Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus round trip with elder

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30 posts
active member
Jul 21, 2017 - 8:47 PM


I will be travelling with my 80yr old father in September and have some questions on whether I should do the Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus round trip while in Lucerne.

- I want to choose based on how easy it will be for my father to do. I heard Pilatus to the bus stop in Kriens is a long walk. I guess there's no tram and no other way than walking to get there from Kriens?

- Also I want to avoid an experience that may be similar to what I have planned (Itinerary below) Apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge.

I will be travelling in Switzerland for couple weeks including 3.5 days in Lugano (exploring the lakes, Verzasca Valley) 2.5 days in Lucerne, 2.5 days in Wengen (and exploring Grindelwald,Lauterbrunnen,Murren and possibily Schilthorn). I will also be taking the Gothard express from Lugano to Lucerne. And taking the Golden Pass train from Lucerne to Montreux.

Thanks so much! Appreciate any tips and recommendations :)

5073 posts
Jul 22, 2017 - 5:02 PM in reply to chyna106

Hi chyna106 -

Sounds like a wonderful trip. It is nice that your father can accompany you.

Can your father walk even short distances?

Each of the mountains (in the areas that you mention) that you are likely to experience and explore by rail or cableway has its own character. You are not going to have any duplication

To learn more about each one, search by name in the search tool of this website. For example: latus gi hilthorn

Pilatus -

First, you do not have to use the cableway from Kriens to Pilatus Kulm.

You can use the cograil that goes up from Alpnachstad. I have attached a few pictures to give you some idea about the conditions on the two mountains.

Pilatus is taller, rockier ( above the tree line) and has only a small area to explore on a level trail up top. The Rigi is not so tall, and even the top (Kulm) is only a bit above the tree line. There are many more things/places that can be explored by hiking on the Rigi than on Pilatus.


There are three ways to get up and down from Rigi Kulm.

The one that involves least walking is the route via boat to Vitznau and cograil train to Rigi Kulm. ( See link for Rigi).

If instead you go via Arth-Goldau, there is a 2 or 3 hundred meter walk between the valley station (in German - die Talstation) of the Rigibahn and the main line station at Arth-Goldau for the trains to the rest of Switzerland.

If you use the very scenic cablecar ( die Luftseilbahn, LSB) from just above Weggis to Rigi Kaltbad and then connect to the cograil, you have about a 100 meter level walk at Rigi Kaltbad to transfer to the cograil ( which runs between Vitznau and Rigi Kulm). A greater problem is at the bottom. From the Talstation of the LSB between to the ship landing or bus stop (no train at Wegis) ) is about a 15 minute walk down hill for a few hundred meters.

I've attached an image put togeter from a few shots taken from Hammetschwand showing the side of the Rigi at and above Weggis, with the route of the LSB marked.

At the top at Rigi Kulm the trains stop at the same platform at 1750 meters elevation, which is just a bit below the restaurant at about 1775 meters. From the station to the restaurant is a climb of 20 or 30 meters, and there is a climb of another 25 or 30 meters to the absolute peak at 1797 meters. There is an elevator in the restaurant.

This link provides a very detailed map of the summit area. I have set it for aerial photography view. If you switch to map view, you can see the altitudes and many other details. image&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev, tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,false&X=2 12194.08&Y=679503.64&z oom=10

The Jungfrau Region- ngfrauregion

I can also comment that you did not mention Kleine Scheidegg or Männlichen near the Jungfrau. A train up to Kleine Scheidegg from Wengen is a very nice ride, even if you do not change to the train which goes up to Jungfraujoch. There are nice views with very little walking at Kleine Scheidegg.

If your father can walk a hundred meters or so, with a bit of a hill, he can get from the mountain station at Männlichen (die Bergstation) of the LSB from Wengen, then walk to the restaurant at Männlichen, and the very nice views from there. The Talstation for that LSB is at Wengiboden, in the heart of Wengen village, about a 5 minute moderately uphill walk from the main station for the cograil.

The image labelled "Near the top....." looks down on the Bergstation and the restaurant. The image labelled "Männlichen Gipfel" looks up at the peak ( Gipfel) but also shows far left, the short climb up to the LSB station. The picture was taken from near the restaurant, and there is a smooth trail.

