Day 3 & 4: Mount Rigi

Plan for two days

Our plan was to drive to Goldau A4 where we would parked our car for the next two days. From Goldau A4 we would board a Rigi Cogwheel train to Rigi Klosterli where we had booked an Airbnb Apartment for two nights. The rest of the day would be for exploring Rigi Klostelri and its surrounding. The next day we would explore as many parts of Mount Rigi as we could via the cogwheel train and on feet.

Route to Appenzell to Mount Rigi

Route to Appenzell to Mount Rigi

By the end of two days
We had a great time visiting various parts of Mount Rigi. We stayed two nights at Rigi Klosterli (mid mountain) to give us more time to explore Rigi. We arrived at about 3 pm on the first day which did not left us a “whole day” to explore, the second day though we had whole day to explore were limited by the train schedule and our energy level. On the third day we left after breakfast for our next destination which meant we had no time for Mount Rigi. So effectively we had only one and a quarter days to explore Mount Rigi. On hingsight a full two days would have been better for a more thorough exploration. In our case we had no time for the aerial cable car ride between Rigi-Kaltbad-First and Weggis and some other walking trails. 

On another thought maybe the time we had was sufficient. There were other parts of Mount Riggi that we skipped but it was okay as they essentially were on the same mountain and the scenes were similar tothose we had seen. Allocating more time at Mount Rigi meant lesser time for other part of Switzerland. 

Parking our car at Goldau

The only way to explore Mount Rigi was on a cogwheel train as the region was off limit to cars. On the Rigi website there were plentiful information for visitors to and it recommended that visitors who arrived by car should park their cars at Goldau A4 carpark (co-ordinates: 47.042586, 8.547317) which was conveniently located next to a motoway and a cogwheel train stop. 

On arriving at Goldau A4 parking we found that it was a huge open air carpark with no other buildings around. There was no supermarket within walking distance and we needed to buy enough grocery supplies for two days for our stay at Rigi Klosteri as our host had told us that in the village there were no grocery store. 

The train ticket seller was very nice and she advised us to park our car at Arth Goldau. There we would be able to find a supermarket. There was also a Rigi cogwheel station at Arth Goldau and we could start our cogwheel journey from there. The cogwheel train ticket to Rigi-Klosterli costed the same amount whether we boarded it at Goldau-A4 or Arth-Goldau.

Goldau-A4 to Arth-Goldau

Goldau-A4 to Arth-Goldau

It was a short drive of 1.8 km from Goldau A4 to Arth-Goldau (co-ords:  47.049312, 8.549329). There we found a Co-oop supermarket where we picked up our two-day worth of grocery.Opposite the Co-op was a orange colored building, it was the train ticketing office. 

The staff at the ticketing office was another very helpful person, he walked out of his office to point to me the location of the nearby cogwheel station. We told him that we would be staying in Rigi for two nights and would needed a 2 days (48 hours) parking ticket. We were afraid that by the time we returned to the carpark on the 3rd day we might exceeded 48 hours but purchasing a 72 hours ticket was overkilled. The nice man sold us a 48 hours parking ticket at €16 (€8 for 24 hours) and on it he signed, stamped and authorised the parking till the end of the 3rd day.

Rigi Parking on a road across the train tracks

Rigi Parking on a road across the train tracks

The Rigi Parking (co-ords: 47.049356,8.551902)  at Arth-Goldau was on a road across the railway tracks. After parking and grabbing our bags and grocery we walked through a short cut that returned to the station via a underground tunnel. We reached the ticketing section in the orange colored building and walked further forward to the Rigi-Cogwheel station.

Arth-Goldau Rigi Bahn

Arth-Goldau Rigi Bahn

At the Cogwheel station we discussed with the staff about the various type of tickets, single ticket, return ticket and day pass. Return ticket was cheaper than two single tickets and day pass was for unlimited rides for the day. To buy the tickets at half the price we needed to show the ticketing staff our Swiss Half Fare Cards and our passports.

We bought two return half fare tickets (CHF26.50 per person) for Arth-Goldau to Rigi Klosteris where our accommodation was located. We planned to buy the Rigi Day Pass the next day at Rigi Klosteris station and explore Rigi using its unlimited rides benefit. Since the day pass was only valid for the day and not 24 hours, we would have to start our exploration as early as possible to maximise its benefits.

