Bergstation Pilatus Seilbahn

Pilatus – 5 excursion tips and hikes for the Drachenberg

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Be it the leisurely Sunday outing with friends, the sporting challenge on the mountain or the head-clearing after-work round; the Pilatus is an incredibly versatile mountain and has the right offer up its sleeve for the most diverse requirements. No wonder we are once again drawn to Lucerne’s local mountain on this beautiful summer day. Although it is already our fourth visit to Pilatus, a premiere awaits us today!

In cooperation with SBB RailAway, we are allowed to do what we enjoy in August – visit four fantastic Swiss mountain peaks and report on them. To kick off the series, we have once again taken a look at the versatile Pilatus and discovered a quiet side of Lucerne’s local mountain.

Kriens-Frätkmüntegg cable car

Pilatus Excursion Tip #1: Adventure on the Fräkmüntegg

Shortly before six o’clock in the morning, the alarm clock rings us out of bed. A little earlier than on a day at the office, but with the beautiful summer weather, it would be a shame to lose every additional minute in bed. Exemplarily, we have already packed the backpack the evening before and so we are ready to go after a short cat wash. The destination: Mount Pilatus. Once again. At Zurich’s main train station, we feel the holiday season. A handful of other migratory birds are waiting on the platform. Otherwise, shortly before seven o’clock, hardly anyone is on the road. If you want to be one of the first to breathe in the fresh, clear morning air on Mount Pilatus in the morning, take the first cogwheel railway from Alpnachstad. However, this convenient variant is out of the question today. After we have so far climbed and descended the Pilatus without shedding a single drop of sweat, today we want to earn the snack plate on the Pilatus Kulm sun terrace with body use. That’s why we head for the cable car station in Kriens instead. We reach the valley station shortly before the start of operations and are kindly allowed to queue up before the group from England, which is also already waiting. A few minutes later we are sitting in the first dashing red cabin in the direction of Fräkmüntegg.

What a wonderful day! After an entertaining and, above all, panoramic drive, we reach the Fräkmüntegg. We already reported on the great activities on the Fräkmüntegg last year. This year, too, there is the opportunity to spend the night in the casual Tree Tents and overwhelm your weaker self on the adjacent rope park. The Fräkmüntegg offers adventure and fun for young and old and is definitely worth a trip!

Fräkmüntegg Seilpark

Pilatus excursion tip #2: Climb to the summit

While the excitedly chattering tourists from England change from the “Dragon Ride” to the panorama cable car in the direction of Pilatus Kulm on the Fräkmüntegg, we shoulder our backpacks and march off. Today we want to tackle the section Fräkmüntegg – Pilatus Kulm with our own muscle power. Actually, I had already planned last year to hike up the Pilatus in the early morning after the night in the tree tent. Unfortunately, the weather changed during the night and in pouring rain we didn’t feel like doing the altitude on foot.

Today, on the other hand, it worked out with the weather order. What a glorious day! And what a change of scenery. While “action” is the order of the day on the Fräktmüntegg and the Pilatus, after a few minutes on the hiking trail we hear nothing more than the cheerful chirping of birds and our rhythmic steps. I take a deep breath of the humid forest air and let the peace work its magic on me.

There are three different route options from Fräkmüntegg. The longest tour leads via Alpgschwänd and the most direct route is via the “Gsäss”. For our first tour on Mount Pilatus, we opted for the “middle way”. The Heitertannliweg starts gently uphill, makes a curve towards Eigental and then climbs in the direction of Klimsenhorn. In front of the Klimsenhorn chapel, the three hiking trails meet again. The great thing about the Heitertannliweg is that it runs mostly on the shady side of Mount Pilatus and so we benefit from a pleasant morning coolness on the ascent. The magnificent view over the Eigental compensates for the sometimes steep ascent passages. From time to time we stop and let the panorama work its magic on us – simply beautiful!

