Welcome spring! You have been missed. After battling in the rain our last time out, we took advantage of the great weather and finished the final part of section two on The Seoul Trail. Today was an epic 9.2km hike that saw us through peaks, valleys and a cemetery. To try to capture it all in one post would be asinine, so it will be divided into two posts. In summary, this was probably my favourite hike so far. There are amazing views of the city (despite the smog) and of the Han River. If you are going to do this hike, it is highly suggested you bring along a quality camera and be sure to check the air quality. We were also treated to Mount Achasan’s Fortress. Get your hiking boots for this one because it’s a long day.
How to get there: The easiest way to get there is to take the subway to Yangwon Station on the ITX Gyeongui-Jungang Line and depart from Exit 2.
An Easy Walk Through the City: The first part of this hike is in the city and is pretty easy. You will pass through Jungrang Campground on your way to the Mangwoori Park Playground. It’s the easiest part of the trail, so enjoy it while you can.
Mangusan Mountain Cemetery: Mangusan Mountain Cemetery was one of the most fascinating, yet somber points of the trail so far. Mangu Cemetery was designated as a public cemetery in 1933 and is the resting spots of famous writers, educators, and independence activists including Oh Se-chang who was one of the signers of Declaration of Korean Independence document. The cemetery is built into the mountain and provides amazing views of the city. Needless to say, please be respectful and do not bring a picnic whilst hiking through the cemetery. Sadly, we saw signs warning hikers not to smoke or drink in the cemetery, which means some asshole did. Don’t be that asshole.
The Yongmasan Peak: Well, here is where things will start to get a little difficult. At this point in the hike, I would highly suggest some hiking boots or at least a good pair of running shoes. The next few kilometres are challenging, but the view at the top is well worth it. There is a little side path that we ventured down. it was a Fort of Mangusan. It provided great photo opportunities of the city and the cemetery. The terrain is a little tricky. It was muddy that day, so take caution if it is in the winter or after a rain.
The Steps of Death: At this point in the hike, unless you really want to endure some pain, it might be time to call it a day and head down the path towards Sagajeong Station. Know yourself and your supplies. Today, I was thankful we brought extra water and food because the next part really took it out of me. So what’s your decision? You want to head up? Brave soul. Start doing some stretches because the next 570 steps are gruelling. That said, there are some wonderful photo opportunities of the city, valleys and the Han River at various lookout points and of course once you make it to the peak.
Where to go from here?: Although we continued on for the next 3.35Km to Gwangnaru Station, most people would probably call it a day and head back home. The nearest station is Yongmasan Station (Line 7). For the moment, take a seat, open up some makgeolli and have a quick drink and a bite. You’ve earned it!