Gwanaksan Mountain is a perfect mountain for a day’s hiking for Seoul citizens.
Gwanaksan Mountain includes Samseongsan and Janggunbong Peak on the southwest side of Gwanak-gu in a wide sense,
but Gwanaksan generally refers to the areas of Yeonjudae and Yeonjuam. As Gwanaksan is located near Seoul, many citizens visit the mountain,
so several diverse courses have been formed, and depending on transportation, visitors begin their hiking from different directions.
Among them, Sillim-dongTrail, Gwacheon Trail, Siheung-dong Trail, Anyang Amusement Park Trail are representative hiking courses.
This hiking trail began to catch people’s attention after Seoul National University was moved to Sillim-dong from the mid-1970s and took on the appearance of a hiking tail
when the existing trail was expanded. The trail begins from the entrance of Gwanaksan Mountain on the right side of Seoul National University.
From the entrance, it takes 40 minutes to get to Campground No.4 after passing Plaza 1, 2 and Royal Azalea Hill.
The pathway between Campground No. 4 and the east side of Yeonjuam looks narrow in the beginning but gets wider from West Falls,
which is a 10-minute distance away from Yeonjuam. After leaving West Falls and walking uphill, you will get to a spot where two mountain streams merge.
This spot is the mid-point of CampgroundNo. 4 and Yeonjuam, and the trail gets rough from this point on.
After walking along the steep slope, you will get to the summit of a pass. After passing here and taking the center open path from Yeonjuam Pass, you will get to Yeonjuam.
If you take the path on the right side, you will get to the observatory. You can also get to Yeonjuam by taking Muneomi Pass from CampgroundNo. 4.
This trail begins from Siheunghyanggyo Local Confucian School in Jungang-dong, Gwacheon, and it is a 3.2km long distance to Yeonjuam,
taking about 1 hour if walking without taking any breaks.After passing Siheunghyanggyo, you will come across several small valleys.
The area with a big rock in the first valley which has an inscription is called “Jahadongcheon.”
From there, if you walk up to the sloped rocky path and pass an evacuation shelter, you will come to a scenic spot created with the harmony of rocks and trees.
From this spot to the mountain cabin below Yeonjuam, the hiking trail is not overly rugged and has good sunlight, so it is a good area to take a rest.
Along this course, there are two springs which are favorite lunch spots. To provide convenience to hikers, the 3km-long path around Yeonjuam has been improved
and has a water supply facility for the dry season.The area also provides lunch for hikers who did not bring their lunch.
It takes 25 minutes from Yeonjuam to get to Yeonjudae. At Yeonjudae, there are natural cliffs resembling big and small bamboo shoots
which also look like a pigeon’s nest from the distance. The summit of Gwanak is located on the south side compared to Yeonjudaeand features a big rock that
stands 10m high, earning it the name “Kalbawi (Knife Rock).” As it resembles the head of a horse, some people call it “Malbawi (Horse Rock).”
Bongcheon-dong Nakseongdae Trail
From Nakseongdae Park, if you walk along the side road or the paved road, leading to the college town located by the rear gate of Seoul National University,
you will see a sign indicating the entrance of the hiking trail. If you walk up along the trail, you will come to two paths leading to Sangbong Mineral Springs
which has Mineral Spring Site No.1 and the Rock-carved Buddha. If you continue walking up from Mineral Spring Site No.1,
you will get to an intersection on the main ridge which is connected to a path leading to Yeonjuam from the Military Barracks in Namhyeon-dong.
If you take the path on the right side, the slope is not overly steep when heading to the 559 Peak which is a ridge consisting of small rock outcroppings.
There is another path which does not go through this ridge. After passing the intersection a little, you will get to a large flat rock called “Courtyard Rock” which will serve as a good resting spot.
When you get to 559 Peak, you will be near Yeonjuam and Yeonjudae and you can enjoy a panoramic view of Gwacheon City.
To the north, you can see Seoul and the Hangang River. The path divides into two branches from 559 Peak. The path on the right side leads to Yeonjudae.
If you take the stairway path and walk down for about 200m, you can get to Yeonjuam. Yeonjuam is a spot where all hiking trails of Gwanaksan merge.
From this spot, many hikers pass the Gwanak cabin and descend along Jahadongcheon Valley.
From Yeonjuam, if you walk along the ridge connected to the south side, you will get to Janggun (or General) Rock. Along the ridge, you can enjoy several mystical rocks.
If you walk further from Janggun Rock, you can see a path heading to the valley.
