Travel Guide

Hidden Gems in Seoul: The Seoul City Wall

November 3, 2021

If you’re looking for an outdoor activity in Seoul, this is for you!

Fall colors are finally here and it’s the perfect temperature for hikes and cozy picnics.

And if you haven't done much touring yet, you can combine both activities in an afternoon and make it a cultural excursion in Seoul’s historic center.

Jung-gu is Seoul’s cultural center where you’ll find the five royal palaces of Seoul: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, and Gyeonghuigung Palace.

Photo: The Seoul Guide

Surrounding these five palaces are four mountains: Bugaksan, Naktasan, Mongmyeoksan, and Inwangsan. And along the ridges of these four mountains stand an 18.6km long stone wall called The Seoul City Wall (Hanyangdoseong), also known as The Fortress Wall of Seoul, built in the 1300s to defend the newly established capital, Hanyang, of the Joseon Dynasty.

Photo: Korea Herald | Seoul Metropolitan Government

There are 6 incredible hiking trails along the wall where you can immerse yourself in nature, enjoy awe-inspiring views of the city, and see some of the historical gates of Seoul between the routes.

Photo:  Seoul Metropolitan Government  

We recommend the following 4 trails that take 1~2 hours to complete.

From the eastern part of Jung-gu near Dongdaemun Station is Heunginjumin Gate where two trails end and begin.

Naksan Mountain Trail

• Section : Hyehwamun Gate ~ Heunginjimun Gate
• Distance : 2.1km
• Duration : about 1 hour

Heunginjimun Gate Trail

• Section : Heunginjimun Gate ~ Jangchung Gymnasium
• Distance : 1.8km
• Duration : about 1 hour

From the western part of Jung-gu near Gwanghwamun Station are the following two trails.

Sungnyemun Gate Trail

• Section : Baekbeom Square ~ Site of Donuimun Gate
• Distance : 1.8km
• Duration : About 1 hour

Inwangsan Mountain Trail

• Section : Site of Donuimun Gate ~ Changuimun Gate
• Distance : 4km
• Duration : about 2 hours 30 minutes

There are also 2 longer trails in the northern and southern part of Jung-gu that take up to 3 hours to complete.

Baegak Mounatain Trail

• Trail : Changuimun Gate ~ Hyehwamun Gate
• Distance : 4.7km
• Duration : about 3 hours

Namsan(Mongmyeoksan) Mountain Trail

• Section : Jangchung Gymnasium ~ Baekbeom Square
• Distance : 4.2km
• Duration : about 3 hours

Some trails enter a high security area so you may need your passport on hand. Make sure to check whether the trail is open and/or open to foreigners before visiting.

For more information about the hiking trails, visit the official Seoul Metropolitan Government website for The Seoul City Wall.

To learn more about The Seoul City Wall, check out UNESCO World Heritage Centre website.

There aren’t any rest stops along the trail so don’t forget to pack water, snacks, or food!

When it’s not too crowded you can sit along the stone steps or benches and enjoy a quick bite with a view. Always remember to leave no trace and take any trash with you.

Below are a list of Jung-gu restaurants where you can conveniently pick up food on the way or after your hike!

Our most popular pickup spots in Jung-gu are:

1. Cuchara (Mexican)  
2. Hooked Poke (Veg & Health)
3. Juicy Bros (Veg & Health)  
4. Kyochon Chicken (Chicken)  
5. Adnan Kebab (Arabic & Turkish)

Our recommendation for picnic foods in Jung-gu:

1. Salads from Hillside Table (Veg & Health)
2. Burrito bowls from Dos Tacos (Mexican)  
3. Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches from Plus 84 (Asian)
4. Rice wraps from JilHal Bros (Arabic & Turkish)
5. Desserts from Coyu Deli (Desserts)

Go to the Shuttle app and set your address to Jung-gu to explore more options.

Happy hiking and bon appétit !

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