Quirky & steep funiculars | Switzerland’s 2nd-largest and 3rd-highest dam | View Mont Blanc, tour the dam, enjoy a meal, or go for a walk
The voyage to Lac de Emosson (or Barrage Emosson) is an adventure in itself: the world’s steepest 2-cabin funicular (87°), an open-sided mountain train with spectacular views, and a “mini-funicular” to the top of the dam walls at nearly 2,000 m above sea level.
The thrills don’t stop when you reach the lake. During the summer you can tour inside the dam, eat at a restaurant, or enjoy a hike — including to fossilized dinosaur footprints.
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Getting there & away
The Lac d’Emosson is located in the Swiss canton of Valais/Wallis, right near the French border. The main access point is Le Châtelard, a village about half way between Martigny (Switzerland) and Chamonix (France).
The lake is only accessible by road and public transport between mid-May to mid-October. You can drive right up to the dam, but it’s more fun to take the three mountain trains operated by VerticAlp Emosson from Le Châtelard.
Le Châtelard is served by the Mont Blanc Express train, as well as by bus. You can alternatively take a bus to the Lac d’Emosson from the nearby village of Finhaut (also a stop on the Mont Blanc Express).
►Nice picture of the funiculars and panoramic train routes
►Directions to Le Châtelard on Google maps
►Directions to Lac d’Emosson on Google maps
►VerticAlp Emosson timetable & fare info (English, French, German, Korean)
What to bring
You don’t need any special equipment to visit the Lac de Emosson in summer or early autumn. Nevertheless be prepared for sudden changes in weather, don’t forget sun protection, and bring enough food and water if you don’t wish to buy any onsite.
You’ll find a car park, small tourist center and gift shop at the lake, as well as a restaurant with two apartments to rent for the night. There’s also a café at the top of the first funicular.
►Restaurant du Barrage d’Emmoson (French)
You can take a guided tour inside the dam walls. See the Emosson dam website for further information.
Dangers & annoyances
If you plan to walk around the lake or spend a lot of time outside, then guard against:
- Heat stroke/dehydration
- Stomach bugs & parasites
Nearby mountain fun
Eating & sleeping
There are a few eating and sleeping options in and around Le Châtelard. The most unusual are the dome tents in the VerticAlp attraction park. There are many places to eat and sleep in nearby Martigny and Chamonix.
Walking & hiking options
You can walk along the dam walls, as well as along either side of the lake. According to SwissMobility, the trails do not go the whole way around.
Two other walks of note are:
- Walk along a paved road to the Vieux-Emosson dam and mountain hut
- Emosson dinosaur footprints hike
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