Here is a handy guide with all the information you need about the Seoul Fortress Wall and how to enjoy its best hikes.
What is Seoul Fortress Wall?
Seoul Fortress Wall is a former fortress wall that runs around downtown of Seoul and is included in Historic Site in South Korea list. The wall is 18.6 kilometers long and connects four mountains: Inwangsan, Baegaksan/Bugaksan, Naksan, and Namsan. Seoul Fortress Wall was initially built in 1396 and it took 98 days. During the Japanese occupation, the majority of fortress wall was destroyed and some of the parts were recently (2014) rebuilt. Seoul Government is still working on completely reconstructing the wall and its gates.
Location of Seoul Fortress Wall
Even though Seoul Fortress Wall is basically located in downtown of Seoul, you won’t be able to spot the wall very easily as most of the parts in the main streets aren’t reconstructed. However, you will notice huge ancient gates standing in the middle of busy roads – they are part of the wall. The most visible parts of fortress wall are in the mountains.
Map of Seoul Fortress Wall, get full one here: http://bit.ly/2InRHJf
A Guide to the Best Walking Hikes in Seoul Fortress Wall
Bugaksan/Baegaksan Mountain Trail
Name: Changuimun Gate – Hyehwamun Gate
Distance: 4.7 km
Duration: ~3 hours
This short trail runs across the mountain Bugaksan (342 m) which is one of the inner mountains of old Seoul and is the highest one. Until 2007 access to the mountain was closed to the public as the reason of North Korean Special Forces infiltration in Seoul in 1968. Even though now it’s open for public, there are some restrictions regarding the trail such as it’s closed on Mondays, opened at 9:00 to 16:00, and every visitor have to fill the visiting form and have an ID in order to hike a mountain. Also, you need to finish hike by a certain time and you have to take in mind that during a hike you will be watched by tons of army guys and won’t be allowed to take photos in certain spots.
More detailed information about what you will be able to see during this hike and a closed up map is here: http://seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr/front/eng/sub04/sub0401.do
Naksan Mountain Trail
Name: Hyehwamun Gate – Heunginjimun Gate
Distance: 2.1 km
Duration: ~1 hr
This trail is a very short trail that can be combined with other Seoul Fortress Wall trails if you wish to do more walking. The trail leads via Naksan Mountain (124 m) and the mural village of Ihwa-dong. You will be able to see bohemian neighborhood filled with impressive views of Seoul. This trail is very famous for watching sunset and sunrise. More information here http://seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr/front/eng/sub04/sub0401.do if you scroll down and click Naksan trail section.
Heunginjimun Gate Trail
Name: Heunginjimun Gate – Jangchung Gymnasium
Distance: 1.8 km
Duration: ~1 hr
Another short trail that can be easily combined with another trails. This trail leads through almost completely destroyed Seoul Fortress Wall area and is recommended to visit Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Dongdaemun and Pyeonghwa markets while walking on this trail. If you more information about the trail, scroll down and press Heunginjimun Gate Trail http://seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr/front/eng/sub04/sub0401.do
Namsan Mountain Trail
Name: Jangchung Gymnasium – Baekbeom Square
Distance: 4.2 km
Duration: ~3 hrs
This trail leads through Jangchung neighborhood across Namsan Mountain (270 m) that is considered to be a ‘central point of Seoul’. Most of the wall was destroyed in 1920s during Japanese occupation, however Seoul Government working on rebuilding the wall. The majority of the wall has been rebuilt, however there is no exact date when the rest of the wall will be finished. If you go on this trail, you will be able to see famous Seoul N Tower that is popular location for couples. We recommend to walk this trail during evening for the beautiful lights of Seoul. Scroll down and press Namsan Mountain Trail for more information at this website: http://seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr/front/eng/sub04/sub0401.do
Sungnyemun Gate Trail
Name: Baekbeom Square – Site of Donuimun Gate
Distance: 1.8 km
Duration: ~1 hr
This part of Seoul Fortress Wall is completely destroyed and only gate or memorial plate of the site is left. Due to this reason you might need a guide or very detailed map in order to keep with a fortress wall trail. The most famous part of this trail is Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun Gate) that is located next to Namdaemun market, so you will be able to have a few snacks at this traditional market while being on a trail. For more information visit website and scroll down to find a Sungnyemun Trail http://seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr/front/eng/sub04/sub0401.do
Inwangsan Mountain Trail
Name: Site of Donuimun Gate – Changuimun Gate
Distance: 4 km
Duration: ~2 hrs 30 min
Another hiking trail that leads across Inwangsan Mountain (339 m). Inwangsan is famous for its rock formations, especially the meditation rock – Seonbawi, and a Buddhist temple. Due to the North Korean invasion in 1968, Inwangsan trail was closed for public till 1993. Now is easily accessible but monitored by Korean Special Forces. Take into your mind that trail is closed on Mondays and on Tuesdays when the national holiday is on Monday. Also, you have to take an extra care if you are hiking on a rainy day or winter. Scroll down, find Inwangsan Mountain trail for more information http://seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr/front/eng/sub04/sub0401.do
Map of Important Sights to Visit on Seoul Fortress Wall
Get the full map here http://bit.ly/2rKhc1o