Mount Pilatus ‘Golden Round Trip’, Lucerne

A Cog Railcar grinds up the steep incline of Mount Pilatus, near Lucerne, Switzerland

The world’s steepest railway (48%) hard at work dragging another load up Mount Pilatus (Kulm).

Going up Mount Pilatus via ‘Golden Round Trip’

Tourists taking the ‘Golden Round Trip’ buy a relatively good value day pass but have personal responsibility to find and board the right public transport system at various times throughout the day. This is how it goes:

– board a ferry from the main port beside KKL (shiny black culture centre), train and bus station. The ferry wanders about Lake Lucerne (aka Vierwald-Stattersee) for 90 minutes before docking at Alpnachstad. Hint: get on the right side of the boat (starboard/right side usually), near the exit before arriving at Alpnachstad and move off quickly as most other tourists on the ferry will also be heading 100m to the cogwheel carriage stop and seats are limited in these tiny carriages so waiting times can be long if it’s high season!
p. s. you can also take a 20 minute train ride (direction: Sarnen) to Alpnachstad.

– take a carriage on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway to almost the top of Mount Pilatus (Kulm) and the spectacular views (if the weather is clear). Travel time: 30 minutes.

Golden Round Trip Mt Pilatus cog railway, Lucerne, Switzerland

August in Switzerland and tourists fresh off tour buses or the ferry from Lucerne on stage 2 of their Golden Round Trip queue restively, elbows at the ready for the opening of the gates to the next Mount Pilatus cogwheel carriage.

Mount Pilatus summit

Mt Pilatus Kulm, view, Lucerne, Switzerland

Hotel, cable car and cogwheel station, restaurants, shops and more at just about the top of Mount Pilatus.

Mt Pilatus Kulm, Lake Lucerne view, Switzerland

The view from Pilatus peak, opposite side to the cog railway.

The panorama encompasses: Luzern on the left, Burgenstock on the right, Lake Lucerne (Vierwald-Stattersee) in the middle and Mount Rigi straight ahead. See the Pilatus-Lucerne Map.

The cable car runs to/from the Frakmuntegg activity park (Seilpark) on the south side of Pilatus; the cogwheel train runs up/down the north side.

Mount Pilatus things to do

Paragliding off Mount Pilatus, Switzerland

Paragliding is a popular though tricky way to descend from Pilatus.

From Pilatus Kulm take a walk, long or short, 10 minutes to several hours.
Alternatively have a scenic lunch: sandwiches, beers and picnic tables available or splash out on a fine lunch at one of the restaurants.
If you’re feeling frisky take the fast way down, hanging from a paraglider.

Mt Pilatus hiking trail, Lucerne, Switzerland

One of many hiking trails leading off from Mt Pilatus, Central Switzerland’s highest point.

How to take your kids down to the Pilatus Rope Park 

Descending Mount Pilatus

Hop on a personal gondola (a small cable car) for a 30m drop to Kriens. Walk 5 minutes down to the bus stop (well-signposted). Take #1 bus back to Luzern Banhof (station). 15 minutes.

n. b. the well-heeled can stay overnight at one of the Mount Pilatus hotels, the historic Pilatus-Kulm or the more modern Bellevue. There are other good value Central Switzerland multi-transport, travel passes available, including 7-day and 15-day ‘Tell-Pass’

Pilatus rope park, Frakmuntegg

Take a cable car just 5 minutes to Frakmuntegg, an activity centre offering summer toboggan runs (not very fast) or the largest rope park – with zip-lines and aerial walkways – in Central Switzerland, the Pilatus-Seilpark.
The rope park closes at about 6pm in summer but the entry fee covers a 3 hour stay, so get there in time (not easy if you hike Pilatus) if you want your child to have a full session.

Frakmuntegg, Pilatus Rope Park, rope-walking, Lucerne, Switzerland

One section of the excellent and popular Pilatus rope park in Frakmuntegg, 5 minutes by cable-car from Pilatus peak, 30 minutes up from Kriens by gondola or about an hour’s walk if you’re fit.

Make sure you leave a full 3 hours for Pilatus rope park activities at Frakmuntegg, including the toboggan run. Many tourists do Pilatus hiking on one day and return via a Kriens gondola for half a day, returning to Kriens on foot across Alpine meadows, moorland and streams, taking about an hour.

Official site: Luzern tourism

Mount Pilatus Map

Mt Pilatus activities map, Lucerne, Switzerland

The main route involved in a Lake Lucerne ‘Golden Round Trip’.