Hiking Project Logo

blueBlack Pilatus Mountain/Pilatus Kulm

  4.9 ( 7 ) Favorite


4.6 mile 7.5 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 5,191' 1,582 m
Descent: -16' -5 m
High: 6,667' 2,032 m
Low: 1,488' 453 m


Avg Grade: 21% (12°)
Max Grade: 66% (33°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Dave Mencel


Getting forecast...

Current trail conditions

All Clear 44 mins ago See History

Popular hikes nearby

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store

Hiked this trail?

Add details to help others plan their adventure.

A beatiful, solitary hike with a highly commercialized ending.

Dave Mencel

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


An extraordinary hike to the top of an stunningly beautiful Swiss peak. This is can be done as an out-and-back or can be cut short by taking a train ride on the world's steepest railway to the bottom.

Need to Know

Bottled water is available at the trailhead...but you'll pay a pretty penny for it (7.50 CH Franc for 1.5L!). More than 3/4 of the hike is exposed - either through fields or above treeline. Once you get to the hotel, you still have another 30 minutes to the true peak...if you're up for it. Be aware of the cog times - you don't want to rely on a ride down only to find you missed the last train.


Forest, singletrack. Roads, doubletrack. You'll see the occasional mountain biker. This route roughly follows the world's steepest railroad, which can be ridden to the top, or from the top to the bottom. Bring enough money if you want to ride the train, it's rather expensive (~36 Swiss Franc) in either direction. The trail starts out to the left hand side of the loading platform of the cog. You can also board in the middle, you'll cross through a train station during the hike.

There is no potable water on the route, although the cow troughs near the cog stop could be filtered if need be. Right before the switchbacks, there is a small stream which people were filling up from, but it's downhill from a cow pasture...filter or treat to be safe!

You'll get lots of waves from the tourists on the train who are much lazier than you! Remember, you earned it more than they did!

After enjoying about 5+ hours hiking up in somewhat solitude, mentally prepare yourself for the final 50 meters of the route - there is a hotel on top of the mountain, and it's tourist city!

But being able to buy a good bottle of wine and good Swiss cheese made it all bearable! An espresso also helped re-awaken me for the descent.

Flora & Fauna

Cows... Lots of Swiss cows. Lots of cowbells! These cows look even happier than California cows. So says the Wisconsinite.

Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In


Jun 2, 2019
Allie D
Very difficult but absolutely amazing views. 4.6mi — 5h 00m
Aug 22, 2018
Alyssa Charsky
Part of this trail is currently closed due to downed trees from storm damage. We accidentally went on the “closed” path but there is a reroute. 4.6mi
Sep 10, 2016
Ryan DeDecker

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 7 votes


in Pilatus


  4.9 from 7 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in Pilatus


in Switzerland


1,368 Views Last Month
16,908 Since Apr 16, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult


Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking