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Exploring viewpoints on the Hwangnyeongsan Mountain hike

Hwangyeungsan mountain is a favourite trail in Busan

The Hwangnyeongsan Mountain hike might be one of my favourites in Busan, South Korea. It’s a hike that can be changed up and completed in either direction and offers some of the best views of the city. It is centrally located, easy to complete and much easier to access than others considering you can take a vehicle 3/4 of the way up.

One of the observation areas doubles as a popular picnic and hangout area for locals and visitors and it’s easy to see why once you’re there. You can see across the entire city from the peak and you’ll want to stay there all day.

Hwangnyeongsan mountain is the perfect hike for watching the sunset, admiring the city and even getting lunch with a view, this is a fantastic hike you should include in your hiking itinerary of Busan.

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Country:South Korea (Republic of Korea)
Currency:South Korean Won / KRW
Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?Check here
me standing with my back to the view from the observatory
View from the observatory on a polluted day.

Hwangnyeongsan Hike stats

Length of trail:

7.56 km

Elevation gain:

415 m

Time to complete:

2 hours and 45 minutes

Hwangnyeong Mountain is one of 108 mountains that have names in Busan, South Korea. It’s one of the top recommended hikes in all of Busan and takes you along the Hwangnyeongsan mountain trail. Along this trail, you will reach two neighbouring summits.

This is one of the best cities to live in as a hiker because there are so many outdoor trails to take advantage of and this mountain is one of most recommended to visitors. It can be completed in almost any weather and at any time of day! If that’s not a dream of a hike, I don’t know what is.

Amenities along the trail

As this is such a popular trail with multiple access points, you’ll be pleased to know that there are toilets available for public use. That means you don’t have to wait until you’re back home to use the facilities.

There are toilets available in the following places for public use:

  • The car park at the north end of the trail
  • The fire signal observatory
  • Near the outdoor gym on the south end of the trail
View down from Sa Ja peak down the mountain
Part of the trail heading down from Sa Ja peak to Kyungsung U station

How to get to Hwangnyeongsan mountain?

The Hwangnyeongsan mountain hike is a one-way trail starting on the north side of the mountain and ending on the south side.

Covering two mountain peaks, this is a popular route that is easily accessible from multiple neighbourhoods around the city.

If travelling by public transport don’t forget to top up your T Money card!

This means there is more than one station you can travel to in order to start the hike. Two of the closest stations to the trailhead are Yangjeong station and Busan City Hall station. Both of these stations are on Line 1 (the orange line).

From here you will need to walk for about 15 minutes until you reach the steep hill.

If you are using a popular trail-tracking app like AllTrails, you will notice that the trail actually starts at the station. You will need to follow the road up through a small neighbourhood until you reach the top of the hill near the car park. Yes, that’s correct, if you don’t wish to hike the entire way, you can in fact drive to this point before continuing on foot. The car park is the furthest point you can reach by vehicle.

If you choose to drive, you can park your car here and then walk up the wooden staircases to the left which will take you up to the peak.

If you happen to complete the Hwangnyeongsan mountain trail in reverse and want to instead finish at City Hall rather than starting there, make your way to Kyungsung U station instead and head up the large staircase on the street towards the university. This station is located on Line 2 (Green Line).

stairs leading up to hwangnyeongsan mountain
Stairs that lead up to the Hwangyeungsan peak from the car park

What to expect on the trail?

You can follow this hike on the AllTrails app. Download onto your phone below:

This depends on which direction you complete the hike, but let’s assume you start on the north side of the mountain trail near the car park.

You will start the trail from the car park and head up the wooden stairs to your left. This will take between 10 and 15 minutes depending on your ability to reach the cafe lookout. We will go into more detail on the lookout points below.

If you follow the trail to the right (keeping the view of the city on your left side) you will reach the fire station beacon in only 2 to 3 minutes from the cafe. This is where the trail separates slightly. If you stay to the right you’ll see a huge wooden observation deck with swinging chairs and wooden benches to sit on. If you walk towards the left side instead you will go past a toilet block and find a narrow forest trail.

Hwangnyeungsan Peak to Sa Ja peak

The forest trail will take you quickly downhill and turns into a dirt track with built-in steps.

Please note: These steps can be slippery when wet and muddy so please use caution as there are no handrails.

You will continue along the path until you reach a slight crossroad. Take the left path uphill again towards a large pile of rocks. Once you reach the top and turn to your left you will see the “summit rock” that represents the peak of the neighbouring mountain Sa-Ja. This is the “other” summit on your journey before you finally start making your way down the mountain.

one view of a polluted west Busan from a viewing deck
The foggy view from the final wooden viewing platform

Continue along the route in the same direction you had been travelling in and you will have to go down behind a large collection of boulders before finding the next observation deck. This deck then leads down a long staircase which helps you get down the mountain really quickly.

