Vierwaldstätterweg, walking from Küssnacht am Rigi to Lucerne

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Vierwaldstätterweg, walking from Küssnacht am Rigi to Lucerne

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The Vierwaldstätterweg is a hiking trail that runs all around Lake Lucerne - from Brunnen to Rütli - passing through the "city of lights". The path offers wonderful panoramic views and is mostly easy to walk. Furthermore, if you would like to complete the tour around the lake, you can plan your hike by combining it with the better-known 'Weg der Schweiz', the path that runs along the southern part of the Vierwaldstätterweg, starting at Rütli and reaching Brunnen via Flüelen. In this article, we tell you about our route from Küssnacht am Rigi to Lucerne and give you some useful tips!

We love... the Vierwaldstätterweg!

The Vierwaldstätterweg is a hiking trail that runs along Lake Lucerne – from Brunnen to Rütli – passing through the “City of Lights”. The total length is over 115 km, normally divided into 7 stages. It is therefore perfect for a multi-day hike as well as for individual day stages. The trail is absolutely fascinating and for the most part easy to walk. It also offers magnificent views of the lake and the surrounding mountains and combines coastal paths with sections in the mountains or along rivers and lakes. For those who have more days available or who simply want to complete the tour around the entire lake, it is possible to continue the hike along the better-known ‘Weg der Schweiz’, the path that runs along the southern part of the Vierwaldstättersee, starting from Rütli and reaching Brunnen via Flüelen. We have walked part of both trails on day hikes and in this article we tell you about our route from Küssnacht am Rigi to Lucerne. We added a small detour to the official route, starting our excursion from the Immensee Train Station to explore two interesting attractions not far from Küssnacht am Rigi: the Hohle Gasse and the ruins of the Gesslerburg, an ancient castle.

Hike overview & map

The hike we propose is a linear route that starts from Immensee train station – at the foot of Mount Rigi – and first reaches Küssnacht am Rigi and then, following the Lake Lucerne shoreline, Meggen and Lucerne. During the route, you can enjoy beautiful views of the lake and buy farm products and fresh fruit at one of the self-service stores you will encounter along the way.
The total route is about 22 km, which can be covered in about 6 hours at a relaxed pace. If the route is too long for you, you can divide it into two parts: from Immensee to Weggis and from Weggis to Lucerne. It is a trail of moderate difficulty because of its length, mostly flat or with slight inclines that runs along trails of various types, from forested areas to road or dirt paths. You will find few dining options along the route, except in Küssnacht or Lucerne. Our advice is to bring your own food or grilling supplies.

Vierwaldstaetterweg-Kuessnacht-Lucerne-elevation

Use our hiking map with a 25% discount!

For a safe hike, it is important to have the support of maps and GPS. That’s why we plan and track all our hiking routes using Outdooractive, a platform for tracking outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and more. By subscribing for free to the website you can browse the entire route database, copy our routes, edit them and create your own and of course share them with friends.
If instead you want to sign up for a PRO or PRO+ subscription, until April 1st 2024 you can say goodbye to winter with a 25% discount on a new Pro and Pro+ subscriptions! Unlock amazing features and tools, be inspired, and start planning your next big adventure today!

Would you like to use our hiking map?

For a safe hike, it is important to have the support of maps and GPS. That’s why we plan and track all our hiking routes using Outdooractive, a platform for tracking outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and more. By subscribing for free to the website you can browse the entire route database, copy our routes, edit them and create your own and of course share them with friends. If instead you want to know why you should sign up for a PRO or PRO+ subscription and why we have already done it, we have told you about it here along with 5 other essential apps for hiking in Switzerland.

