Hiking Geumjeongsan Mountain was a hike I won’t forget. Not only because of the annoyingly long and uneventful first hour of the hike, but also because of the absolutely incredible viewpoints during the second half of the hike.
After doing some research online about Geumjeongsan Mountain and Fortress, I was sold on how awesome of a hike it would be. We had followed a blogger’s directions on getting there and where to start, but quickly came to realize it could have been done in a much more efficient manner. So I’m writing this to help others if (and when – because you should) you decide to take this hike.
Here’s an overview that may be helpful of some different courses to choose from.
What We Did…
We took the Busan Train Orange Line #1 to Pusan National University. Got off and headed straight up the hill around 1:20. It was a steep walk but a gorgeous campus! After we made it to the top of the campus near a dormitory, we veered left and walked through some trees to hop on the road. Although there were some trails on the other side of the road, we weren’t sure where they lead and were following the instructions we had online. From the bottom of campus, it took us at least an hour to get to the East Gate. From here, is where the real hike actually began.
It was fairly easy walking at this point, through some huge rocks and gorgeous trees, but it was a very wide dirt path for the most part. There were many small wooden platforms or benches that we saw plenty of people just laying down with their hats over their head, shielding them from the sun. It was a little under an hour until we reached the first “Photo Zone” or lookout point. This was when we started to feel like the hike may have been worthwhile. Especially because we hadn’t even gotten to the peak yet. From then on, it was gorgeous. There were so many great views that we stopped to appreciate them and snap some pictures at least every 20 minutes.
At one point we got to a tiny temple on top of a hill where a man was selling red bean ice cream. We enjoyed them on a nearby lookout rock which made for a perfect break time.
After a few different (and amazing) viewpoints, pictures and a LOT of stairs, we made it to Godangbong Peak (801 meters/2628 feet) at about 5:45 PM. It was incredible and what I loved was that it wasn’t just awesome scenery in one direction. It was 360 degrees of the city, river, forests and the fortress we walked along to get there! Beautiful!
After spending some time at the top, we needed to head down before dark. We didn’t make any stops along the way since we had already seen them, but we did get to see the gorgeous sunset on the way back and ended up at the East Gate at 7:30 PM. Since it was dark at this point, and our feet were screaming at us, we waited at the gate for the bus which runs from about 06:00 – 23:00. It took us all of about ten minutes to get to the Orange Line Station, Oncheongjang. MUCH better than walking down for another hour.
Bottom Line, Here’s What I Suggest…
- Take the Orange Line #1 to Oncheonjang, Exit 3.
- Take the Bus up the hill to the East Gate. (This will allow you to skip the entire University campus and pre-East Gate walk.)
- Do the hike. Be amazed. (Up and back from this point is about 4-5 hours.)
- Head back to the East Gate and take the bus back down the hill to Oncheonjang.
If you are looking for an easier route and are willing to pay a small fee, try the cable car route!
- Take the Orange Line #1 to Oncheonjang, Exit 1.
- Walk about 15 minutes left of the intersection. Follow the signs pointing to Geumgang Park and you’ll find that the cable car is near the park entrance.