty early. There was only one other person taking a look around Nakseongdae, so it was really peaceful. The shrine was built in 1974 in the traditional style of the Goryeo period. The shrine was pretty and worth a look, however due to the freezing temperatures I didn't linger. I think that the adjacent park would be nice to sit in when the weather is nicer. There is also a two metre high statue of General Kang in front of the shrine. He looked like a true warrior.

From Nakseongdae, I crossed the road and headed up through the forest. The path climbed a little higher but not too steeply. I walked a couple of kilometres through the woods and came out by the side of Seoul University. I followed the road, crossing over the entrance to the uni. This area was quite busy as city buses dropped students and hikers off. Parts of this area seemed to be under construction, so I didn't know if I was heading in the right direction as everything appeared to be hidden behind big metal walls. However, I was on the right path as I came out at a different starting point of the trail. I knew there was another stamp box around here, so I was keeping my eyes peeled, hoping that I hadn't missed it because of the construction work. I hadn't, the box was a bit further up the trail, when it looks a little less city. There was a queue at the stamp box so I had to wait a few minutes.

I was now on the second part of the trail, which was about seven kilometres. The trail went up through the woods. The signs were pointing me in the direction for some kind of shrine and Hoapsa temple. The trail wasn't too difficult, it was a bit up and down, but not too strenuous. I could hear and see quite closely planes flying overhead. I thought that I must have passed the shrine, but I a obviously a bit crap at judging distances. I don't know what the shrine was for as there was no English translation. There were what looked like graves and a statue guarding over it. Someone was paying their respects, so I didn't stay long as I didn't want to intrude. I walked a few hundred metres from the memorial to Hoapsa Temple. There were some cutesy Buddha statues near to the temple. Hoapsa temple is located on Samsung mountain. The temple was quite busy, so I had a quick look around. There was a pretty view over Seoul. It was under the Gimpo flight path and a few planes roared past overhead.

From Hoapsa Temple, I continued onwards to Seoksu Station. It was about three or four kilometres I think. I walked along the designated trail, but there is also the Hoapsa Walking Path next to it. The Walking Path is along a next path of decking. There is also a waterfall, but it was frozen, so didn't look very impressive. The trail was all through the woods and it was nice and relaxing. There were quite a few people other people about. The Gwanaksan area is a popular hiking spot.

The trail ended and I came out on to a small road with some houses and allotments around it. The stamp box was situated next to the road, I though that was a bit odd, as it could have been further up on the trail. It was around 12:30 pm when I finished. It had taken me four hours to complete these section of the Seoul Trail. The housing gave way to shops and restaurants. I was starving by this point as I had only had a banana for my breakfast. I spotted a Kimbap Cheonguk so headed in for an omurice. The diner was small and pretty cold, but the food was good and filling. They also had good side dishes, kimchi, egg roll, and the sweet stringy squid stuff (I don't know the correct name.) The subway station is just across the main road. I headed there and tried not to freeze on the open platform in the cold. Luckily, I didn't have to wait to long for the subway.

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 26


Tot: 1.231s; Tpl: 0.108s; cc: 11; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0255s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.3mb