Hintertannliweg Fräkmüntegg

Pilatus Obere Lauelen

Pilatus Heitertannliweg Aufstieg

Aufstieg zum Pilatus

Heitertannliweg auf den Pilatus

Pilatus Rückeite

Aussicht Wanderweg Pilatus

Klimsenhorn Pilatus

Pilatus Massiv

Wanderweg zum Klimsenhorn

Panorama Klimsenhorn

Pilatus excursion tip #3: Highlight for summiteers

At the Klimsenhorn Chapel we take a short breather – here we see Lake Lucerne for the first time. Now we are still 200 meters away from the first of the two peaks not far from Pilatus Kulm. Both on the 2106 m high Oberhaupt and on the 2118 m high Esel there is a fantastic panoramic view over Lake Lucerne and the Alps. From the Klimsenhorn there is a direct access to the Oberhaupt. After we haven’t met anyone on the Heitertannliweg, we meet the English tourists up here again, who are just as enthusiastic about the phenomenal panorama as we are and diligently take souvenir photos.

Ausicht Fräkmüntegg

Pilatus Oberhaupt Aussicht

We still have enough energy for the second summit – luckily! If I had to choose between the two, I would prefer the donkey to the chief. The view from the donkey over the cliffs towards Vierwaldstättersse as well as towards Pilatus Kulm is simply spectacular.

PIlatus Aufstieg Esel

Wanderweg Esel Pilatus

Pilatus Esel Aussicht

Esel Aussicht auf Pilatus Kulm

Pilatus excursion tip #4: a mountain for connoisseurs

With 800 meters of altitude in our legs, we really deserved the enjoyable part of the day. The Pilatus is not only a mountain for adventurers and hiking enthusiasts, but also one for connoisseurs. If you want to combine the trip to Mount Pilatus with a short walk, I recommend the beautiful flower trail. Most of this runs parallel to the well-secured hiking trail in the direction of Tomlishorn. Otherwise, you do the same and look for a nice spot on the sun terrace in front of the Hotel Pilatus Kulm, order a Suure Moscht and a fine Zvieriplättli and toast this wonderful day with hiking acquaintances.

Pilatus Blumenpfad

Pilatus Kulm

Plättli PIlatus Kulm

Pilatus excursion tip #5: on an ibex stalk

Another great excursion tip on Mount Pilatus is the ibex safari, which takes place once a month from June to October. Apart from that, the chances of spotting ibex, especially on the flower path towards Tomlishorn, are good – as long as you are out and about in the early morning. The more day-trippers take up Mount Pilatus, the further the ibexes retreat into the rock massif. We, too, are now leaving the field to enthusiastic tourists from near and far. For the way home, we do not choose the same route via the Fräkmüntegg, but take the cogwheel railway to Alpnachstad. The round trip from Kriens with cable car and panorama gondola to Mount Pilatus and from there with the “steepest cogwheel railway in the world” down to Alpnachstad (or vice versa) is considered a “silver tour”. In terms of ticket costs, it doesn’t matter whether you travel via Kriens or Alpnachstad – the price is the same for both connections. And the ride on the narrow tracks carved into the rocks is a new experience every time. While we only spotted an ibex from a distance on the Heitertannliweg, luck is once again on our side on this day. Shortly after the first tunnel exit, two ibexes stand directly at the edge of the track, who are just as puzzled by the spontaneous encounter as we are.

Fahrt Zahnradbahn Pilatus

Pilatus Luzern Felsenmassiv

Steinbock am Pilatus

PIlatus Zahnradbahn

Pilatus Alpweiden

The fourth encounter with Pilate was also eventful in every respect and we know that there will certainly be a fifth time – because we still have not got to know all its facets.

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For outward and return journeys by public transport, SBB RailAway offers a 20% discount on the cable car journey from Kriens/Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm and back to Alpnachstad/Kriens. All information can be found at [/alert]

Practical information about the Pilatus hike Heitertannliweg

The route of the Heitertannliweg can be found on the map below. The distance from Fräktmüntegg to Pilatus Kulm is around 4.2 kilometres. Up to Alp Ober Lauelen, the trail is mostly flat, after which it climbs steadily to the summit. In total, there is an ascent of 800 meters in altitude. The pure running time is 2.5 hours. You can find more information about the Heitertannliweg as well as information about other route options on the Pilatus website.

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