Enjoying Rigi Kulm Mountain in Lucerne, Switzerland
Rigi Kulm Mountain in Switzerland is known as the Queen of Mountains. On a trip to its summit, it is easy to see why when on a clear day you are blessed with a beautiful panoramic view of distances up to 800 km away. This central Switzerland mountain is 1,795 meters high and although not the tallest, it makes up for its stature in beauty and ambiance.
Mt. Rigi offers walking trails, mountain hiking or climbing, backpacking, snow shoeling and skiing. It is not considered to be part of the Alps but is part of the Swiss Plateau. From the summit you can get a view of the Alps as well as parts of Germany and France.
The Goldau Rigi Path and Arth and Weggis Rigi paths are the most historic paths on Mt. Rigi. Tourists began coming to Rigi Kulm Mountain in the mid 1700's following the various paths on the mountain to the numerous chapels, viewpoints and villages. Many of these attractions have been there for hundreds of years.
– In the village of Rigi Kaltbad, behind a rock formation, is the Rock Chapel built in 1779. Kaltbad, at 1453 meters is the largest village on the mountain. Kaltbad also became a health resort for tourists in the 1800's.
– Pilgrimages to Klosterli to visit its chapel, St. Mary in the Snow, is also popular.
– The Kanzeli Vantage Point, located about a twenty minute walk from Kaltbad, is another popular destination offering panoramic views, on a clear day, of Lucerne and Weggis. It is located at 1,464 meters.
There are about thirteen towns and villages on the mountain. At the summit is the Rigi Kulm Hotel originally built in 1875 but rebuilt in the 1950's. When we visited this historic hotel, there were a few people around; we were a little early for the busy tourist season.
On our trip to Rigi Kulm, we traveled from Lucerne to Weggis by steamboat on Lake Lucerne. We were fortified in that it was a beautiful day with white fluffy clouds drifting lazily in an unbelievably blue sky. From Weggis we took a cogwheel train up the mountain to the Rigi Kulm station on the summit where the hotel is situated. There is also the option of cable car and gondola. On our return back down the mountain, we went by cable car which was a completely different experience altogether than the train trip up had been with many diverse viewing options.
From the station we followed some paths further up the mountain and looked down to where we could see Lake Lucerne and the occasional small building off in the distance. The rolling pastures undulated down the mountainside below us while a brisk breeze teased the tall grasses growing beside the paths.
I was mesmerized by what sounded like thousands of cowbells softly tinkling in the distance and the occasional melodic alp horn. (The alp horns are used to call the cattle to pasture in June. They were happy sounds to surround us as we satiated ourselves with the beauty we saw wherever we looked. Rigi Kulm was so like the mountains of Switzerland that I had imagined since a young child.
There are approximately 250 Alpine herdsmen scattered across the mountainside with small cottages to house them. There are approximately 5,000 cattle plus goats and sheep. The herdsmen have used the mountain pastures from as early as the seventh century.
For anyone who is a lover of mountains and of nature, this mountain is not one to pass by when visiting Lucerne, Switzerland.