Looking for Beautiful Autumn Hiking Trails? Why Don’t You Try Hiking Gwanak Mountain!

Hiking trails seem endless is Korea, the hiker’s paradise, and the one we explored on Gwanaksan was no less beautiful than previous hikes we’ve done. I must reflect again that I can’t imagine many other places in the world where the city and mountains saddle up to each other as perfectly as in Korea. As you may imagine, hiking will be an ongoing theme in our posts. (By god, there are a lot of mountains in Korea!) We have it in us to try and conquer them all (okay, not all, but at least a lot). Shall we?

Gwanak Mountain Has One of the Most Beautiful Hiking Trails in the Fall

A few weeks ago we surveyed the hiking trails on the mountain nearby Sillim called Gwanaksan. Now, this wasn’t nearly as high as the mountains in Bukhansan; in fact, it began with such a nice leisurely path. Danny and I thought to ourselves that the many parks filled with rose bushes by the rollicking river seemed so idyllic.

It was all a lie.

The mountain path quickly started to ascend; whereas Bukhansan’s path was over 4 km, Gwanaksan’s is less than 2, but you need to make up a similar height difference, which made it strenuous with the large sections where all you’d do was climb stairs or traverse rocks like it was your DESTINY.

Us hiking the trail leading to the summit of Gwanaksan in Seoul
Here’s me, following my destiny. The guy behind us has clearly given up. And you might not imagine it, but I’m pretty competitive. Danny can vouch for me that I made it my personal mission to pass as many people as possible on the way up. Breaks? Who needs those…

I mean, com’on, the mountain acts like we came here to exercise… Either way, the colors had begun to change and different red-values could be seen burning into each individual leaf. Hints of orange perforated the forest’s edges alluding to fall’s imminence. As the heat of summer had stretched into September, it was a gentle reminder that things are always changing.

Anyway, we get near the top to what we think might be the summit, but it’s not: It was just a stopping point for many who chose not to continue through the actual last leg of the trip. Take a glance at the hiking trail yourself: It is actually a bit more perilous than any of the other’s we’ve done. You basically cling to the side of the mountain or hop from rock outcropping to rock outcropping with only so much room for error. Hiking trails in Korea are pretty gnarly.

The Summit of Gwanaksan

After making it up through the Perilous Path, we finally reached the top where we were asked by a group of guys if they could have a picture with us. Apparently, they haven’t had much exposure to white boys on a mountain! Also, a man sold the coldest popsicles ever to grace this Earth at the top.

And don’t let me forget to say that we had to fight for our right to take a picture next to that rock in the first picture!  Group after group pushed to be next. I’m just happy we were able to snap our picture when we did. Afterwards, we relaxed, enjoyed the view, and prepared ourselves for the hike down. I think it’s easier going down the hiking trail, but Danny disagrees.

While we were sad that it was hazy both on this day and our previous jaunt in Bukhansan, we soon got to experience what a truly incredible view of Seoul looked like when we finished hiking the City Walls of Seoul.

What About You?

How cool is it that Seoul is surrounded by mountains? Do you like hiking or have you been to any local mountains in your area? Tell me which was your favorite and why below!

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