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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

[Seoul] Hiking Mount Youngmasan and Mount Achasan - beautiful panoramic views of Central Seoul

For the beginner hiker in Seoul, hiking the combination of Mount Achasan and Mount Yongmasan is perfect! It is only 287 meters and takes about 2 hours to hike to the summit and back. It gives you gorgeous panoramic views of Seoul as you hike!


For a little Korean lesson today, 산 (san) means mountain. So, Namsan (where N Seoul Tower is located), means Nam Mountain. Another word is 폭포 (pokpo) which is the word for waterfall.


I am not a beginner hiker. I may actually be pre-beginning. At this point, the last time I exercised was quite a few years ago and my friend and I made the strategic error of eating a pizza at Pizza School right before we started our hike.

That being said, I/we survived, but this was a little tougher than the "beginning" level implied on the Korean mountain tourism website. The journey up the mountain was not that bad, it was the journey down that was a little difficult. We opted to continue our hike to Mount Yongmasan, which is actually connected to Achasan, so you can continue following the signs if you want to hike it, too. Yongmasan is actually a little taller than Achasan, at 348 meters.

At the base of Mount Yongmasan, there is a waterfall. It is the largest man-made waterfall in Asia. Unfortunately, when we hiked it was off-season, so the water had been turned off, which is actually kind of hilarious. I had a brief conversation about the waterfall with a friendly ajeosshi, who we awkwardly continued to see throughout our hike at various places.

There are various observation points throughout the hike to stop and admire the views of Seoul.


Thought I would throw this picture in. It's the typical hiking ajumma gear. You'll see these ladies hiking for exercise on every mountain in their visors, windbreakers, and hiking poles. They mean business, so don't doddle around them.
This is the view from the first outlook point we came across.

On a clear day, you can see the 63 Building, COEX, Jamshil Stadium, Han River, and Namsan. Unfortunately for us, it was kind of a hazy, gross day, but we were still able to get some pretty good shots/views.
As you continue your trek, more and more of Seoul becomes visible.
Seriously, the views are so nice! I am a little sad that the air quality was not that good on the day I hiked.
Part of the way up the mountain, there will be a nice observation deck.
Just a little look at some of the terrain. It is kind of rocky and steep as you come close close to the observation deck.

I don't have any pictures from our hike down the mountain, but it was pretty steep at points and the paths were not quite as well-used. I think at one point, the incline was about 60 degrees or so. We weren't really wearing proper footwear, so it was a bit of a challenge.

Location:
Mount Achasan: Achasan Station (Line 5). From exit 2, turn left and then walk straight. At the 3-way intersection, turn right and walk past the Hwayangsa Temple. There, you'll see the Daeseongam entrance.
Mount Yongmasan: Yongmasan Station (Line 7). From exit 2, walk straight to the Hanshin Apartments. Walk up the stairs next to the pavilion. At the playground, turn right. Then walk up the stairs.

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