The Hoengjongju course starts at Bukhansan-Ui Station on the Ui Sinseol Line. Starting with Yeongbong Peak, it is a 17km-long course that passes through Baegundae, Daedongmun Gate, Daenammun Gate, Munsubong Peak, Seung-Gabong Peak, Bibong Peak, Hyangnobong Peak, and Jokduribong Peak to reach Bulgwang. If you walk from Exit 2 of Bukhansan-Ui Station to Yungmojeong Park Ranger Post, you will see a signpost indicating 2.7km to the first stop, Yeongbong Peak. The Hoenjongju course’s hiking distance is pretty long. The climbing difficulty is high, and it requires a lot of time, so it is recommended to have resilience even if you are confident in your physical strength acquired through regular exercises. If you walk further along the signpost, you will pass Yongdeoksa Temple, which always puts people's minds at ease.
Find some peace of mind and the might to cross Bukhansan Mountain. If you go about 1km further from Yongdeoksa Temple, you will arrive at the first point, Yeongbong Peak, which is 604m above sea level. When you climb Yeongbong Peak, you can see the beautiful panoramic scenery of Insubong Peak behind the rocks and pine trees.
Baegundae is the highest peak of Bukhansan Mountain, with an elevation of 836m. Therefore, the road from Yeongbong Peak to Baegundae will not be easy. However, once you reach Baegundae, you will enjoy the highest summit of Bukhansan Mountain, which boasts an outstanding view of downtown Seoul. When you come down after experiencing the summit of Bukhansan Mountain, you have to descend very carefully. It would help if you were careful not to get yourself injured because the mountain has steep slopes. Taking a break and sorting things at the Bukhansan Shelter located halfway is preferable. The Seoul Fortress Trail continues past the Bukhansan Shelter. Halfway through that trail, you can see Dongjangdae, used as a military training command post by generals in the past. The scenery of Bukhansan Mountain, seen outside the Seoul fortress Trail, is filled with numerous rocky peaks. It’s considered one of the best rock-climbing sites in Korea, so it would be interesting to walk while counting the number of rocky peaks while traversing Bukhansan Mountain.
The course that runs along the fortress wall from Daedongmun Gate to Daenammun Gate goes uphill and downhill, so you will not get bored passing through it. If you arrive at Daenammun Gate, the distance remaining to Munsubong Peak is not much. If you go up a little more from Daenammun Gate, you can see Munsubong Peak, which boasts a panoramic view, and is relatively high at 727m above sea level. If you look north from Munsubong Peak, you can see with your own eyes the spot where Uisang Ridge, Sanseong Main Ridge, and Bibong Ridge meet. One of the biggest appeals of Bukhansan’s Hoengjongju is that you can see the ridges with your own eyes and conquer them with your own feet.
If you have checked the Bibong Ridge with your own eyes, go and conquer Bibong Peak. When going up or down Bibong Peak past Seungga-bong Peak, you will walk mainly on rocks, so you must put strength in your ankles. When you reach the top of Bibong Peak, you will see Hyangnobong Peak and Jokduribong Peak. The name of Bibong Peak comes from the fact that King Jinheung of Silla expanded his territory to the Han River area and built the Pure Monument to commemorate the site. The Pure Monument of King Jinheung has been moved to the National Museum of Korea, and a replica of it is currently located in Bibong.
The road from Bibong Peak to the next point, Hyangnobong Peak, although not steep is made of rocks, so it is somewhat tricky. The name Hyangnobong Peak is derived from the fact that it looks like an incense burner from a distance. Interestingly, it is also called Indubong Peak because it resembles a person's profile depending on where you stand, or Samjibong Peak because it consists of three peaks. Hyangnobong Peak and Bibong Peak are so close that you can see one from the other’s location. King Jinheung’s Pure Monument, which was seen earlier in Bibong Peak, can also be somewhat seen from the top of Hyangnobong Peak.
Now let's start with Jokduribong Peak, the last peak on the Hoengjongju course. From Hyangnobong Peak, you can reach Jokduribong Peak through a steep stone staircase. It is the first peak of the Bibong ridge, and its name is derived from the fact that when viewed from a distance, the shape of the peak looks like a jokduri (a bridal crown.) This Jokduribong Peak also has several names. Because it looks like an eagle's head and resembles Suribong or Insubong, it is called the small Insubong Peak. The elevation of Jokduribong Peak is 370m, which is the lowest among the peaks climbed so far. Since Jokduribong Peak is the edge of the Bibong Ridge, if you look back on the road you came from, you will see the Bibong Ridge that you have passed.
Hoengjongju is worth trying if you are a professional mountaineer who wants a strenuous hike that will challenge your spirit! The hike to Hoengjongju takes much longer than simply climbing a mountain. It is a tough course in which you have to go up and down rough rocky hills and steep roads. In preparation for this long-distance hike, you should condition yourself physically and pay more attention to safety on rough courses. It is also essential to prepare water, drinks, and snacks to hydrate and energize yourself. Let's try to become true professional mountaineers who completely conquered Bukhansan Mountain by taking on the challenge while fully prepared.