Experience Mount Pilatus
Whether you are a tourist or a resident of Switzerland, a trip to Mount Pilatus is a must! This gorgeous mountain overlooking Luzern in central Switzerland offers spectacular views, nature, walking/hiking trails, panoramic gondolas, aerial cable-cars, the steepest cogwheel train in the world, a play park, a rope climbing park, and the longest summer toboggan run in Switzerland. You can reach the top of Mount Pilatus at 2128 m by cogwheel train from the south side of the mountain from the town of Alpnachstad or by cable car and gondola from the north side of the mountain, starting in the town of Kriens. Whichever way you go, be sure to check the live view on the TV screen near the ticket counter at the bottom before you purchase your tickets so that you don’t pay for the trip up, only to stare at the clouds!
The South Route
To get to the south side of Mount Pilatus, you can drive directly to Alpnachstad following the A2 and A8 motorway or you can take the train to Luzern, followed by a 20-minute train ride to Alpnachstad. From there, you can then reach the top of Mount Pilatus by taking the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, which follows a winding route through lush meadows carpeted with Alpine flowers, past sparkling mountain streams, and along fascinating rock faces. The cogwheel train, which first opened as a steam train in 1889 and was converted to an electric motor in 1937, will have you reaching the top (Pilatus Kulm) in about 30 minutes.
The North Route
The get to the top of Mount Pilatus from the north side, you need to go to the town of Kriens near Luzern. If you go by car, take the Luzern Süd/Kriens exit off of Autobahn 2. You can also get to Kriens by public transport by taking the train to Luzern and then bus 1 from Luzern to Kriens (15 minutes); get off at the stop called Linde Pilatus and walk approximately 5 minutes to the base of the cable car.
From here, the trip up the mountain is completed in three segments, and you can buy tickets up to the first station (Krienseregg), the second station (Fräkmüntegg), or the top of the mountain (Pilatus Kulm). The first two segments are served by the same gondola. You can go up directly to Fräkmüntegg or you can get off the gondola at Krienseregg to enjoy a playpark (Pilu-Land) for the kids and a bite at the restaurant, before getting back on and continuing to Fräkmüntegg. At this stop you can find fun for the whole family with the Pilatus Rope Park as well as the longest summer toboggan run in Switzerland. From Fräkmüntegg, the new aerial cableway “Dragon Ride” will then take you to Pilatus Kulm in an exhilarating 3.5 minutes.
Walking / Hiking
In addition to the short walking trails that you can take at the top of Pilatus Kulm to fully appreciate the panoramic views, you can also opt to hike one or more of the travel segments on the north route up or down. While both the segments between Kriens and Krienseregg and between Krienseregg and Fräkmüntegg are relatively easy trails, the stretch from Fräkmüntegg to Pilatus Kulm is more challenging. Finally, if you are really sporty, there is also a hiking trail on the south side of the mountain, from Alpnachstad all the way up to Pilatus Kulm.
Silver Round Trip
To get the full Mount Pilatus experience, you can book a round trip, taking the gondola and aerial cableway up to the top from Kriens and going down by cogwheel train to Alpnachstad. Then, take the train from Alpnachstad to Luzern and from there the bus to Kriens and to your car. Of course you can also do this tour in the opposite direction, going up from Alpnachstad, down to Kriens, and then returning to your car by bus and train. This experience also allows some time for a scenic visit to the beautiful city of Luzern.
Golden Round Trip
The Golden Round trip takes the Mount Pilatus experience to another level by substituting the 20-minute train ride from Luzern to Alpnachstad with a 50–90-minute scenic boat ride on beautiful Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee). This Golden Round trip, which lets you enjoy the beautiful lake, mountains views, and technological marvels of Switzerland, is an experience that you and/or your guests will not soon forget.
A full round-trip to the top of Mount Pilatus and back down on either side costs CHF 72 for adults/CHF 36 for kids up to their 16th birthday or holders of the Halbtax Abo. A return trip from Kriens to Krienseregg is CHF 20/CHF 10, and a return trip from Kriens to Fräkmüntegg costs CHF 40/CHF 20. You can also opt for one-way tickets for half the price if you intend to walk up or down the other direction.
The Silver Round trip costs CHF 85.20/CHF 42.60, and the Golden Round trip costs CHF 103.60/CHF 52.20 per person. Kids ages 6–16 can travel for free with their parents if they hold a Junior Card.