On our way to Rigi Klosteris with return tickets

On our way to Rigi Klosteris with return tickets

Rigi Cogwheel Train 

The Rigi Cogwheel Train started from two locations, Vitznau and Arth-Goldau. Both tracks would end at Rigi Klum the highest station. The Rigi Cogwheel Day Pass allowed unlimited rides on both tracks including the aerial cable car rides from Rigi-Kaltbad-First down to Weggis and from Krabel up to Rigi Scheidegg

Rigi cogwheel routes and train stops

Rigi cogwheel routes and train stops

We managed to get a Rigi-Cogwheel brochure from the ticketing office that gave us the timetable of the cogwheel trains on both tracks. A few places on Moiunt Rigi that we would want to explore the next day were Rigi-Scheidegg, Rigi-Kulm, Rigi-Rotstock Lookout and Kanzeli. So based on the timetable we planned our our rides on the cogwheel trains to get to all the destinations.  

We would take an early train from Rigi Klosterli to Krabel and then to go up to Rigi- Scheidegger by aerial cable car. After coming down we would take the cogwheel train to Rigi-Klum, there we would explore for about an hour before hopping back on a train to get to Rigi-Staffel. At Rigi-Staffel we would trek up to Rigi-Rotstock Lookout before trekking down to Rigi-Staffelhohe and then continue our trekking Kanzeli then to Rigi Kaltbad-First. From Rigi Kaltbad-First we would take a aerial cable car ride to Weggis and then return. From Rigi Kaltbad-First we would have to return to Rigi Kulm and cross to the other track to return to Rigi Klosterli to get back to our accommodation. The timing to watchout for was the last train back to Rigi Klosteli.

Our destinations on Mount Rigi

Our destinations on Mount Rigi

Rigi Klosteri

Rigi Klosterli was the the fourth stop on the Rigi Cogwheel train starting from Arth Goldau station and was our first destination on the Mount Rigi. We reached Rigi Klosteri at about 2.45 pm. After we settled our bags in our “hotel” and rested we still had plentiful of time, 3 hours before sun down at about 9 pm. 

Rigi Klosteri Station

Rigi Klosteri Station

Rigi Klosterli was a hamlet sitting on the eastern slopes of Mount Rigi halfway up to Rigi Kulm (the summit of Mount Rigi). It was a beautiful hamlet, a very quiet place, a place to stop and take in the lovely scenery, a place to breath in the clean and crisp air and a place to listen to the soft distance “ding a dong” chimes of the cow/sheep bells. 

We saw a couple of restaurants (no grocery store), some apartments, a church and a school as we explored. Our walk took us uphill where we had a gorgeous top down view of the hamlet.

Klosterli hamlet

Klosterli hamlet

From the walking trail on the hill we could see Rigi Klosterli cogwheel station and the houses/apartment in the hamlet below. The hamlet was pretty small there was a concentration of not more than 10 buildings near the cogwheel station which we presumed was the entire hamlet.  We kept walking upslope wondering what other gorgeous views we would come into our sights. 

Seeing far and wide on Rigi Klosterli trail

Seeing far and wide on Rigi Klosterli trail

After a while, we realised that we were on the “Rigi Klum Ridge Trail” that connected Rigi Klosterli and Rigi Kulm. From most of our readups on the internet the recommendation was to trek down hill from Rigi Kulm to Rigi Klosterli. We were trekking in the opposite direction and possibly already covered about a third of the total distance of 4 km. So far though it was an uphill trek it was manageable and pretty scenic and we were very tempted to trek all the way to Rigi Kulm. Unfortunately reality set in. It was too late to make the trekking trip because by the time we reached Rigi Kulm the last cogwheel train back to Rigi Klosterli would have left which meant we would have to reverse trek back to Rigi Klosterli in the dark! We should have come out sooner!!
 
Rigi Klum Ridge Trail

Rigi Klum Ridge Trail

Rigi Schiedegg

On the second day morning we were at Rigi Klosterli train station before 9 am to catch the first train (in the direction of Rigi Kulm to Arth-Goldau) at about 9.18 am to Krabel for a cable car ride up to Rigi Schiedegg. At the station there was no staff manning the ticketing booth. Oh dear, how would we purchase the Rigi-cogwheel day pass?

The train arrived on time and stopped for a while at the station. We went on board to check with the train driver and he issued us a slip of receipt that represented two passes for the day. We paid half fare for the passes at CHF36 per person after the train driver verified that we both had the Swiss-Half-Fare Cards and the names on our passports and that on the Swiss-Half-Fare cards matched. 

