HOURS: Daily 24 hours
SUBWAY: Gyeongbokgung (Line 3)
The rocky facade of Inwangsan (Benevolent King Mountain) has been an inspiration for artists and a haven for religious pilgrims and mystics for centuries, and negotiating its trails is as much a spiritual experience as a physical one—though many do provide a good workout.
The main paths, which frequently intersect the remains of Seoul ’s old fortress wall, offer some spectacular views of the city. But venture down some of the side trails and there’s a wealth of other things to discover, including the Buddhist temple of Inwangsa; Guksadang, a shamanist shrine; Seonbawi, a haunting rock formation that perhaps resembles a Buddhist monk in meditation; and Hwanghakjeong, a pavilion where traditional archery is practiced.
Due to the mountain’s spiritual significance ceremonies are frequently conducted here, and it’s important not to disturb or photograph any you may come across without permission.
Trails are generally well-marked, and maps are posted throughout the peak. Inwangsan can be accessed from multiple points, but one of the easiest places to start a hike is Sajik Park, a 10-minute walk from Gyeongbokgung subway station (line 3).