Jeongbalsan is not a big mountain. However, thanks to it being the lone mountain in Ilsan---a very populated suburb of Seoul---it receives much more attention than you would expect. Indeed, it is a popular spot of recreation for residents of Ilsan.
The Scouting Report
This hike begins from Jeongbalsan Station in Ilsan, climbs a gentle slope up to an elevation of 87 meters, and then descends another well-marked trail which completes the loop to bring you back to your original location.
This trail is a mostly well-marked path. There are a few stairs to maneuver.
(1=easy, 5=difficult): 2
-It would be a 1 except for the elevation gain. Overall, it is easy. In fact, women wearing skirts and high-heels can commonly be seen walking on the trails. Although, many Korean women would also attempt to climb Mt. Everest in a skirt and high-heels.
How To Get There
This hiking path is actually outside of Seoul. Take subway line 3 to Jeongbalsan Station in Ilsan. It is almost the last stop on the line.
Once at Jeongbalsan Station, go out exit 3. Immediately turn to your right. Follow the path towards the mountain until you come to a map. Your hike begins here.
When looking at the map at the trailhead, you will see two paths. Take the one on the right.
Follow the trail up, up, up, and up. It is almost impossible to get off the path. There is a rope strung along one side of the path for much of the way.
Whenever you come to a fork in the road, stay left and continue going up. As long as you follow these directions, you will reach the peak. Along the way, you will see very interesting trees.
If that doesn't get your blood pumping, take time out of your ascent to get a workout in at the outdoor gym.
It shouldn't take long until to reach the top. There you you will be greeted by a very nice pavilion. On a clear day, Bukhansan can be seen from the front of the pavilion.
Now it is time to make your descent. From the pavilion, there are 3 paths: 1-the way you came up, 2-concrete steps leading to a few small shelters (seen in the picture above), and 3-the way you want to go. Take option 3: the way you want to go.
Follow this path until you reach a long staircase descending on your left. Take the stairs down.
Follow the stairs until their end. Continue along the path, always staying to the left.
As long as you go left every time the trail splits, you will be going the right way. The trail is very easy to spot, so don't worry about looking too hard. Just enjoy your stroll.
You will eventually reach a small park. This park has a basketball court and a few other nice water features and statues. Continue following the trail to the left. It will take you around a set of large buildings. Once you pass the buildings, you will be back at exit 3 of Jeongbalsan Station.
At a nice leisurely pace, without taking any breaks, it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.
Nearby Sports and Recreation
- Jeongbalsan Badminton Club
- Park Golf
- Jeongbalsan Park Golf ("The Most Dangerous Park Golf Course in the World" Blog)
Across the road from the trailhead, there are two large pedestrian shopping streets: La Festa and Westerndom. There you can find plenty of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops at which to refuel.
Elsewhere on the Web
- "The Most Dangerous Park Golf Course in the World" Blog - by The Seoul Stop
- Jeongbalsan - by The Seoul Stop
- Discovering Seoul, Korea page 1 - by Carsten Knoche Photography
To see more photos, check out the Jeongbalsan photo album.
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Originally posted December 13, 2014
Updated November 22, 2015