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Seunghaksan Mountain is one of 108 named mountains in the Busan area. It’s a relatively straightforward hike in Busan that only takes the average hiker between 3 and 4 hours but you’ll have multiple opportunities to take in the city and ocean views.
This is one of the many hikes around Busan that I recommend to visitors of this amazing city. I visited Korea for a 1 year working holiday visa and experienced life as an expat. So almost every weekend I was on the look for a new hike!
If you don’t like busy hiking routes and prefer to hike away from the crowds, the Seunghaksan trail could be a great option for you as this is much less busy than other mountain paths. You’ll get minimal leg burn on a slow incline, you’ll find flowers, mountain and ocean views all without breaking too much of a sweat.
It seems like the perfect hike if you ask me.
|Country:||South Korea (Republic of Korea)|
|Currency:||South Korean Won / KRW|
|Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?||Check here|
Trail stats for Seunghaksan Mountain
Length of trail:
4.2 km / 2.6 miles
Time to complete:
3 hours 15 – 3 hours 45
How to get to Seunghaksan Mountain
There are 8 trailheads depending on the direction you come from. I started by the Dong-A campus.
The Trailhead starts near the Dong-A University campus (Busan Saha-gu Hadan-dong 산14-1) and can easily be reached by public transportation. If you choose to take the subway, the closest station to the start of the Seunghaksan trail is Hadan Station on Line 1 (Orange Line).
From the station, you can walk 15 minutes to the Seunghaksan Mountain trailhead.
Or if you’d rather save your energy for the hike, you can instead get off earlier at Daeti Station on Line 1 (Orange Line), come out of exit #1 and then get either the 126 or 123 bus that takes you much closer to the trailhead.
Not a fan of public transit? You can instead rent a car during your trip. Just make sure you have your IDP (International Driving Permit) before entering Korea.
Trail Opening times
As this is an outdoor trail, it is open 24 hours 7 days a week.
However, it is normally not advised to hike this trail during the night as there are no lights along the path to guide your way. If you do choose to climb during the dark hours, make sure you take a light source such as a mobile phone with a light or a torch.
Check out these other hikes in Busan!
- Jangsan Mountain, Busan’s popular city hike
- Exploring viewpoints on the Hwangnyeongsan Mountain hike
- Enjoying the Igidae Coastal Walk in Busan
- Geumjeongsan Mountain, Hiking the highest peak in Busan
- Bongnaesan Mountain: A short hike with great views
What to expect on the Seunhaksan trail
The Forest Incline
The start of this trail will take you straight up multiple staircases from the car park near the University campus.
After a few minutes, the wooden staircases will disappear and you will find yourself walking over jagged rocks instead. The start of this trail has some of the steepest inclines until you get to the final stretch just before the peak.
You’ll be inside the forest for quite some time and it will gradually level out to become more flat. Much of the trail isn’t marked at this stage but there is only one direction you can take so you can’t get lost either.
After around 10 minutes of walking, you’ll reach your first small viewpoint. It’s a wooden observation deck with two benches on it. This will just give you a small taster of the sights yet to come.
The flat forest trail
After checking out the view and getting back on the trail you’ll notice how much flatter it is. It’s during this part of the trail that you will stray deeper into the forest only gaining a tiny bit of elevation. You’ll go past multiple wooden platforms and benches where other hikers will likely be enjoying a short rest.
As you keep along the path you will see the incline start to increase ahead of you again and you’ll see the sign above near a small crossroads. You’ll want to follow the sign to the RIGHT and continue up to the peak which is 1 km from this point.
An increase in incline towards the peak
After the flat section of the trail, you will notice you’re heading back towards the peak – and quickly at that. There will be many more piles of rocks that you have to scramble over (sometimes using your hands) while maintaining your balance.
You’ll be in and out of forest cover during this time but you will continuously be travelling in an upwards direction. You’ll find sections of rock that you have no choice but to walk around and climbing over could be too dangerous. Eventually, you’ll reach some more wooden staircases which will help you gain elevation even quicker than before.
Once you get to the top of the last staircase, you can turn back and you’ll see the stunning view below. You’re not even at the peak yet but this certainly gives you a hint of what you’ll see from the summit.
You’ll be able to see the staircase disappear into the greenery of the trail you just walked through. Although it is steep in this section, it’s still not much of a thigh burn so if you’re a regular hiker you will have no trouble navigating these staircases.
Spending more time in Korea and wanting to hike outside of Busan? Check out my favourites!