Purchased the Rigi Day Passes (in the form of a receipt) from the train driver

Purchased the Rigi Day Passes (in the form of a receipt) from the train driver

Since it was the first train of the day it was very empty. We were practically the only people in the train cabin. We alighted after two stops at Krabel station and crossed over to the cable car station. We were surprised to see a carpark by the cable car station with many cars already parked. Our impression was that no cars were allowed on the Rigi Mountains and cars had to be parked at Arth-Goldau parking or Goldau-A4 parking. Well apparently for cable car riders could park at Krabel-Rigi-Scheidegg-Cable=Car Parking and saved a cogwheel ride/ticket between Goldau and Krabel. 

Krabel Station and Cable car station

Krabel Station and Cable car station

At the cable car station we showed our day-passes (which was just a receipt) to the attendant and had no problem getting a ride. The cable car rides were at 30 minutes interval and the operating hours were from 8.10 am to 6.25 pm (Monday to Thursday) and from 8.10 am to 7.25 pm (Friday to Sunday). On the ride up we had treated with a wonderful view of the surrounding lakes. The cable car ride took about 6 minutes ascending to the top, Rigi Schiedegg. 

View of Lake seen on the cable car ride

View of Lake seen on the cable car ride

Rigi Scheidegg was a beautiful place with hotels and restaurants for visitors. It was also the start of walking trails to other parts of the mountain like the 7 km trek to Rigi Kaltbad. We did not intend to hike on any of these trails as it would take up too much of our limited time. We had given ourselves just one hour to explore the vicinity of the upper cable car station. 

Lovely scenery at Rigi Schiedegg

Lovely mountain scenery at Rigi Schiedegg

We did not have to walk very far from the cable car station to start seeing the view of lakes. It was a pity that there were no signboards to tell us the names of the lakes. From our google map we sort of could guess the names of two lakes. They were Zugersee (see meant lake) and Lauterzersee. Somehow knowing the names of the lakes made the views more meaningful.

Lakes: Zugersee and Lauerzersee as seen from Rigi Scheidegg

Lakes: Zugersee and Lauerzersee as seen from Rigi Scheidegg

Rigi Klum

After we came down from Rigi Scheidegg we were back to Krabel station to wait for a next train going in the direction of Rigi Kulm. Rigi Kulm station was the further/highest cogwheel station and the journey took about 36 minutes with 5 stops. At Rigi Kulm, the weather of the day was misty and gloomy. The sky was dull and full of heavy gray clouds but neverthless the views at Rigi Kulm were still beautiful.

Rigi Klum station (Rigi Klumweg) and Lake Lucerne

Rigi Klum station (Rigi Klumweg) and Lake Lucerne

Unlike Rigi Klosterli, Rigi Kulm had more visitors. It was close to noon and the cogwheel train that pulled into Rigi Kulm train station was cramped pack with visitors. One of the main reasons that Rigi Kulm was popular with visitors was it was the higest peak of Mount Rigi at a height of 1797 metres above sea level. Apparently on Rigi Kulm it was possible to see 13 lakes! We saw lakes but definitely not 13.

Rigi Klum

Rigi Kulm

I was more interested to find an empty sun-chair and to lie down to relax and do nothing. While Yat Thong was more interested in exploring the surrounding. So we decided to each do our own thing and to meet back at the sun-chair one hour later. 

Enjoying Rigi Kulm my way

Enjoying Rigi Kulm my way

Yat Thong moved around and came back at about the time we earlier agreed. He showed me beautiful photos of panoramic views he had captured just in the vicinity of the train station. They were beautiful but I did not regret missing them. It was still not the end of the day, there were still a couple of places to explore and I was sure that there would be more beautiful sights to see.  

Television transmission tower and panoramic views at Rigi Kulm

Television transmission tower and panoramic views at Rigi Kulm

Rotstock

To get to Rigi Rotstock we took the train at Rigi Kulm and alighted after one stop at Rigi Staffel. Both train tracks stopped at Rigi Staffel, they splitted after that with one heading towards Goldau and the other towards Vitznau.

Rigi Staffel

Rigi Staffel

After alighting we walked forward along the train track until we saw a signboard and went uphill to Rigi Rotstock. The walk to Rotstock was pretty straight forward, up the slope of a hill to Rotstock lookout. The slope though was not very steep still required a great deal of effort to reach the top. It was a continuous uphill trek of 1 km.

Rigi Kulm as seen from Rigi Rotstock

Rigi Kulm as seen from Rigi Rotstock

At Rigi Rotstock lookout point we could see Rigi Staffel, Rigi Kulm and TV Transmission tower on one side. On the other side we could see Lake Lucerne.

