Best Winter Hikes from Lucerne

You are currently viewing Best Winter Hikes from Lucerne
  • Post last modified:January 30, 2021
  • Post category:Lucerne / Switzerland
  • Reading time:11 mins read

Lucerne is famous for spectacular Alpine views and is very popular for hiking with locals and tourists alike. Although perhaps better known for summer hiking (and for skiing in Engelberg!), there are also a few really nice winter hiking options dotted around the area.

Lucerne is also pretty central, so these hikes could make for nice day hikes from Basel, Bern or Zurich. Basel and Bern are each about an hour from Lucerne, and Zurich is more like 40 minutes away.

If you’re more interested in hikes from Zurich, we have similar posts for Zurich for winter hiking and also for snowshoe hiking.

Anyway – here are some of our favorite winter hikes around Lucerne!

Marbachegg

Looking across at Hängst/Schratteflue from Marbachegg

This first hike takes us to the edge of the Entlebuch region, a relatively unknown mountainous area on the edge of the Alps between Lucerne and Bern. Up a side valley hidden in amongst all these mountains you’ll find a small ski resort called Marbachegg.

This hike starts in the even more obscure village of Bumbach, a few kilometers further up the valley, and winds up a relatively gentle slope towards the ski resort. You won’t see any skiers for most of the walk as the two ski lifts are on the other side of the mountain, and this felt like a very remote walk in some places. The views of the imposing ridges of Hengst/Hangst and Hohgant are already impressive from the bottom of the walk, and as you get higher up the views widens further to include some of the peaks around Interlaken. An impressive walk on a sunny day!

For more information on this route, check here (we hiked up rather than down).

Time from Lucerne by public transport about 1h 10 mins each way
Time from Lucerne by car 1h (to Marbach)
Start point Bumbach, Alpenrose bus stop
Finish point Marbachegg gondola station
High point Marbachegg 1483m
Popularity 2/5 – probably mostly locals
Altitude difference 500m ↑ 10m ↓
Difficulty T1/T2 (easy/medium)
Hiking time 2h 30 mins
Distance 5km

Trüebsee (Engelberg)

Engelberg_Luzern_Truebsee Lake_Winter Hike
Trüebsee

Trüebsee (or Trübsee) is a lake in the famous ski resort of Engelberg – well, it is in the summer, anyway – you won’t see much of it under all the snow in the winter!

For an easy winter walk here, we suggest simply walking around the lake – the path is easy and flat, and the mountains surrounding Engelberg make for good views in all directions. There are also several other winter walking trails around Engelberg if this one doesn’t float your boat or you’re looking for something a bit more strenuous (for example the two shown on this map here).

For more information on the walk around Trüebsee, check our post here.

Time from Lucerne by public transport 45 mins (to Engelberg), plus perhaps 20 mins to get up the gondola
Time from Lucerne by car 40 mins (to Engelberg), plus perhaps 20 mins to get up the gondola
Start & Finish point Engelberg, Trübsee cable car station
High point ~1800 m
Popularity 4/5
Altitude difference 50 m ↑ 50 m ↓
Difficulty T1 (easy)
Hiking time 1h
Distance ~3.5 km

Rooterberg – Switzerland’s smallest mountain

Rooterberg
View of Rigi from Rooterberg

If you look for descriptions of hiking up Rooterberg in summer, you’ll find quite a few people saying that this is a boring peak. It’s one of those typical small mountains – almost just hills really – that’ll you find dotting the landscape in the flatter areas of Switzerland. In the winter though, the fact that it’s not a particularly steep climb becomes an advantage, making it a pleasant hike through the snow, and the proximity to Rigi and the Vierwaldstattersee (Lake Lucerne) makes for nice views as well. There are various ways to walk up – we walked from Küssnacht am Rigi station to Root D4 station, although you could make it shorter by just starting in Udligenswil.

Due to its small size, the snow shouldn’t be particularly deep for most of the winter season and you’ll probably be able to get up it without snowshoes most of the time, especially if you follow the tracks in the snow left by other people. Having said that – at the time of writing, one of the biggest snowfalls in recent years has still not fully melted away in Zurich, so perhaps the snow is pretty deep at 800m at the moment!