- Gwaneumsa Trail: Hiking the Steepest trail of Mt.Hallasan
- Taking the Seongpanak trail to the Hallasan peak
- Jirisan Mountain, Cheonwangbong Peak: Biggest on the Korean mainland
Reaching the summit of Seunghaksan Mountain
Getting to the summit of the Seunghaksan Mountain trail is relatively easy compared to many other hikes in the Busan area. Not only is the elevation much lower, but the terrain is easier to walk on too.
You will have climbed the last 15 minutes or so through a small patch of the forest again after getting up the few wooden staircases. You’ll know you’re at the top when you see a large clearing with jagged pale rocks everywhere. As you make your way through the forest archway that resembles a doorframe, you’ll finally get a clear view of the surrounding city.
There are many places to take photos at the summit but be careful when standing near the edges incase you fall.
To your right (close to where you leave the forest) you’ll get a view over the small green mountain in front of the water. You’ll be able to see a little bit of the route you just walked to get here. These rocks are a good place for a photo op and you’ll often find other hiking taking a rest at this spot.
If you turn left you’ll see a much larger pile of rocks and a tiny bit more incline. Once you get to the top of these rocks (it’ll take you about 2 minutes if that), you’ll see not one, but 3 summit rocks! A small one is first, the main large one is in the middle, and the 3rd one is tucked away a bit further around the corner but still in front of the amazing view.
The loop and 2nd half of the trail
After leaving the Seunghaksan Mountain summit, you’ll get to walk along the side of the mountain before losing elevation. This will give you a clear sight of the residential areas below the mountain. You’ll get to admire these views for about 15 minutes before you end up back under tree cover and find yourself surrounded by bushes and brambles like below.
The flower gardens
After a short while you will reach an opening in the trail again where you will see more and more pink flowers (assuming you hike this path during the spring months). These pink flowers were planted in the hundreds so almost one entire side of the mountain is covered in them which looks beautiful with the bright shade of pink.
In the photo above you can see the flower beds that perfectly frame the peak that we just walked from. This view was taken facing the direction we came from as it is just stunning. This might be my favourite view from the whole trail.
You can continue to walk up this path and you will reach another observation deck to the left of the pink flowers. This lets you look through the valley between the surrounding peaks at the residential area, except this viewpoint is a little further from the city due to being towards the side of the mountain now.
Hairpin turns and forest rests
After enjoying the flowers and petals near the peak, you’ll need to start heading down and this is where the elevation goes down really quickly in a short space of time.
You’ll be back in the forest, and the path that you take will weave with tight turns to gradually get you back down to a low elevation to finish the trail. Throughout the forest, you’ll find large wooden platforms but unlike the ones on the other side of the mountain that offered views, these ones are just rest areas surrounded by trees so you won’t have much to see.
You will see the large wooden platforms (they give off tree house vibes) and benches scattered throughout. You really can take your pick at where you’d rather relax for a snack break on your way down.
Back to civilization
After leaving the forest, you’ll still be on the loop trail as seen here on AllTrails, but you’ll now be outside and closer to the street. Much of this last part of the trail runs parallel to a road and you’ll get to walk on boardwalks that head down the street next to a flowing river.
If you continue to follow this road straight down you’ll find a few small bridges that allow you to cross the river. Eventually, you will reach a residential area and some shops before returning to Dong-A University and the local subway stations.
|Day Hike Essentials||Why?|
|Appropriate footwear & socks||Less likely to injure yourself & more comfortable|
|Portable battery pack & wire||To charge your electronic devices|
|Water (0.5L per hour roughly)||To keep yourself hydrated throughout the hike|
|Food||Preferably lightweight but healthy snacks|
|Trail Directions||Phone/GPS device, compass or paper map|
|Mobile OR satellite phone||Helpful in emergencies to call for help|
|Clothing layers||To put on or remove based on changes in weather|
|Hat||To prevent sunstroke or keep warm|
|Sunglasses||To see better without squinting all day|
|First aid kit||To solve minor injuries along the way|
|Multi-tool||Multiple uses for multiple problems|
|Illumination||Torch or phone light to navigate in the dark|
Final thoughts on this hiking trail
This hiking trail is less popular than its larger neighbours of Jangsan and Geumjeungsan, however, it actually has some more photo opportunities in my opinion. Both of the larger trails have a view from a significantly higher elevation, but you’re inside the forest for much longer so there are fewer chances to enjoy the cityscape until you are at the summit.
Here on the Seunghaksan Mountain loop trail, you have different terrains to enjoy, it won’t take you very long and best of all, the views vs the effort you’ll make to get there is at an amazing ratio.
If you have time, I’d highly recommend taking a stroll up Seunghaksan to enjoy the flowers and the stunning views. It’s one of my favourite hikes and it’s not too busy!