Bukhansan National Park
Bukhansan National Park is located in the most northeastern corner of South Korea. The national park encompasses an area of 30.86 square miles (79.92 sq km).
Temples are part of the cultural experience found in Bukhansan. The park is comprised of granite summits that are surrounded by forest areas. Baekundae is the tallest summit reaching a height of 2,744 feet (836.5 m), however, the whole area is quite remarkable.
Insubong is the second tallest at 2,659 feet (810.5 m) with Mangnyeongdae coming in third at a height of 2,623 feet (799.5 m). The mountains are stunning and with the neighboring forest create a spectacular picturesque landscape. The rugged rocks peaking out over the forests are magnificent.
The Bukhansanseong Fortress was constructed back in the 1700s and is part of the main draw of the park. In addition to the fortress, there are other temples and historical facets. Only 6 of the original 13 Buddhist temples remain. These temples originally served as places for the monks, however, today they are not operational and serve as part of the historical protected architecture.
The national park is not known for wildlife, but there is some there. Water deer, wild boar, and a variety of smaller animals like chipmunks and squirrels are found throughout the park. More prominent is the abundant bird species which makes this a great place for birdwatchers. There are multiple species of woodpeckers, songbirds, and even predator species.
The Bukhansanseong Fortress nestled within the mountainous forested area is the leading attraction of the park. The fortress, temples, walls, and supporting structure are excellent examples of Korean architecture from the time period. These cultural and historical facets are all surrounded in stunning natural landscapes.
The Bukhansanseong Fortress is an example of Korean castle architecture and a unique structure from the Joseon period built during the year 1711. It served as a royal retreat and there are 120 rooms, 16 gates with 6 of them classified as great gates. It stretches a distance of 7.89 miles (12.7 km) and covers an area of 16 square miles (6.2 sq km).
Bukhansan National Park Trails
There are several trails throughout the park to help people explore the forested, mountainous, and culturally historic area. It is one of the favorite places to hike and explore for Korean locals.
This is the tallest summit in the park and subsequently one of the more popular desired treks. It is difficult and should only be taken by those who are in good physical condition. The ascent occurs over 3,166 feet (965 m). It is 8.4 miles (13.5 km) from the trailhead to the summit. The average grade is 12% with the steepest grade coming in at 78%.
This is a trail that takes about 1.5 hours while meandering through the forest, along streams, a gorge, and a waterfall. It covers a distance of about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and is considered fairly easy.
This is an uphill trail covering a distance of 2.11 miles (3.4 km) to the top of Baegundae summit. It takes about 2.5 hours to reach the top before making the trek back down. The final stretch of the trek requires holding on to a rope while hiking up a steep ascent.
Wontongsa Temple Trail
This is an intermediate to difficult trail to experience the Wontongsa Temple. It covers a distance of 2.2 miles (3.54 km) with significant elevation change. It provides stunning views along the way.
Bukhansan National Park was created for both natural and historical significance. Baekundae and Insubong summits serve as the foundation of the park naturally with the Bukhansanseong Fortress and an array of temples serving as the foundation culturally. The South Korean government established the park to protect both the beauty of the landscapes and the cultural heritage.
- Bukhansanseong Fortress
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- National Parks of Korea, Bukhansan, http://english.knps.or.kr/Knp/Bukhansan/Intro/Introduction.aspx?MenuNum=1&Submenu=Npp, retrieved October 2019.
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