If you walk down through Janggunbawigol Valley, you will get to the back side of the Industrial Advancement Administration in Gwacheon City.
After you walk up along a village road from the intersection where Geumcheon Government Office of the Joseon Dynasty which used to be in front of Siheung 5-dong Traditional Market
and after walking across the new Gwanaksan outer road, you can see the entrance of Hoamsan Trail.
From there, if you walk up along the paved road leading to Hoapsa Temple, you can get to Hoapsa located immediately below Janggunbong Peak.
The perpendicularly steep path is connected to the summit of Janggunbong. Before you get to the summit of Janggunbong,
if you walk along the southwestern ridge that has a height of 396m, you can get to the peak of Hoamsanseong Fortress that is at a sea level of 347m where Hanumul and Haetae are located.
From there, you can descend towards Siheung City. Or, if you pass the Janggunbong Heliport, Samseongsan Mountain,
and Sammaksa Temple, you will get to the observatory and if you hike in the direction of Yeomburam Hermitage or Anyangsa Temple,
you can descend toward Anyang Amusement Park. You can also descend through many trails after you pass the intersection from Samseongsan,
go through Muneomi Pass and go up to the summit of Yeonjudae.
Anyang Amusement Park Trail
From Anyang Amusement Park, if you walk up along the valley after passing Anyangsa Temple and take the ridge way on the right side, you will eventually get to Yeomburam Trail.
Then, take the path on the left side leading to Sammaksa Temple, and pretty soon you will get to the summit.
In addition, many people take the uphill slope after passing the pool at Anyang Amusement Park which leads to Yeomburam Hermitage.
From the summit, if you hike along the northern ridge and continue toward the northwestern ridge, you will get to Hoapsa Temple while being surrounded by a field of pine trees,
and you can descend toward Siheung. Or, if you take the northern ridge and go up along the Amneung-gil path before you get to Hoapsa Temple,
you will pass Seongjuam Hermitage and descend toward Siheung. Or after you pass Yeomburam, go up to the summit from Sammaksa Temple,
hike along the southwest ridge, then you will pass in front of MangworamHermitage and later arrive at a stream along the valley.
After walking along the southern valley path, you will get to the entrance of Bulseongsa Temple. If you walk along the path on the right side,
you will get to the ticket office.
Palbong Ridge refers to a hiking trail that consists of eight peaks, which exist between the summit of Gwanaksan leading to Samseongsan Mountain.
The trail is very rough and it is called a small version of ‘Seoraksan Dinosaur Ridge.’ Palbong Ridge of Gwanaksan uses the existing Sillim-dong and Gwacheon Trail up to Yeonjuam.
If you take the southwest path from Yeonjuam Pass, you can get to the observatory in short time. You can see Anyang from the west side of Palbong, and Gwacheon from the east side.
From the summit, you can even see Cheonggyecheon and UmyeongsanMountain in the far distance. The terrain of Palbong seen from the observatory looks very rugged.
The rocky path between the observatory to Bulseongsa Temple is very steep, so hikers should have advanced hiking skills.
The small path in front of Daeungjeon Hall of Bulseongsa Temple goes down toward Anyang Amusement Park (Bisan Park), soif you want to take Palbong Ridge,
you need to take the mountain path on the left side of Bulseongsa. There is a well at the entrance of Bulseongsa from where people can see the back side of Palbong Ridge,
so this spot is known as the 2nd observatory or Mangyeongdae. People begin hiking from the second peak above the well site. Once you get to the roughest course of Palbong Ridge,
you will come across several uphill and downhill paths. After you pass the 2nd peak, you will get to a wide flat rock which is called “Sinseondae.”
The most exciting section of Palbong Ridge begins after passing Peak 3 and 4. When you get to the pass where you can see Peak 5,
you will see a small path that crosses the mid-section of Palbong. Followers of Bulseongsa Temple or hikers from Sillim-dong usually take this path. Peak 6 consists of rocks resembling a stairway, so it is relatively easy, but it has a steep cliff on the Anyang side, so hikers need to use caution. Once you get to Peak 7, relatively smooth rocky paths will be before you. Below the peak, there is a 10m high rock called “Geumgwan Rock(Golden Crown Rock). Depending on the perspective of the rock, it looks like a golden crown from the east, Buddha Triad from the west, Maitreya Buddha from the south and a rock resembling two people holding hands from the north side. After you pass this rock, you will get to Peak 8 and see a rock cave. When you get to this point, Palbong Ridge reaches its end. People descend toward Anyang Amusement Park after passing Yeomburam, but most hikers descend in the direction of Sillim-dong.