Pilatus Railways (Pilatus Bahnen)
Pilatus Bahnen operates three main routes up Mount Pilatus. A cogwheel railway—the steepest cogwheel railway in the world—runs from Alpnachstad up the south side of the mountain to the summit station of Pilatus Kulm. From Kreins, the Panorama Gondolas take off up the mountain to Fräkmüntegg station at 4,649 feet (1,417 meters). From here, an aerial cableway, known as the Dragon Ride, heads up to the summit.
A popular choice for summer visitors is the so-called Golden Round Trip from Lucerne, which includes a boat cruise across Lake Lucerne and a ride on the cogwheel railway to the top of the mountain, before descending by the aerial cableway and gondola.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Single, return, and combination tickets are available; children under 6 are free.
Total travel time is around 40 minutes by gondola and aerial cableway, and around 30 minutes by cogwheel railway.
Be sure to bring warm layers—it’s snowy and cold on the mountaintop, even in summer. Sunscreen is also essential throughout the year.
All of the routes are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get to There
Buses run from Lucerne train station to Kreins, which is where the gondolas and aerial cableway depart. Trains and boats run from Lucerne to Alpnachstad, the starting point for the cogwheel railway. Golden Round Trip tours typically include hotel pickup and all transfers.
When to Get There
Cable cars and gondolas operate year-round, with regular departures. Queues are common in high season (July to August) so opt for an early start to avoid a long wait. The cogwheel railway runs from May to October, so if you want to take the Golden Round Trip, plan a summer visit.
Things to Do on Mount Pilatus
As well as taking in the view from the observation deck, visitors to Mount Pilatus can walk a number of hiking trails, dine at the mountaintop restaurant, or spend a night at the summit hotel. Winter visitors have access activities such as sledding, bobsledding, and snowshoeing, while summer visitors can test their nerves at the Pilatus rope park, ride the Fräkigaudi mountain toboggan, or head to the PILU Land children’s playground.
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