4 routes · Trail Running
A summit push on a quintessential Swiss trail.
Trail Running Moderate
- 16 km
- 1.7 km
- 1.7 km
- 3-4 hrs
- Low Point
- 435 m
- High Point
- 2.1 km
In under an hour and a half by train from Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof (central station), you can be at the foot of this gem of a trail in central Switzerland. Pack your running vest, get your train ticket to Alpnachstad and be ready to hop off at the small village station next to Lake Lucerne to begin the run, parallel to the steepest rack railway in the world – the Pilatusbahn, with its max gradient of 48%!
Follow the yellow signs that guide you up the mountain massif of Pilatus. If you’re not distracted by the views, there are Strava segments up for grabs all the way to the top. You’ll know you’re getting closer as the tourists become more plentiful in number. Pass the Seilbahn, with that distinct square flag waving in the wind. Bag the summit and be rewarded with a panorama of peaks. Your challenge: how many can you name?
For the descent, retrace your steps or take the wilder route around the backside. Immerse yourself in the dramatic scenery as you tiptoe down the narrow single trail, heading North. If you feel like you’re being watched, you probably are. Ibex are often seen on this quieter side of the massif, standing tall and still as they keep an eye on your descending skills.
The trail slips back into the undergrowth and guides you past yet another waterfall before spitting you out onto rolling hills of pastures on the outskirts of the village Obernau from where you can get the train back to Zurich or into Lucerne. The fairytale-esque city is well worth a visit. Stroll along the bridges above the crystal river Reuss and admire the Gothic architecture of the Old Town.
Nearest station: Alpnachstad ZB Travel time from Zurich HB: approx 1:20hr https://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/at-the-station/railway-stations/further-stations/station.17086.alpnachstad-zb.html