The panorama of the Jungfrau Massif visible from the top at Männlichen Gipfel is magnificent, but it does require a rather steep climb of about 100 meters altitude change to get up there. And,it requires clear weather. At that altitude, I pause to catch my breath on a climb like that ....frequently.

Hotels in Wengen generally will send a little electric cart pick you up with your luggage at the train station if you telephone them when you arrive in Wengen. Since the village is hilly, you may need that. I'd check with your hotel ahead of time to confirm that they will pick you up.

This is another link for a very detailed map. Both the aerial view and the map view are helpful. It show s wengen and also the Bergstation for the LSB between Wegen and Männlichen. yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev, tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,false&X=1 62046.61&Y=637505.76&z oom=7

This link will give you a little bit of reading about Wengen and the vicinity: rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim


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3973 posts
Jul 23, 2017 - 10:24 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

The Rigi Bahn Station at Arth-Goldhau is no longer a 200-300m walk from the main station. The refurbishment of the old Rigi Bahn Station is now complete and is accessible via a lift from the Arth-Goldhau platform. So the least walking option is Luzern - Vitznau - Rigi Kulm - Arth-Golhau or vice versa.

Refer /nachrichten/zentralsc hweiz/schwyz/rigi-bahnen-eroeffnen-hochperron-nach-sechsjaehriger-sanierung;art96,103906 9 and al/zentralschweiz/die-koenigin-der-berge-hat-nun-wieder-einen-wuerdigen-bahnhof and others if you google.

I may not have picked the best links - you will be able to translate better than I. 😇

Last modified on Jul 23, 2017 - 10:56 AM by rockoyster
3973 posts
Jul 23, 2017 - 11:00 AM in reply to chyna106

Hi Chyna,

From how you described your dad in earlier posts I don't think he would have any problems strolling down from the Pilatus base station to Kriens. It is a very gentle slope - 15 minutes stroll at most.

The most challenging part for your dad would most likely be hopping off the slowly moving gondola as Alpenrose described in response to one of your earlier posts. Also the steps up from the train at Rigi Kulm station could be a bit testing - speaking as a fellow senior citizen.

Notwithstanding all that - do the Golden Round trip going via Alpnachstad first - it is great.

Last modified on Jul 23, 2017 - 11:19 AM by rockoyster
5073 posts
Jul 23, 2017 - 1:04 PM in reply to rockoyster

<<"The Rigi Bahn Station at Arth-Goldhau is no longer a 200-300m walk from the main station.">>

Hi Rockoyster -

Thanks. Good news. I always go up and down the other side, so I missed that,


30 posts
active member
Jul 25, 2017 - 7:34 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks so much Slowpoke for the detailed post and links! I have a lot of homework to do before I decide between My Pilatus or Mt Rigi.

We are also exploring the Bernese Oberland area. We are basing ourselves in Wengen and have 2.5 days to explore (before taking the Golden Pass down to Montreux) so I'm also trying to figure out the itinerary for that as well. I did get some helpful suggestions ( rum/topic/help-with-itinerary-lucernebernese-oberland-55). But I am still confused about all the loops we can take as I still need to do more research. Is there a map of the different loops to take all around? So far i have:

9/19: Wengen (check in), Explore Wengen and Grindelwald, any loops to take?

9/20: Rockoyster suggested this loop: <Lauterbrunnen - Grütschalp - Mürren - Gimmelwald - Stechelberg - Lauterbrunnen> loop and then I was thinking of taking the cable car to Schilthorn (and do the Thrill walk!). - maybe Schynige Platte but don't know if there is enough time?

9/21: Aareschlucht gorge/ Lake Brienz (optional)

Thanks again! :) Oh, and yes my dad can walk short distances. He just needs to rest after 10-15 minutes. I also need to find out if he's ok with being at high altitudes or whether he's scared of heights! :-/

30 posts
active member
Jul 25, 2017 - 7:39 PM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you! :) Seems like Mt. Pilatus might be better for my dad then since there is an option to take the cograil. re: hopping off the slowly moving gondola, is there a lot of that? and is there someone who works there to help people get off?

