Winter Hiking at Rigi – Rigi Kulm to Rigi Scheidegg

After hiking the winter trail from Rigi Kulm to Rigi Scheidegg (11 km, 280 ascent, 390 descent) this past weekend, I’m putting it on my definite-recommend list. Why? This groomed snow hiking path checks all the boxes. It has gorgeous panoramic views, lots of restaurants along the way, and it can be easily customized for different abilities. If you aren’t up for an 11km hike, shorter sections are possible. In fact Swiss Mobility lists this as two hikes, one starting at Rigi Kulm and ending in Rigi Kaltbad (Route 571 – 4 km, 20 m ascent, 340 m descent), and one starting at Rigi Kaltbad and ending at Rigi Scheidegg (Trail 570 – 7 km, 260, ascent, 50 , descent). This is also an easy hike to get to from Zürich by public transport and with so many discounts available to individual travelers for Rigi mountain transport, it can be very cost effective. All in all, a fantastic hike!

Detail Summary
Where:Rigi Kulm to Rigi Scheidegg
Cantons Lucerne and Schwyz, Switzerland
Train:Zürich HB -> Rigi Kulm – 1 hr 42 mins
Rigi Scheidegg – > Zurich HB – 1 hr 30 min
What:Winter Hiking Trail – Rigi Kulm to Rigi Scheidegg

Pink pole trail markers
Route 571: Rigi-Klassiker – Rigi Kulm to Rigi Kaltbad
Route 570: Rigi-Panoramaweg – Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Scheidegg
Skill:Easy – About 3 hr 40 min

Length 11 km, Ascent 280 m, Descent 390 m
Cost 2022:
Adult full-price ticket for cogwheel train and cable car: CHF 72
Many discounts available to individual travelers including a 100% discount with SBB Day pass.

Additional Info

Getting There

For this hike, you’ll need to use the Rigi mountain transport. To start the hike, we took the cogwheel train from Arth-Goldau up to Rigi Kulm. The view as soon as you leave the train at Rigi Kulm is quite spectacular.

The Trail – Rigi Kulm to Rigi Kaltbad

The hike begins next to the train station at Rigi Kulm. As we were already there, we walked the short loop to the top of Rigi Kulm, past the restaurant (the first of many we passed on this hike) and up to the radio tower. There are fantastic views from here, but as it was incredibly windy, we did the loop as fast as we could and then got back to the trail.

For the first part of our hike, we were on Route 571 – the Rigi Klassiker. Walking along the path, we had wonderful views in just about every direction.

When we reached the Rigi Staffel train station, we crossed the tracks and then, just past a restaurant, we came to the branch in the trail in the second picture below. Our trail went to the right and continued along the tracks. I plan to come back in the summer to take the trail to the left as I bet the views you get from that little bit of altitude gain are fantastic. As you can see, though, the view from the lower trail along the tracks is fantastic, too.

When we reached the restaurant in the first picture below, it took us a minute to realize that we needed to take the trail going to the right of the restaurant to stay on our path. We had been here over the Christmas break and had hiked this trail as far as this restaurant. The trail conditions were much slushier and slipperier that day, so we took the paved path here directly down to Rigi Kaltbad. (Like I said, this trail has options.) And, although we missed the views in the next pictures, it was the right choice given the trail conditions. I’m glad we went back, though and followed the complete trail, as the views are amazing.

When we reached Rigi Kaltbad, it was lunch time. There are several restaurants in Rigi Kaltbad, so we had options. We stopped for a lunch on the balcony of Restaurant Alpina where I enjoyed the view and a warm cappuccino.

After our warm lunch, we were ready to continue hiking.

The Trail – Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Scheidegg

This section of our hike was along Route 570 – The Rigi Panorama trail. And Wow! did it ever live up to the name. Stunning panorama views almost the entire way.

The lake views were amazing, but I also enjoyed getting the view back at Rigi Kulm you see in the first picture below. But, yes, the lake views really were the prettiest.

When we reached the fork in the path in the second picture, according to the sign both directions would take us to the Rigi Scheidegg gondola station. We decided to follow the lower route. Maybe in the summer, we will opt for the steeper route.

Walking on snow is a bit more tiring than a normal hike, so we were happy to see the gondola station and the end of our hike.

Getting Back

I didn’t take many pictures from the top of the gondola station, but I did get one of the view from the gondola on the way down. From the gondola base station at Kräbel, we took the cogwheel train back to Arth-Goldau.

We really enjoyed this hike. And because mountain transport is included with an SBB day pass, I’m sure we will be doing hikes at Rigi in the future. I’m looking forward to doing this same hike in the summer.

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