When I moved to South Korea, I was very surprised to find out how mountainous the country was. In fact, downtown Seoul is full of small mountains and even has a large national park inside of the city borders.
Nearly every mountain in the city has a myriad of hiking trails that scale the peaks, and Yongmasan Mountain is no exception. A hike to the top will take around 30-45 minutes depending on fitness level and the path that you choose. As you ascend the mountain, you will be greeted with periodic views of downtown Seoul poking through the foliage. Once you get to the top, the view is even better, as demonstrated in the above picture.
At the top of the mountain, you can either return down the mountain, or you can continue your hike across the ridge line to Achasan Mountain.
Hiking Yongmasan Mountain during fall is one of the things that I will never forget about my time in South Korea because I very badly hurt my knee during the descent. However, don’t let that deter you because it really is a great mountain to climb.
In my opinion, the best part of hiking a mountain in downtown Seoul is that you can’t get really get lost, freeing you to leave the trail if you so desire. If you can’t find the trail again, just head down the mountainside, and you’ll be in the city center, a short taxi ride from a subway station.
Getting to Yongmasan is fairly easy. Take subway line 7 to Yongmasan Station. Head towards Yongmasan Waterfall Park to start your trek. The park is home to one of the largest man-made waterfalls in Asia, but isn’t always running. I imagine it would be quite impressive when it is. One of the trails starts to the right of the waterfalls.