Finally, a claim to fame – this is apparently the lowest mountain in Switzerland with a prominence above 300m (see here). So we reckon that this is the smallest mountain in Switzerland 🙂

Time from Lucerne by public transport 10 – 20 mins each way
Time from Lucerne by car about 20 mins each way
Start point Küssnacht am Rigi station
Finish point Root D4 station
High point Rooterberg 839m
Popularity 3/5 – mainly locals
Altitude difference 500m ↑ 550m ↓
Difficulty T2 (medium)
Hiking time 3h 30 mins
Distance 11km

Rigi

Rigi Winter Hiking Switzerland_2
Unbroken views and sunshine atop Rigi

Even though we’re fans of off-the-beaten-path options, it’s difficult to write a ‘best of’ list around Lucerne without at least mentioning Pilatus and Rigi. Steep-sided Pilatus doesn’t lend itself so well to easy winter hiking, but large areas of the upper part of Rigi are broad and gentle slopes that are well-connected by Rigi’s various mountain railways and cable cars, making for excellent terrain for various winter sports activities. 

There are two winter walking paths on Rigi (routes 570 and 571, see here and here), which can be combined together for a 4-hour hike starting at the top of Rigi, Rigi Kulm. From Rigi Kulm you start with 4 km mostly down to Rigi Kaltbad which if you’ve already had enough has a station and also a spa with thermal baths overlooking the Alps. If you’re energetic, then you can continue for another 7 km and 260 m up towards Rigi Scheidegg. The path itself is very broad with the snow well patted down. So, all that’s really left to do is enjoy the panoramic views from one Rigi peak to the other. It really makes for a wonderful day in the snow!

Time from Lucerne by public transport 1h 10 mins to 1h 30 mins (including mountain transport)
Time from Lucerne by car 30 mins to Vitznau or Goldau, plus perhaps 30-45 mins on mountain transport.
Start point Rigi Kulm station
Finish point Rigi Kaltbad/Rigi Scheidegg
High point Rigi Kulm station 1749 m
Popularity 4/5
Altitude difference 20 m ↑ 340m ↓ to Rigi Kaltbad, or about 280 m ↑ 390 m ↓ to Rigi Scheidegg
DifficultyT1/T2 (easy/medium)
Hiking time 1h 40 mins to Rigi Kaltbad or 4h to Rigi Scheidegg
Distance ~4 km to Rigi Kaltbad or ~11 km to Rigi Scheidegg

Melchsee Frutt

Melchsee Frutt Bonistock snowshoe_winter_hike
Looking across Melchsee Frutt from Bonistock

In our best snowshoe hikes from Zurich post we recommended a snowshoe hike here up Bonistock, but the landscape is just as spectacular without snowshoes on and there are also one or two winter walking options. The route we’re highlighting should give you wide views of mountains in every direction. In a way, this walk is a bigger version of the nearby Trüebsee walk we described above – you get two snow-covered lakes instead of one!

For more information on this walk, check here.

Time from Lucerne by public transport 50 mins (plus 20 mins to get up the gondola)
Time from Lucerne by car 40 mins (plus 20 mins to get up the gondola)
Start & Finish point Melchsee-Frutt (Bergstation)
High point ~2000m
Popularity 3/5
Altitude difference 220m ↑ 220m ↓
Difficulty T1 (easy)
Hiking time 3h
Distance 9km

Chrüzhubel

Chruzhubel_Luzern Winter_Hiking
Chrüzhubel just peeking above the clouds!

Like Rooterberg, this is another small and relatively obscure mountain that isn’t particularly spectacular on the face of it, but actually makes a really nice winter walk close to Luzern. There isn’t a prepared winter walking path up this one either, but due to the relatively low altitude, it will often be doable without snowshoes when there isn’t much snow (though as also mentioned above with Rooterberg – at the time of writing, you might well need snowshoes!)

We actually climbed this on a foggy day where the peak was just sticking out of low-altitude clouds, which is always impressive. It’s not a particularly high peak though so it won’t always manage to stick out of the cloud!

For more details on this hike, check our post here.