Walking route

Immensee, the Hohle Gasse and the ruins of Gesslerburg Castle

Although the official trail starts from Küssnacht am Rigi, we chose to extend our route, starting from the small train station of Immensee on Lake Zug. This choice allowed us to explore two interesting attractions located just above the small town of Küssnacht: the so-called Hohle Gasse and the ruins of the Gesslerburg, an ancient castle. The Hohle Gasse, which today connects Immensee to Küssnacht, is the old road linking Zurich – Zug – Immensee – Küssnacht – Flüelen – St. Gotthard. According to legend, William Tell is said to have killed the Habsburg bailiff Gessler with an arrow here. To reach it and visit the picturesque chapel commemorating the event, follow a slightly uphill path of about 1 kilometer from Immensee station. After visiting the chapel, continue about 1.5 kilometers further in the direction of Küssnacht until you come across a quaint mill. The Knochenstampfe (bone mill, in german) dates back to the late 1800s and is now an idyllic place, surrounded by forest and a small pond. A few more steps uphill and we reach Küssnacht’s second attraction, the ruins of the Gesslerburg. This ancient fortress, of which only a few rocks remain today, is also linked to the legend of William Tell: it is said to have been the residence of the bailiff Gessler. Today, the ruins are a family meeting place and an exceptional viewpoint over the wing of Lake Lucerne that touches the town of Küssnacht am Rigi.

From Küssnacht am Rigi to Meggen

From the ruins of the Gesslerburg and passing again in front of the picturesque mill, a downhill paved road leads to the quaint town of Küssnacht and then along its lakefront. From here, one more short climb takes us to the train station, where the official Waldstättersee trail begins. Here you will be in the most challenging part of the route, a climb of about 3 km from the lake shore to the hills. Take a break now and then to catch your breath and admire the view of the Rigi and Pilatus in the background. Next is a fairly flat 3 km route that runs through forests and dirt paths. About halfway along you will reach a small pond surrounded by reeds. Here you will also find picnic tables, a few benches and a couple of grilling stations. 1.5 kilometers later the slow descent to the small town of Meggen begins. If you decide to end your route here, simply follow the lakeside promenade until you meet the signs for the train station Meggen Zentrum. Otherwise, go ahead and continue along the lake in the direction of Lucerne.

From Meggen to Lucerne

From the marina in Meggen, the route continues on paved roads in residential areas for about 1.5 kilometers. From this point, we enter the green area of Meggen Castle (Schloss Meggenhorn). This area with a view of the lake is truly fascinating! Surrounded by vineyards, the castle dates back to the late 1800s and is the most well-known and photographed attraction in the area. Don’t miss a short visit to the external chapel and gardens. In autumn and spring, the whole area is really amazing! The castle houses a small museum that is open to the public only on Sundays and holidays – 12 to 5 p.m. – from April to October. During the remaining months of the year you can only visit the external areas. Near the castle you will also find a small bistro, also open from April to October on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
From Meggen Castle continue in the direction of Lucerne for about 1.5 kilometers. Here you are back on a paved road. From here, the path follows the shoreline of the lake, first passing through the area next to the Hermitage Hotel and then on to the beach and the transportation museum, until you reach the Seepromenade, the most elegant and urban part of the lakefront promenade that will lead you into the heart of Lucerne.

How to get there

See the location in Google Maps. The starting point of this walking route – Immensee – can be reached by public transportation. However, the small station is only served by a few local traffic trains. Alternatively, you can reach the train station in Küssnacht am Rigi. From there, it is up to you whether you walk to the attractions we proposed or start directly on the Vierwaldstätterweg to Lucerne. To find the best travel option for you, as always we recommend using the SBB website or the SBB App.

See the location in Google Maps. The starting point of this walking route – Immensee – is also easily accessible by car. To find the best travel option for you, as always we suggest you use Google Maps. However, since this is a one-way hiking route to Lucerne, our advice is to leave the car at home and use public transportation. Both Immensee and Küssnacht am Rigi stations have a small SBB P+Rail parking lot for a fee.

Booking.com
Booking.com

Tips

1

This route can also be walked in the opposite direction, starting in Lucerne and then reaching Küssnacht am Rigi and Immensee.

2

Are you planning an excursion here and have doubts or concerns? Leave us a comment below and we will give you a feedback as soon as possible!

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