Lake Lucerne as seen from Rigi Rotstock

Lake Lucerne as seen from Rigi Rotstock

After Rigi Rotstock we continued our trek to Rigi Staffelhohe. What we thought was a short journey turned out to be much longer and trickier. At one point we could see Rigi Staffelhohe train station and thought it was near but just could not find a trail that led directly to it. There was a valley between us and train station and we had to go a long way to cross it. 

Route from Rigi Staffel to Rotstock to Rigi Staffehohe

Route from Rigi Staffel to Rotstock to Rigi Staffehohe

Kanzeli 

After reaching Rigi Staffelhohe we had a short break and then started our trek to Kanzeli then to Rigi Kaltbad-first. It would be about an 20 minutes to Kanzeli lookout platform (Aussichtsplattform Känzeli) and another 20 minutes to Rigi-Kaltbad-First. 

Rigi Staffelhohe to Kanzeli to Rigi-Kaltbad-First

Rigi Staffelhohe to Kanzeli to Rigi-Kaltbad-First

It was a descending walk starting at an location just beside Rigi Staffelhohe station. This was a easier trail to trek.

Rigi Staffelhohel cogwheel train station

Rigi Staffelhohel cogwheel train station

Along the route we came upon many different type of flowers, some of the flowers were very lovely and interesting. It was great that these flowers had tags indicating their names. 

Flowers on Mount Rigi

Flowers on Mount Rigi

Instead of 20 minutes we took 30 minutes to get to Kanzeli. We took longer because we were frequently stopping to look at the flowers and their names! Finally we reached Kanzeli Lookout platform. Wow! The views of Lucerne Lake was awesome.

View of Lucerne Lake from Kanzeli

View of Lucerne Lake from Kanzeli

We ended our trekking at Rigi-Kaltbad-First.  From Rigi-Kaltbad-First we could go down to Weggis on a aerial cable car. But we decided to forgo the ride as our time was pretty tight. We still needed to go by cogwheel train back to Rigi Klum and hop onto another train to get back to Rigi Klosterli. If we missed the last train (7 pm) to Rigi Klosterli it would be a long long trek back to our hotel! It was a long day and we were dying for ice-creams!

We explored Rigi-Kaltbad-First abit and saw the first grocery store on Mount Rigi! 

Rigi Kaltbad First

Rigi Kaltbad First

Home Cooked Meal

We were able to cooked two lovely breakfasts and two yummy dinners at our stay. Though we were not able to drive up directly to our hotel we still had no problem reaching our hotel with two days worthed of clothes and grocery. Having a car had a great advantage, it allowed us to leave all other “not important” stuffs in the car and travelled “lighweight” with only the necessities to our hotel. 

Home cooked meal at our stay in Mount Rigi

Home cooked meal at our stay in Mount Rigi

Our Accommodation at Rigi Klosteri

Our stay was at “Rigi the place that likes nature “ booked from Airbnb (click “Gift Voucher” to received a cash voucher for new Airbnb signup). We were searching for a place to stay overnight for our two days visit to Mount Rigi. Originally we booked a hotel at Weggis for two nights and planned to go up to Mount Rigi via the aerial cable car to Rigi-Kaltbad-First each day. By chance we found a suitable stay on a mid mountain hamlet of Mount Rigi. The Airbnb listing was “Rigi the place that likes nature ” .

The cost for two nights was CHF172. It was a studio apartment with a kitchen. The only worries we had when booking the place was that its position/location was not very clear on the Airbnb listing. Google map had very little information of Rigi Klosterli too. 

We arrived at Rigi Klosterli and had to find our way to a restaurant (Heirihutte) up a hill to pick up the key to or Airbnb stay. The first restaurant that we thought was Heirihutte was incorrect, but luckily the owner was kind enough to point us up a steep path beside her Hotel/restaurant that led up to the correct Heirihuttte. Luckily there were two of us, so Yat Thong stayed to guard our bags and stuffs and I went uphill to pick up the key. 

Rigi Klosterli

Rigi Klosterli

I picked up our key the hard way, climbing up and down a steep hill slope. It was later that we found that there was a longer, proper and gentler road that led past our Airbnb stay and continue to Heirihutte. It was a pity that our host could not give us a problem map to make checking in easier.

Our Airbnb stay was in a four storey dark brown apartment just after the town church. 

Airbnb apartment, corridor and common areas

Airbnb apartment, corridor and common areas

Our room was better than we expected. It was very clean, bright and spacious. It had a full functional kitchen with everything we needed to cook a good meal. 

Our Airbnb stay

Our Airbnb stay

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