Lucerne’s Pilatus mountain (2,118m above sea level) boasts some of the most spectacular views in Switzerland. From the summit, you can see across the Central Swiss Alps and the Jura all the way to France and the Black Forest in Germany.
Pilatus is one of the most accessible peaks in the Swiss Alps, which means hikers can pick and choose the best trails for them and leave the effort of the ascent to the various cable cars. Pilatus can be reached by gondola and cable car from Lucerne, while the steepest cog railway in the world takes visitors up from Alpnachstad. Once at the top, there are several well-developed trails leading to the various panoramic peaks. Where dragons once breathed fire and ghosts howled, families and visitors from all around the world now walk on secure cliff paths.
Peak tour – Pilatus Kulm to Esel, Oberhaupt and Tomlishorn
From the Pilatus Kulm upper station, the Esel, Oberhaupt and Tomlishorn viewpoints are a short walk away along good footpaths. It takes 20 minutes to walk round the Oberhaupt peak, 15 minutes to climb the Esel and 30 to 40 minutes to reach the highest, outermost Pilatus peak, the Tomlishorn.
Fräkmüntegg and Krienseregg
This easy yet scenic hike (1 hour 40 mins) goes from Krienseregg middle station past the Schönenboden hut to Fräkmüntegg middle station. Families and adventure junkies will welcome the opportunity to combine the hike with Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run and suspension rope park on the Fräkmüntegg. There is also a big children’s playground as well as various BBQ spots and picnic sites.
Drachenweg (Dragon trail)
The Drachenweg trail atop Mount Pilatus is a chance for young and old to discover the myths and legends associated with this mountain. This 40-minute circular trail offers glorious views of the Central Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne.
Alpnachstad – Pilatus Kulm
For those who prefer to tackle the ascent up Pilatus from Alpnachstad under their own steam rather than by cog railway, the medium-difficulty hike via Ämsigen is a great choice. This route takes 4 hours 30 minutes and leads past flower-filled alpine meadows, burbling mountain streams and steep rocky cliffs. The effort of the climb is rewarded with a spectacular descent to the valley by cog railway – with an incline of 48%, it remains the steepest cog railway in the world.
Fancy catching a sunset up the mountain? Two major hotels run excursions to enable visitors to enjoy atmospheric sunrises and sunsets on top of the world.
May - October
2 to 4 hours (half day), 4 to 8 hours (full day)