Day trip from Lucerne: Mt. Pilatus

Seen from the central Switzerland city of Lucerne, Mt. Pilatus is full of a range of accessible trails and magnificent photo opportunities. The mountain’s emblem is that of a dragon, which pays homage to the people in the Middle Ages who thought that dragons with healing powers lived on the mountain. Hike Mt. Pilatus and witness this legend for yourself! 

Head over to the tourism office in the Lucerne train station to get tickets for all of the stages of your Pilatus journey. First, take a 40-minute train ride from Lucerne to Alpnachstad. Then, hop aboard the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. In only 30 minutes, this railway will hike to the top of Mt. Pilatus to reach an altitude of 2’132m. 

view from inside the cogwheel railway

Note that when we visited Mt. Pilatus, it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit on a sunny day in the city of Lucerne. However, as we neared the top of the mountain, we started to see our breath, snow started to become increasingly visible, and the other passengers of the cogwheel railway started to put their jackets on. We did not have any additional layers but luckily, there is a souvenir shop at the top of the mountain (as well as bathrooms and a place to eat!) so I was able to get a sweatshirt. 

standing on the very edge (before I slipped twice!)

Depending on the day, you can see puffy clouds roll by, other mountains, or Lake Lucerne and other lakes down below. Walk down the Dragon’s Path or explore the different paths for yourself, offering beautiful views whichever way you turn. 

Lake Lucerne

To leave Mt. Pilatus, step into the aerial cableway “Dragon Ride” and enjoy more panoramic views, this time coming down a different side of the mountain. Then you will transfer to a gondola cable car that takes you down to Kriens. The bus back from Kriens to Lucerne is only 10 minutes. 

the Dragon Ride

I highly recommend this Swiss mountain as well as this specific round trip, for it allows you to make the most of your day on the mountain while providing the least amount of travel time to and from the mountain. 

CJ walking up the mountain’s edge

For more information, visit: https://www.pilatus.ch/en/