A visit to the wonderful Mount Pilatus

Alpnachstad Travel Blog

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Southwest of Luzern you can see a giant mountain looming above; this is the very beautiful Mount Pilatus rising in total 2132 meters above sea level.

The odd name supposedly deriving from the dark myth that the corpse of Pontius Pilate was flung into a small lake on the mountain, his spirit for ever after haunting the summit and bound to bring tempest and damnation down onto Luzern if disturbed. But more prosaically, the name is probably derived from the Latin word pileatus, meaning “capped” (ie with clouds).

There are two means of transport to the top, making it easy to do a half- or full-day round trip from Luzern – simpler than in 1868, when Queen Victoria made the excursion on mule back, but that was here option I guess.

Boats and local trains run from Luzern to Alpnachstad, from where the steepest rack railway in the world runs at a gradient touching 48 percent directly to the top of the mountain; the journey up is half-an-hour, while the journey down takes a careful forty minutes.

The second route up the mountain starts at Kriens; from here a cable-car rises to Fräkmüntegg, itself connected to the summit by gondola. The Kriens–Fräkmüntegg–Pilatus route runs year-round, while the Alpnachstad–Pilatus railway is summer only (closed Dec to mid-May). I can strongly recommend this trip; I found it extremely beautiful and very easy to handle; did I say that I normally hate heights!

On the top are a couple of hotels, but if you’re looking for a mountain-top night, you’d do better on the Rigi instead. The walk to the highest point of the mountain, the Tomlishorn, takes less than thirty minutes from the top station, with breathtakingly expansive views out over the lake the whole way along the cliff top path. It’s also easy to walk back to Luzern from Fräkmüntegg (2hr 30min), or to make your way down from the summit to Alpnachstad or Hergiswil (3hr) or Kriens (3hr 30min).

I would check the weather forecast before going up; because if it is cloud free, you have the most amazing view from the top. I totally enjoyed the view at the top but I guess that we were extremely lucky with the weather.

CrazyLisa says:
Wow that is so high! It looks so neat with the clouds!
Posted on: Dec 03, 2007
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My son on the top of Pilatus
My son on the top of Pilatus
photo by: Chokk