Above the Clouds: Mount Rigi Winter Walk for Families

If you’re looking for big views in winter, but don’t ski, a winter walk at Mount Rigi is a great choice. Rigi has several winter walking trails, including the panorama trail, where the snow is groomed so you don’t need snowshoes, just waterproof walking shoes. We did the panorama trail, which is easy walking and suitable for families with children of any age. This trail can be a short or long as you like, which is nice when hiking with kids. Go on a sunny day and bring your sled in case you change your mind.

Location:   Central Switzerland, near Luzern
Address: Mountain trains leave from Vitznau or Arth Goldau
Car: 40 mins from Zurich to Arth Goldau mountain train
Parking:  Chräbelstrasse 12, 6410 Arth
Train: 40 mins from Zürich HB to Arth Goldau
Adult return with half-fare CHF 21.80
Trail: various: 1km, 4km, 7km or 9km trail
Condition: usually groomed snow, conditions may vary
Skill: easy
Open: winter trails maintained December through mid-March
Price 2017: Winter: adult day ticket CHF 50, child 6 to16 CHF 25, under 6 free
Children 6 to 12 with SBB Magic Ticket Children’s Club (free to register) get free return trip
SBB Halbtax discount for adults
Services: variety of restaurants along the trail
More info: more winter walks at www.rigi.ch

First a little trailer, then logistics below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Swiss Family Fun YouTube channel.


There are many winter walking trails on Rigi as shown below. I’ll talk about the 4km route we did from the top at Rigi Kulm to the mid-station at Rigi Klösterei. We were staying the weekend with a big group of friend in this tiny village. So various people in our group did skiing, sledding, snowshoeing and winter walks, which all ended at Rigi Klösterei – very convenient. You could shorten this trail to just 1km by catching the train at Rigi Staffel. Or walk 9km all the way to Rigi Scheidegg and catch a cable car back down to the valley (see my summer panorama trail post for more details about that).

The winter trails are groomed, which means the snow is flattened enough to walk on with regular hiking shoes. I’ve seen people with strollers on this trail, but that assumes no fresh snow. Probably better to carry your child. You could also bring a sled and drag the child on that and sled when it gets steeper. I recommend walking sticks in case of ice or other tricky conditions.

Trail Impressions

Let’s enjoy some pictures for a bit. Here is the start of the trail at Rigi Kulm. At first, the path parallels the train tracks.

You’ll pass several restaurants along the way.

Popular place for winter walking.

Great views all around, this one of Lake Zug.

We saw a few people carrying babies on their backs, other with younger kids walking.

Entering the village at Staffel.

You can catch the train here in Staffel or keep walking.

We kept walking.

Looking back to the top at Rigi Kulm.

Looking south to the ski slopes, just a couple T-bars but our kids had fun on it. Good for beginners.

You can take a flatter trail, but I wanted the view from the top of Rotstock, so I took the trail up right next to the ski slope. It was tough but short.

Great views up there!!!

Looking back on the trail I came up.

I continued down to First, then down to Rigi Klösterei.

See more winter walks >>>

Getting There

You can reach the top of Rigi Kulm with a mountain train from Arth Goldau on the east side or Vitznau on the west side. We prefer Arth Goldau because it’s easier both by car and train. So I’ll provide those directions below.

By car: With a car, the easiest option is to drive to Arth Goldau and park in the large metered car park at Chräbelstrasse 12, 6410 Arth. Walk over the train stop and catch the mountain train (not the cable car) up to Rigi Kulm. If there is no attendant at the station, you can buy your ticket on the train with cash or card.

By train: Take the train to Arth-Goldau, then walk over to the Arth-Goldau Rigi Bahnen station, just a couple minutes away, following the signs. Catch the mountain train here to Rigi Kulm. 

The cog-wheel train runs about once an hour, so time your arrival so you don’t have to wait. I must say that one day we were there, the train came 15 minutes earlier than the posted schedule and we saw more than one an hour go by. I asked the train workers why the train came early and they said “Do you want to go up or not?” I tripled checked the schedule and the clocks. It was early by all accounts; I can’t explain it.


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