The Pilatus is located just outside Lucerne. The summit at 2119 m can be reached via two different routes.
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A day trip to the Pilatus
The Pilatus makes an excellent day trip for several reasons. It's close to Lucerne and it's easily accessible by two different routes: a cogwheel train from Alpnachstad and a cable car from Kriens, a suburb of Lucerne. The cogwheel train is spectacular: it's the steepest one in the world, and it crosses a fierce landscape with impressive rock walls.
You'll find several bars and restaurants at the top, as well as a terrace to enjoy the views of Lake Lucerne and the Alps. Also there's a 'Dragon Path' about the myths around this mountain, and several hiking trails to viewing points.
'Golden Round Trip'
Take the boat from Lucerne to Alpnachstad. Change to the cogwheel train to the Pilatus. Then take the cable car down to Fräkmüntegg and change to the gondola to Kriens. It's a 10 minute walk to the bus stop called 'Kriens, Zentrum Pilatus'. There, you can take bus line 1 to the Lucerne rail station (15 minutes).
'Silver Round Trip'
This is similar to the 'Golden Round Trip', except that you reach Alpnachstad by regular train instead of the boat.
Toboggan and rope park
Fräkmüntegg is between Kriens and Mount Pilatus. It's where you change from the gondola to the cable car, and you'll find a long toboggan run, a rope park and a restaurant there.
Check the weather forecast to make sure it will be clear enough to enjoy the views. Also check the timetable. The cogwheel train does not operate in Winter.