The top section of the staircase is wooden. The rest of the “stairs” are built into the landscape but are generally quite well maintained. This part of the trail can take about 30 minutes to reach the first park and outdoor gym.

If working out once on the already tiring hike isn’t enough for you, you can head over to the second gym further down the trail before you reach the university campus. Eventually, you will leave the forested area and have to walk past all the various university buildings on the way to Kyungsung U station.

I have successfully completed this trail in both directions and I’d say it is more of a leg burner if you start in the south as there are more stairs going up that way.

Hwangnyeongsan viewpoints

The best part of a hike (in my opinion) is the view. If there isn’t a lovely landscape to marvel at, I probably won’t want to go.

Please note, both times I visited this hike was during high pollution days so the air quality wasn’t the best. This means many of my pictures look “foggy”. I will swap out my images next time I go.

What I love about the Hwangnyeongsan mountain hike is that there are multiple viewpoints and photo opportunities along the way. Regardless of which direction to travel in, you’ll easily find each one.

View over the university from Hwangyeungsan mountain
View to the south of the city from the lounge viewpoint

Hwangnyeong Mountain view lounge

This viewpoint has a panoramic view of the south side of the city. You’ll be able to see Haeundae beach and Gwangalli beach from this platform.

If you’re hungry or need a break you can head downstairs from the outdoor platform to go inside the cafe. Inside you’ll have the option to purchase some food or a beverage as well as enjoy the view from inside. This is the only covered view of the trail so this is the best place to be if you get caught in bad weather.

View of PNU frim Busan Hwangyeungsan mountain
This is the large deck near the fire beacon. The largest of the viewing platforms.

Observatory deck (fire beacon)

This area is just around the corner from the cafe’s viewpoint. It is located on the same mountain peak as the cafe but is further along the trail and offers panoramic views of the west and northwestern neighbourhoods of Busan.

The size of the observation deck allows many people to be here at once and there is a multi-levelled decking area so you can even sit down if you like – something not always possible at viewpoints. It has the clearest view of the city with minimal view obstruction.

Plus, the large concrete structure behind the decking area was once the home to the fire signalling area which is still standing there today. This is another platform to sit or stand on allowing citywide views.

My housemates and I at the summit stone of a hike in Busan
My housemates and I at the 2nd summit near Lion Rock overlooking the south of the city

Sa-Ja Peak (2nd summit)

This is the typical viewpoint you would expect to see on a trail like this because it’s where you’ll find the “summit rock”.

If you don’t know already, a summit rock is where you find the peak of a mountain. It usually has a plaque with information engraved showing the mountain’s name as well as the elevation gain at this point. This part of the trail is slightly hidden behind some trees and large rocks, and the terrain is a bit unsafe so use caution when planning on standing near the edge.

Unlike the other viewpoints, this area does not have any safety measures like handrails or fences.

A smokey view over a small hill in Busan
A view of a small hill over the west of the city from the wooden viewing platform

Wooden viewpoint

This is the last official viewpoint if heading south along the trail. It’s a relatively small viewing platform that overlooks a small hill and the western suburbs of Busan. Below the platform, you will find multiple staircases and you’ll notice the trail leads you back into the forest.

Please note: Follow the marked path to the left (not pictured) instead of following the trail in the photo which takes you off track.

an outdoor gym on a hiking trail in busan
One of the outdoor gyms on the southern part of the trail

Best time to hike Hwangnyeongsan Mountain

Due to how accessible this hike is compared to others, this is one hike that can be completed in the day or evening.

Plus, due to the location of the mountain itself, the view (especially from the observatory deck) is breathtaking both in daylight and after dark. If it’s clear out and the city isn’t too polluted you can see really far across Busan.

If you want to be here for sunset and plan on driving then you should aim to be parked in the car park at least minutes before the sun goes down. This will give you enough time to get from the car up the stairs and allow you to find somewhere to sit and get comfortable.

Top tip: The observatory deck near the fire beacon is the best place to be for sunset.

If you hike in the daytime you’ll get the clearest view of the city – that is unless it’s a high pollution day which covers the city in a slight fog.

Day Hike EssentialsWhy?
Appropriate footwear & socksLess likely to injure yourself & more comfortable
Portable battery pack & wireTo charge your electronic devices
Water (0.5L per hour roughly)To keep yourself hydrated throughout the hike
FoodPreferably lightweight but healthy snacks
Trail DirectionsPhone/GPS device, compass or paper map
Mobile OR satellite phoneHelpful in emergencies to call for help
Clothing layersTo put on or remove based on changes in weather
HatTo prevent sunstroke or keep warm
SunglassesTo see better without squinting all-day
First aid kitTo solve minor injuries along the way
Multi-toolMultiple uses for multiple problems
IlluminationTorch or phone light to navigate in the dark

Want some more hiking inspiration in Korea?

If you plan on staying in Busan for an extended period, check out some more hikes around the city for amazing city views from almost angles. Hwangnyeongsan mountain shouldn’t be the only one you do!

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