Just northwest of Seoul, there lies one of the city's most underrated mountains: Suraksan. Indeed, Bukhansan gets all the attention when it comes to mountain-recognition in Seoul; however, Suraksan should be considered a worthy adversary.
Please note, this is SUraksan (수락산), not Seoraksan (설악산). Seoraksan is an extremely popular national park near the east coast of Korea. Suraksan is a mountain in Seoul.
The Scouting Report
Suraksan offers a tough hike, as it is one of the taller peaks in Seoul (638 m). There is a beautiful temple on the mountain along with a ridge that connects the mountain to its nearby neighbor, Boramsan.
Suraksan doesn't attract the crowds that flock to other mountains in Seoul, either. When you consider the lack of crowds, the bounty of culture, and the views that can be found on the mountain, Suraksan proves itself to be a great hidden gem.
The Seoul Trail
Part of the Seoul Trail runs around Suraksan. If you're interested in hiking up the mountain, consider using the Seoul Trail. It provides a very nice approach that gives a strong sense of solitude.
Elephant Rock is a very well-known feature of Suraksan. It is a rock outcropping that supposedly resembles an elephant. We'll let you be the judge as to wheter it actually does remind you of an elephant.
There is no shortage of beautiful vistas on Suraksan. You don't even have to climb all the way to the top to find a good view. There are plenty of landscapes to be seen from many points on the mountain.
In Hakrimsa, there is a little bit of culture to be found on Suraksan. Hakrimsa is a relatively new temple. However, it retains its traditional qualities and is worth a visit, especially if you are conveniently ending your hike near the temple.
If you are on Suraksan, you are not limited to Suraksan alone. Fortunately, a ridge connects Suraksan to nearby Boramsan. This is a popular ridge during the spring, as royal azalea blossoms cover the ground.
While hiking up Suraksan you are quite likely to encounter a few vendors along the trail. They sell mountain roots, ice cream, cold beer, and water. There is a local artist who will draw your portrait with a mountain backdrop. Suraksan also offers an outdoor snack shop close to its peak that offers treats like maekgolli and ramen.
How To Get There
Where: Seoul-si, Nowon-gu
From Line 4 - Danggogae Station (당고개역):
- Exit 1 or 4
From Line 7 - Suraksan Station (수락산역):
- Exit 1, 2, or 3
From Line 7 - Jangam Station (장암역):
- Exit 1
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Originally posted December 11, 2014
Updated September 12, 2015