Time from Lucerne by public transport 10 mins
Time from Lucerne by car 20 mins
Start & Finish point Malters train station
High point Chrüzhubel 999m
Popularity 2/5 – probably mostly locals
Altitude difference 600 m ↑ 600 m ↓
Difficulty T2 (medium)
Hiking time 4h
Distance 11km

Klewenalp to Stockhütte

Klewenalp Winter Hiking
Klewenalp along with some of the peaks behind the resort

This spot probably sits in between the popularity of Rigi and the obscurity of Chrüzhubel – it doesn’t quite have the same name recognition, but it does still have impressive views of the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne) and the famous Mythen brothers in Schwyz in the background. It’s a relatively easy walk and conveniently located in a ski resort. So, a good option to consider if you’re going with friends or family who want to do different winter sports. 

The path starts at the top of the cable car from Beckenried in Klewenalp and winds its way down to Stockhütte. On the way you wind your way along the edge of the taller mountains to the south. Once when we were there in winter we saw a wedding party make their way up the cable cars. They were well dressed in suits and ties and with presents in one hand and skis in the other! I guess you can’t let any ski opportunity go now can you?

For more information on this route, check here.

Time from Lucerne by public transport about 1h each way (including mountain transport)
Time from Lucerne by car about 30 mins each way (plus perhaps 20 mins mountain transport)
Start point Klewenalp cable car
Finish point Stockhütte (Bergstation)
High point 1600m (Klewenalp)
Popularity 4/5
Altitude difference 80m ↑ 400m ↓
Difficulty T1 (easy)
Hiking time 2h
Distance 5km

Rotenflue

Rotenflue_Winter Hiking_Schwyz
View from Rotenflue – once again escaping above the clouds!

Not far from Lucerne is canton Schwyz with its own offering of picturesque winter walks. At over 1500 meters high, Rotenflue is often above the winter cloud line, making it a popular spot with the locals for hiking and other sports. We did this hike on the 1st of January one year as a short but relaxing hike to kick off the year! 

As the photos will attest it is quite a view from the top of Rotenflue. There are many winter walking paths in this area, more than are even posted online. We’re higlighting one of the simplest paths, which took us from Rotenflue to Stägleren, then Müsliegg and finally back to to Rotenflue. There’s also a loop called the Ibergeregg Loop walk (route 564) you can add on if you have energy. For those of you that are keen on the Grand Tour of Switzerland, Rotenflue is on that route and you’ll find the iconic red Grand Tour picture frame about a minute away from the cable car. It’s quite a nice one with Gross Mythen in the frame.

You can read more about it and check out all the pictures in our post here.

Time from Lucerne by public transport 1h (plus 20 mins to get up the gondola)
Time from Lucerne by car 40 mins (plus 20 mins to get up the gondola)
Start & Finish point Rotenflue cable car station
High point Rotenflue 1571m
Popularity 4/5
Altitude difference 200 m ↑ 200 m ↓
Difficulty T2 (medium)
Hiking time 1h 15 mins
Distance 4km

Sörenberg

Sorenberg_Winter_Hiking
Brienzer Rothorn reappearing after a blizzard on a winter walk near Sörenberg

For our last walk, we’re heading back west to Sörenberg, a village on the northern slopes of Brienzer Rothorn. In the summer, this area is a jumping off point to climb Brienzer Rothorn. In the winter, though, the village turns into the access point for a smallish ski resort, complete with winter hiking, snowshoe and sledging options.

For a medium-sized walk here, we suggest looking up the “Rundwanderweg Glaubenbielenpass”, or circular Glaubenbielen pass walk, which takes you up from the village towards the Glaubenbielen Pass through the snow covered countryside. A good option to get out amongst the mountains without having to deal with snowshoes!

For more details on this hike, check here.

Time from Lucerne by public transport 1h
Time from Lucerne by car 1h
Start & Finish point Sörenberg, Post bus stop
High point 1500m (nr. Glaubenbielenpass)
Popularity 3/5
Altitude difference 450m ↑ 450m ↓
Difficulty T1 (easy)
Hiking time 3h 30 mins
Distance 10km