<""Thank you both very much for your advice! I have decided to go to Mt Rigi. Here's my tentative itinerary:
from Lucerne, take a boat to Vitznau and then the cog railway to Rigi Kulm. From there, walk the following route:
Rigi kulm - kulmhutte - upper schwandihutte - des alpes - rigi klosterli - heiri hutte - first - rigi kaltbad">>
<<"also, how will we navigate ourselves on our walk? Will there be signs, for example, to point us the way to go from rigi kulm to kulmhutte?">>
I don't know those huts, without getting out my detailed maps, but I do know Rigi Klösterli. It is at a bit under one mile high, if you think in miles, or 1453 M.u.M (German ) if you think in meters above sea level and is 500 meters below Rigi Kulm and 250 meters below First.
Unless you both are very fit, used to walking at altitudes above 1 mile high, and have no problems with steep descents and ascents, you will have a physically difficult and challenging walk. Since I do not know all of the huts that you mention, I cannot promise signs everywhere, but an examination of a 1:50,000 Wanderkarte (Hiking map with the Wanderwege indicated) will shown the signed trails in red. Those maps are often posted in the train stations, on the wall, far all to see and memorize. ;-)
Even without a map, you are likely to be able to find your way. With a 1:25000 map, you will see every little trail, house, hut and everything else. That is the surest way to keep track of where you are and where you want to be.
Such maps are usually available at the base stations of the Rigi Bahn and The Weggis-Kaltbad Luftseilbahn.
Or, in Luzern, the Orell- Füssli book store less than 100 meters from the main station carries them. Ask at the Tourist Info by track #1 in the Luzern Main Station. They can tell you where to get maps.
For an online look, take a look at the altitude changes and the slopes at -
swisstopo.admin.ch/ internet/swisstopo/ en/home.html
Zoom in on the map at the right side of the home page.
<<"from there, take a cable car to Weggis and the boat back to Lucerne. ">>
The walk from the Talstation at Weggis ( valley station, named in timetables as Weggis LSB or Weggis Luftseilbahn) of the Luftseilbahn is substantially down hill to the boat landing. You descend about 60 or 70 meters in less than 1 km, on roads or good paths. That could cause some noticeable knee tiredness unless you are fit and used to down hill hikes.
Once you are at Rigi Kulm, you can see most or all of the route for your proposed hike...at least toward Klösterli. Take a good look.
<"We will be travelling on 2nd July.">>
Should have trails free of snow. I hope you have clear weather.
<""I would appreciate any advice on the route I have planned. I'm traveling with my mother, who is reasonably fit but she has joint problems and would not do well with steep inclines/declines.">>
Your route is a problem for her.
<<"additionally, do we need to book tickets in advance for the cable car/boat trip/cog railway?">>
No. You you can buy them at the ticket window for the cog rail. If you are getting on and off at the upper stations you can buy them on the train at, for example, Rigi Staffel...or you could a couple of years ago and there is no reason that they would have changed that necessary capability. There is a new station at Rigi Kaltbad. The old one had a ticket window; I'm sure that the new one does. For the Luftseilbahn Weggis-Kaltabd, there is a ticket window in the station at each end. Pretty sure that you can still buy boat tickets on the boat, but those can also be bought in Luzern at the main station. There is often a line at the base stations of the Rigi Bahn ( Vitznau and Arth-Goldau. Not much of a problem, not all that long. But, since you have to buy your train tickets before you board any regular train, and if you come to Arth -Goldau (see below) you can get a combined ticket when you buy your train ticket. Or, you can buy it from a ticket machine or ticket window at Luzern.
If you get a Swiss Rail Pass, all of those might be covered for no charge. Since the cable cars and cograils are excursion trains, some may only offer a discount when you have the Rail Pass . Arno or Annika surely can point you to that information.
<<"How do we find the schedules for them?">>
Here are two walks which are much easier.
1.-Look a t the map noted above. You will see that there is an modestly downhill quite good path (and well signed) path from Rigi Scheidegg to Rigistaffel and Rigi Staffelhöhe via First , with a branch at First to Rigi Kaltbad. One short steep downhill at the Rigi Kaltbad end on paved road. This is an old railroad roadbed. Very smooth. You can walk various portions of that route with little knee strain. You can also come to the Rigi via Arth Goldau, and catch the cable car at Kräbel- one stop up the cog-rail Rigi Bahn above A-G, and ride it up to Rigi-Scheidegg.
2.- The other is to ride ( or walk steeply) down from Rigi Kulm to Rigi Staffel, then take the trail which starts out following the train toward Kaltbad. Aftere a while it swings out to the right to nice overlooks of the lake and Luzern itself. The trail may have a fancy name like the "XXXX Höhenweg..." (XXXX high route...forgot what the name is , that is why I used XXXX's.), As it swings back in toward Rigi Kaltbad, on the left is a nice small chapel tucked into a nook in the rocks.
This trail is is definitely down hill, and can be noticed in the knees if they are not in good shape. It descends roughly 130 meters over a kilometer or two. It is mostly smooth and easy walking.
Once you are back at Kaltbad, you can catch the cograil down to Vitznau for the boat back to Luzern. The cable car (Luftseilbahn) is there, too, but the walk at the bottom of the LSB is distinctly downhill as noted above.
If you are going to go down the Vitznau side, you shoud consider coming up from Arth Goldau, accessible easily by train from Luzern. Then, go down the Vitznau side.
<<" lastly, which one would you advice - take the cable car from rigi kaltbad to weggis or walk from rigi kaltbad - felsentor - weggis?">>
That is quite a descent. Approximately 1000 meters. Healthy knees of a hiker in good shape would notice it. See attached. The mark at the top (for the Hotel Bergsonne) is at Rigi Kaltbad.
<<"i apologise for the many questions, there are a few things I'm unsure about. Hope to hear from you soon! :) ">>
Better to ask now than be surprised.