3973 posts
Jul 25, 2017 - 9:46 PM in reply to chyna106

Hi Chyna,

On the way down (if you choose to go that way) you catch a large cable car (a level entry to a stationary vehicle) from the top to Fräkmüntegg. There you change to a small 4-seater gondola for the trip down to Kriens. There is a midway station at Krienseregg but you just go straight through that. So you have to get on once and get off once for the slowly moving gondolas. From what I recall there is a staff member present at all stations. You might also find this reassuring rm/traveling-with-a-disability/

At the end of the day the weather may be your deciding factor. The day we did Pilatus the weather was great. The next day we did Rigi. It was clear but from up top we could see Pilatus shrouded in clouds. You can check webcam for Pilatus here /

5073 posts
Jul 25, 2017 - 10:21 PM in reply to chyna106

Hi chyna106-

<<"But I am still confused about all the loops we can take as I still need to do more research. Is there a map of the different loops to take all around? So far i have:">>

This large overview panoramic map can help you understand the lay of the land, but it does not have much detail: /Public/Assets/User/fi les/Map-of-Jungfrauregion1.jpg

You can make your own loops, because of the large variety of paths and public transport. Some of the hikes listed here are parts of possible loops: rum/topic/easy-half-day-walks-in-the-bernese-oberland

However, if you want loops by transport, the panorama map plus the maps I link below can show you options, and the timetable metable

can give you timing and schedules.

You can also ask at the tourist office in Lauterbrunnen or Wengen, etc., once you are there. What you need to be concerned about is whether there is significant walking , even on a loop with transport, especially with altitude change. The loop that Rockoyster suggested has a few hundred meters of fairly level walking from one end of Mürren to the other. Look at the map linked below.,162144&z=32 &poi=bergbahn,halteste lle,zug

That map will show various transport options. Zoom in far enough and it shows the rail lines, etc. Under Points of Interest/ Traffic, you can turn on the station stops. It is really good for that, because mousing over an icon for a station gives a bit of information about the next trains/buses/cable cars to/from that station. In one way It is not so good, because it does not give numbers for altitudes, desirable for walking. Zoom way in and you can even see trails.

There is another excellent map, but it has a tremendous amount of information. It is a contour map, or topographic map. It is absolutely the best map but has has a whole lot of detail, and the option to turn features on and off. I use it when I get into fine detail for walking. You don't need it for finding trains/ cableways, etc., but you can use it for that. yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev, tlm3d-wanderwege&X=161223.69 &Y=635049.58&zoom=6&la yers_visibility=true,f alse

In the version that I have linked to, I have set it to show transport stops. Turn off the transport stops, and you can easily read altitude numbers ( in meters) . If they are turned on, you can click on the icons for schedule info.

You can see that the train stop for the small train arriving in Mürrren from Grütschalp is at 1638 meters . (Trains are the dashed black and white double lines.)

About 500 or 600 meters away is the cable car station for connections to Gimmelwald, Stechelberg ( or upward to Schilthorn). Zoom in far enough and you can see that it is also at 1638 meters altitude. The walk between the two is almost completely level.

If that is too much distance, then come up via the bus from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg and get on the cableways there.

This comment concerns me:

<<"Oh, and yes my dad can walk short distances. He just needs to rest after 10-15 minutes. I also need to find out if he's ok with being at high altitudes or whether he's scared of heights! :-/">>

Although I do not notice it very much at 1600 meters above sea level, the air is "thinner" ( less oxygen concentration) than at sea level, and exertion at the height can be more tiring that at sea level, or at the level of most cities in Switzerland ( about 400 meters).

If I am at 2300 meters (Männlichen) and climb 100 meters to Männlichen Gipfel ( the small peak above the lift station) I have to pause frequently to catch my breath. And, I tire more easily. At that altitude, I definitely notice the lesser oxygen concentration if I do any kind of exercise.

If your father's difficulties with walking are related to breathing problems or to his heart being weak so that he does not get enough oxygen carried throughout his body, he may find his condition to be worse at higher altitudes. I mention it without knowing details, purely for your information.

Loops can involve the cable cars from Grindelwald Grund and also from Wengen to Männlichen. They can involve the cograil train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg to Alpiglen to Grindelwald . Regular trains run on the valley floors from Lauterbrunnen or from Grindelwald to Zweilütschinen, and thence to Interlaken Ost.

Hope that helps. Let us know.


Last modified on Jul 25, 2017 - 10:26 PM by Slowpoke

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