Hiking Achasan

Achasan (아차산) is in Eastern Seoul and easily accessible by several subway stations. It's an easy and gentle mountain to hike, with fantastic views of Seoul and the Han river. It is connected to Yongmasan (용마산), and you can hike Achasan and Yongmasan together in one day.

I've been to Achasan a few times, but taken a different route every time. Even though it's a small mountain, just like everywhere in Seoul there are always new things to see. Today I woke up to a deafening thunderstorm, and heavy rain continued to pour all morning, so I decided to stick to gentle trails.

From Achasan station, I took exit 1 and walked uphill through the neighborhood. There were some nice-looking cafes and bakeries dotted around. Leading up to the mountain is a road called Gingoran-gil (긴고랑길), a quiet residential area of older buildings, which has received the colorful mural treatment that seems to be a popular thing in old mountainside villages in Korea. The paintings on the walls add something interesting to see, but people do actually live in the houses so I didn't take many pictures. It's worth a look.

From there I reached the mountain and started out on the dule-gil, the trail going around the base of the mountain. However, I somehow ended up on a trail going upwards instead! I ended up at a historical site which was part of the old fortress wall. The signs told me that various ceramic and metal artifacts had been excavated there, and there remained the foundations of a building. From up on top I could hear cars way down in the distance, but everything was shrouded in mist and clouds, so I couldn't see the view. I think you should be able to see the river from there on a clear day.

This part of the old fortress was labelled Mt. Achasan Forts 4 (아차산 4보루)

Hardly able to see anything through the mist

After hiking a little further I decided to call it a day and just go back down the way I came, since it was still raining and my feet were soaking wet. I went back to Achasan subway station and had a very very satisfying vegan bibimbap at Loving Hut. (Update: I'm not sure if Loving Hut is still open at this location.)

Other stuff to do in the area:
Immediately to the other side of Achasan subway station is Seoul Children's Grand Park. It's pretty big so you could probably spend a whole day just wandering around there.

If you want to go to the river, hike down towards Gwangnaru station. I've also heard there is some kind of historic re-enactment village on that side of the mountain, so I'm pretty excited to check that out next time! (Update: I did, and it was awesome! Check out the post here.)

아차산   峨嵯山  Achasan   ('high' 峨 - 'rising up' 嵯 - 'mountain' 山)
용마산   龍馬山  Yongmasan   ('dragon' 龍 - 'horse' 馬  - 'mountain' 山)

벽화   壁畵   mural paintings   ('wall' 壁 + 'picture' 畵)
보루   堡壘   bastion, fort 


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