Hiking is the most popular sport in South Korea:
Stretching across downtown Seoul and the Gyeonggi-do Province, Bukhansan Mountain Dulle-gil (a hiking trail 70km in total length) connects the forest paths and villages along the foothills of Bukhansan Mountain (alt. 836.5m) and Dobongsan Mountain (alt. 739.5m). The Bukhansan National Park, a popular destination throughout each of the four seasons, draws an impressive five million visitors each year, officially winning the Guinness Book of World Records for ‘Most Visited National Park per Unit of Area.’
Bukhansan and Dobongsan are some of the most popular mountains in the Seoul area, their granite peaks rising up over the city skyline in an ever-present reminder that nature is only a few steps away from urban life. Over 1,300 different species of plants and animals call the slopes and streams of these mountains their home, giving hikers of the Dulle-gil trail an authentic nature hike despite the trail’s convenient city location. The trail is made up of 21 sections: 12 sections along Bukhansan Mountain (44km, opened in September 2010) and 9 sections of Dobongsan Mountain (26km, opened in June 2011). Mainly characterized by low-lying areas with gentle slopes, the trail allows for a leisurely hike without the need for heavy clothes or professional hiking gear.
The 21 sections of Bukhansan Dulle-gil each hold a different story. A walk along the trail leads hikers through lush forests, to temples perched on mountain crags, and back into the history of ancient Korea. Each section is named after its defining characteristics: Sonamusup-gil (pine tree forest trail), Dobongyet-gil (old path of Dobong area), Myeongsang-gil (path of meditation), etc. Each of the 21 sections of Dulle-gil offers a unique and interesting journey. Let’s take a look at some of the trail sections recommended by the KTO, conveniently grouped by theme.