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Seunghaksan Mountain: Completing the Loop Trail

Me sitting on a rock at a midway point on Seunghaksan Mountain with a smaller mountain in the background and an ocean inlet

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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.

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Trail stats for Seunghaksan Mountain

Length of trail:

4.2 km / 2.6 miles

Elevation gain:

445 m

Time to complete:

3 hours 15 – 3 hours 45

Concrete wall with hidden path leading up the mountain
The unmarked entrance to the trailhead from the university car park

How to get to Seunghaksan Mountain

Travelling by public transportation? Don’t forget to take and top up your T Money card! To navigate around the city, make sure to download these helpful Korean apps.

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.

Wooden staircase heading up the mountain at the start of the Seunghaksan Mountain trail
Wooden staircase at the start of the trail

An old map pinned to a board shoowing the various hiking trails in the area
Map of the mountain area and trails

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!

In order to stay connected and follow trail navigation like AllTrails, you’d likely need to order an eSIM from Airalo. If your phone is incompatible with eSIMS you can still get a physical sim card here.

Seunghaksan mountain trail unmarked leading through the forest with visible tree roots on show
Part of the forest trail

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.

wooden benches in a forest clearing along the hike route
Benches along the flat section of the trail
A signpost along the Seunghaksan Mountain loop trail pointing in the direction of the peak
A signpost showing the way to the Seunghaksan peak (point to the right)

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.

Pile of rocks with green bushes around them
Rocks you need to climb over along the path

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.

A staircase on top of rocks on a hiking trail
The bottom of a staircase on top of some jagged rocks

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.

a staircase leading down towards a green forest covered mountain with rivers and cityscapes in the background
Great view behind us of the path we had taken of the small mountain before the peak

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Spending more time in Korea and wanting to hike outside of Busan? Check out my favourites!

Me standing at the summit rock of a mountain in Korea
Me standing at the mountain summit

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.

A great view of the mountains in between the city of Busan from Seunghaksan Mountain
View of Busan from the summit

Views of the residential blocks beneath Seunghaksan Moutnain in Busan
Views of Busan from another viewpoint 10 minutes away from the summit

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.

pink flowers and lots of green bushes line the dirt path on a hiking route
A dirt path on the way down from the peak with lots of flowers
pink flowers in the foreground with trees and the mountain peak in the background with the city skyline below
Huge flower beds of pink flowers create this stunning view of the peak behind us

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.

An observation deck on the Seunghaksan Mountain loop trail with the city scenes in the distance
An observation deck on the 2nd half of the trail near the flower beds
A forest rest are with benches and rest platforms along the hiking trail
A rest area on the way down the mountain

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.

The final stretch of trail next to a flowing river and near residential homes
This is the final part of the loop trail before it joins back on the main road near the subway

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.

When preparing for day hikes there are some items you should make sure to take with you. Some items help with navigation, some for safety and others help with weather conditions. If you’d like some help working out what to take on an average day hike, you can check out this pre-made packing list below.

Me standing on some rocks at the summit of Seunghaksan

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!

Need help planning your trip?

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Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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