Suraksan Mountain (수락산) rising 637meters above Seoul, is the third of Seoul’s three big mountains and a perfect location for hiking, mountain climbing, and bouldering. Add the element of winter – snow and ice – to this equation and you have the perfect combination for a mountain winter wonderland and a thrilling day outside.
There are various trails to explore on the mountain, but my favorite one starts at Jangam Station on Line 7. From the subway, you can follow the road to the mountain and turn off into the forest. It seems like you are in for an easy hike with a slow gradual assent, but then the trees open up and you can see the cliff-faces and the peak above.
In the fresh snow, it’s not too difficult to follow the trail, as typical of Korean mountains, you are never alone. Hiking is one of the favorite pastimes of Koreans and the mountains are never empty, even in winter!
As you hike up, the fun part of the day begins. A huge rock face called “train rock” lies in front of you. You grab the rope and pull yourself up – straight up – the 60meters to the top of the rock. With a beating heart, you don’t even want to look down at the steepness below you just conquered, much less take photos, but well you HAVE to!
Continue on, you can do it! More rocks are coming your way, and you have some choices, to climb up on your own OR use the ropes that the park service has installed to help climbers.
Finally, you reach the glorious peak after an exciting climb. The view from the peak of Suraksan is amazing and breathtaking. While the adrenaline of having just crawled up sheer rock faces fades away, you can look down on beautiful northern Seoul below. The roofs are roads are covered in snow but you don’t feel the chill at all. You look at the surrounding mountains, with their paths covered in snow and whispering your name.
Thinking about the hundreds of trails on all the mountains in Seoul, I think Suraksan has the most exciting ones. Its sheer/steep rocks bring such an element of excitement and a shot of adrenaline to even the most advanced hikers! And the beauty of the mountain keeps us coming back for more. Definitely not a spot to be missed if you come on a trip to Seoul!