Like every year in the summer, my husband’s parents came to visit us in Lucerne. Because they recently got crazy about hiking, their visit was supposed to be a series of hiking trips around Swiss Alps. Unfortunately due to the rainy weather, we’ve only managed to do one hiking trip. This was the trip to Pilatus, Lucerne’s home mountain.
Our trip began in Alpnachstad where the the valley station of the mountain railway is located. Pilatus Bahn, as the railway is called, came to existence in 1889 and is with the gradient up to 48% the steepest cogwheel railway in the world.
After buying our train tickets, we’ve boarded the train and took a lift to the middle station Ämsigen (1359 m). From there we hiked all the way up to top of the Pilatus – Pilatus Kulm (2070 m).
I liked the hiking trail from Ämsigen to Pilatus Kulm a lot. It is app. 3,4 km long and is quite steep at some points. It takes some effort to conquer it, but hiking through gorgeous alpine meadows and striking rock formations with some amazing views over Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne) made the effort much easier for me.
After app. 2 hours of hiking, we’ve reached the top of Pilatus – Pilatus Kulm. By the time we got there, the fog and clouds covered covered the mountain and hid the panoramic views over Lucerne and Vierwaldstätterse. Therefore, instead of walking to the viewing points, we went for a lunch at the restaurant of Hotel Pilatus-Kulm.
After lunch, the clouds and fog lifted for a bit. We walked to the Oberhaupt (2106m) and Esel (2118 m) viewing points. Despite the sky wasn’t clear, we were still able to take a glimpse of the amazing panorama over Lucerne and the surrounding area.
On our way up to both viewing points, it became clear to us, Pilatus Kulm is very touristy place. Not only, it is gorgeous scenic place, but is also easy accessible from Lucerne by the mountain railway from Alpnachstad we took, and by the aerial cableway and gondola from Kriens. Therefore, it is not surprising to meet the tourists wearing the most inappropriate footwear for the mountains (e.g. heels) trying to walk uphill to the viewing points. Even though the trail to viewing points Oberhaupt and Esel aren’t difficult, the surface of the path is uneven. Watching tourists in inappropriate footwear struggling not to get hurt while super slowly walking those paths was rather painful.
After we’ve caught a glimpse of the panoramic views, it was soon time to return back to the valley. We took a train back to Alpnachstad what proved to be a wise decision, because on or ride down it started to drizzle.
INFO ABOUT THE TRAIL:
According to my Polar watch:
- Starting point: Ämsigen (1359 m), end point: Pilatus Kulm (2070 m)
- Ascent: 711 m
- Length: 3.34 km
- Time to complete the trail: 2 hours (1,5 hours of walking)
HOW TO GET TO MT PILATUS?
By public transport:
From Lucerne main railway station, take the train to Alpnachstad railway station.
From Lucerne’s pier take the boat to Alpnachstad.
At the highway A8 drive in direction Sarnen/Interlaken, take exit Alpnachstad, then follow the signs to the station of the Pilatus Bahn.
Paid parking spaces are avaliable (5CHF/24h)