Easy snowshoe hike on Mt Rigi • Great for beginners!

Easy short downhill snowshoe trail with spectacular views near Lucerne, great choice for beginners. You can optionally add on sledding for a full day.

Mt Rigi is a great choice for easy snowshoeing near Lucerne and Zürich. The views are spectacular and it’s relatively less crowded compared to other ski resorts. On my very first snowshoe experience, my 70yr old dad and I did the snowshoe trail from Rigi Kulm at the top down to Rigi Klösterli, just a bit over 3km and all downhill. I fell in love with snowshoeing immediately and even did a second hike in the afternoon while my dad napped at our holiday house.

This trail can easily be shortened or lengthened to fit your group’s needs. I include variations below. You can rent equipment directly on the mountain, making this outing super convenient. You can even go sledding after the hike for a little excitement.

See also How to snowshoe in Switzerland for beginners

Location:   Mount Rigi, near Lucerne, Central Switzerland
By car Parking at Chräbelstrasse 12, 6410 Arth
35 mins from Luzern, 45 mins from Zurich
By transit: Train station: Arth-Goldau
30 mins from Lucerne, 40 mins from Zürich
   
Trail: 3.2 km one way, about 1hr15
Elevation: highest point 1732, 430m descent
Condition: marked trail, snow not groomed
Skill: easy
Open: Dec through March, assuming snow
Prices 2021: CHF 72/adult, CHF 36/child
Discount with SBB Half-fare card & regional guest cards. Free with GA & Junior Card.
More info: www.rigi.chwebcam

Overview

This snowshoe trail is located on Mt Rigi near Lucerne. You access the trail by riding a cogwheel train up the mountain.

Here’s the winter map for Mt. Rigi. The green line is the cogwheel train that takes you to the top of the mountain. The pink dotted line is the snowshoe trail down to Klösterli, where you can catch the train the rest of the way down the mountain.

Trail Map

This map shows approximately where the snowshoe trail goes. The trail starts at the top of Rigi Kulm and heads downhill, parallel to the sled run and groomed winter hiking trail. Make sure to follow the trail signs and markers as the trail may slightly deviate from this map. Although you can “make your own trail,” make sure to not get too close to the cliffs on the east side. The last section of the trail joins the sledding/walking path until you reach the Klösterli train station.

See trail map on KomootSchweizMobilOutdoorActive

Shorter version: You can do a 1.5 km loop at the top of Rigi Kulm, 140m up/down, about 90 mins. See trail details.

Longer option: Start in Rigi Klösterli and hike up to Rigi Kulm, then follow the winter trail down to Rigi Staffel then up to Rotstock (hike up on the side of the ski slope). Then hike down parallel to the ski slope to Rigi First, then down to Rigi Klösterli.

Getting There

For this snowshoe hike, we suggest riding the mountain train from Arth Goldau on the east side of Rigi. 

By car: I suggest parking at the large metered car park at Chräbelstrasse 12, 6410 Arth. To reach this parking lot, you drive to Goldau, taking exit 38 from the freeway and follow signs to Rigi parking. The lot is directly next to the freeway as shown in the map. If there is no attendant at the train station, you can buy your ticket on the train with cash or card.

In winter, the train picks up from this parking (labeled A4 on the timeline) at 7:57, 9:10, 10:10. 11:10. 12:10, 13:10, and so on. See current timetable.

By train: Take a 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. 

In winter, the train leaves from Arth-Goldau at 7:55, 9:08, 10:08, 11:08, 12:08, 13:08 and so on. See current timetable.

FYI, one day we were there, the train came 15 minutes earlier than the posted schedule and we saw more than one train go by in an hour. 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. I think they run trains more frequently from Rigi Klösterli for skiers, but it’s not on the timetable.

Mountain train ticket prices

You’ll need a day pass to do this snowshoe hike (cheaper than two one way tickets). This also means you can ride the trains as often as you like before or after your hike. In 2021, this day pass cost CHF 72/adult. It’s free with SBB GA and Junior cards. Children up to 15 with a parent ride free. SBB Half-fare cards gets 50% discount. If you have a hotel guest card from the region, you get a 20% discount. See current ticket prices.

Renting equipment

If you don’t have snowshoes, you can rent them at Rigi Kulm Rental Centre (+41 41 399 87 87 • welcome@rigi.ch). Snowshoes cost CHF 20 + CHF 20 refundable deposit. You can return the equipment at the end of the trail at Rigi Klösterli. The rental center is open daily 9:00 – 15:50.

We rented ours in Zürich at Migros Sport XX, which was less expensive at CHF 11/day. You can rent them the night before so you don’t have to be rushed in the morning.

What to wear and bring

You should wear warm waterproof clothing, suitable for the forecasted temperatures and conditions. This should include a warm winter jacket, gloves and hat. If you have sunny conditions, you may get warm while you hike, so best to have layers on top so you can take off or add a layer as needed. For shoes, best to wear waterproof ankle boots to prevent snow from getting into your shoes. I suggest bring hiking sticks with snow baskets to help your balance while hiking. For more tips, see What to pack & wear on a winter hike.

Photo story of the trail

Starting at the top of Rigi Kulm. You can see the blue train that brought us up here. You could stop for a snack at the restaurant before heading out.

Great views before we even started!

A lot of tourists come up just for the view. A few wanted to take pictures with us and then asked to borrow our snowshoes so they could pose for pics. We had a lot of fun with them before we set off.

We explored the Rigi Kulm viewpoint at the top before heading out on the snowshoe trail.

To reach the trail, just walk south from the top of Rigi Kulm. You’ll see walkers and sledders heading out here too.

Absolutely epic up here! I was so happy to share this with my dad.

Lots of room to explore. The trail is a loose suggestion.

The snowshoe trail parallels the sled run. After your hike, you could rent a sled and ride back up to do that. 

The trail goes near the cliffs. Do not get too close or cross the fence!!!

See what I mean about those cliffs!

Right next to the fence is fine and advised. The view is so nice from this angle.

Some of the downhills were a bit steep. We were unclear on the proper technique so just headed straight down like the other tracks. If you find this too difficult, just make your own switchbacks.

The trail signs and poles were few and far between. On a sunny day, it would be hard to get lost. But on a foggy day, I might be a little worried.

The views are fab the whole time down.

Sometimes we each cut our own trail. Sometimes we followed the footsteps to make walking easier.

We had fun making designs in the snow as we hiked down. That was half the fun.

The sledders were so fast, sometimes I was scared for them. I was glad to be hiking instead.

Now a bit in the forest.

Now we join the sledding and walking path for the last section. 

View over to Klösterli where we will catch the train. It’s those buildings in the middle partially in the shade.

Ending the trail with the sledders, crossing the bridge and walking up to the train station.

I hope you like this trail! See more Swiss snowshoe trails we recommend.

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Hi! I’m Tanya and our family has been living & hiking in Switzerland since 2005, collecting dozens of fun hikes and activities for all ages and abilities. More about us…

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