Start: Digital Media City Station
Distance: 11-13 km
For those who love hills or those who want to love hills. This run is one of the more challenging 10-15k runs I’ve been on in a couple of years.
To get there, take the subway to Digital Media City Station. Go out exit 1, and continue straight for 20-30 meters. You will quickly run into a stream, and a sign that tells you Seoul Trail is to the left on the stream.
Take the ramp or stairs down to the stream, and cruise straight for about 1 km. Be watchful for a sign on the left that tells you Seoul Trail is up a set of stairs. At the top of those stairs, cross the street and continue to follow the signs toward Seoul Trail (everything is well-marked). You will run briefly on some side streets. And then, the fun begins.
The paved road up to the trail is a bit of foreshadowing for what is to come. It is a fairly long, steep hill that should get you winded just before you get onto the trail. Continue onto the trail where you will face more of the same. Big hill after big hill. Just when you think you’re finally through the hills and that this is going to be a nice jog through the forest, you hit another one. When the hill leads around a corner and you think, “Maybe this one is going to end soon,” you’re probably wrong. You’ll face several challenging, long, steep hills. At least the in-betweens are full of comfortable rollers that you can cruise on.
After another grueling hill, you’ll reach the summit of Bongsan, which has solar panels, a pagoda, and some great views of Bukhansan. Take a rest here and then happily stumble down a couple of kilometers of downhill before coming out at a parking lot and a street.
Run through the parking lot, and as the signs tell you, cross the street at the crosswalk to your left. Take a right when you cross the street toward the “Goodbye Goyang” tunnel. At the base of the tunnel, you will turn left onto a narrow trail through a small farm.
And then, the fun begins again, with a vengeance. The first hill on this section of the trail is brutally steep, and the hardest so far. Mad props to you if you can take on the whole thing without taking a few seconds to suck wind. The trail has one or two more big hills, but you’re nearing the end.
You’ll start your final descent near some old military trenches. Continue to follow the signs when you get to the garden. This is just about the end to a very difficult Seoul trail run. Pass the big smoke stack, and you’re right by Gupabal Station where you can catch a train out.