We received the absolute best news this past Friday, and Ryan’s battalion lockdown (or ROM) was finally lifted. They now fall under the same USFK guidelines as the rest of us, and he is allowed to leave home and the installation to hike, bike, etc. We still can’t travel, and we can’t go to Seoul or even dine in restaurants, but this is such a welcome change. Ryan was finally able to come hiking with us, and we decided to kick it up a notch for our third hike of 2022 by hiking Mubongsan trail in Hwaseong-si, which is here in our province, Gyeonggi-do.
Hiking Mubongsan Trail in Hwaseong
We set a big goal a few weeks ago, saying we wanted to tackle 30 hikes as a family this year. It’s lofty, but we think it’s doable, especially if outdoor activities remain the ones we’re actually allowed to do. It’s been really cold here lately with highs right at freezing though, so we decided to head out to the trail around midday, rather than tackling an early hike like we normally do.
Mubongsan Trail is about 45 minutes from Camp Humphreys, and I simply copied the GPS coordinates from AllTrails, which took us directly to the trailhead. When we started winter hiking in Washington last year, we learned the art of layers, and we wore our base layers until we got to the trailhead. Then, we started layering up before we hit the trail. This turned out to be a good idea because, though there was no wind in the flatland of Pyeontaek where we live, the wind was painful on the trail.
Family Friendly Hiking Trails Near Pyeongtaek
Mubongsan Trail is rated moderate, and we knew it would be a bit of a challenge with the elevation gain, but it was definitely on the tough end of moderate as we continue to build our hiking legs back up. The trail follows a ridgeline, which means it was a series up vertical climbs, short descents, then quick burst right back up, peaking at about 980ish vertical feet. Ryan’s back has been a little tweaky, so I wore Mieke the whole time (barring the .25 miles she did at the start).
Our favorite part of hiking in South Korea is just how friendly the other hikers are! They are seriously so kind, and they cheered the boys on the whole way, which was a definite confidence boost for them. Plus, Mubonsan Trail has plenty of little rest stops up the trail, as well, with both benches and platforms to stop at the varying ridges, fuel up, then continue on the way. Possibly our favorite part, however, was the little makeshift café juuuusst past the peak. A couple of Korean gentlemen put up a wind block with tarps, hiked up with libations, and were serving hot drinks and noodles at the top for weary climbers. It’s so fun to see how South Korea embraces this outdoor culture!
Tips for Hiking Mubongsan Trail
Trail Length: AllTrails clocks it as 2.8 miles, though our GPS had us right at 3 miles for the loop trail.
Level of Difficulty: Moderate, though it depends on skill level. It’s not long, but it’s steep, and the leaf cover on the ground covers a good bit of ice and snow.
Cost: Free – we parked behind one of the cafes on the main strip; if you wish to use the café at the peak, bring small bills! I think the most costly item was about W8,000
Address: We couldn’t find it on either Waze or Naver, but we copied the GPS coordinates from AllTrails, and it got us to the trailhead. Input these GPS coordinates into Waze – 37.20407, 127.14045