Thrilling ride to Lac de Emosson | Scenic trains in Switzerland

Photo of the Lac d'Emosson in Valais, Switzerland
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.

Practical info

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)

Dam tours

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:

  • Sunburn
  • Heat stroke/dehydration
  • Stomach bugs & parasites
  • Hypothermia/exposure

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.

Another option is the Cabane du Vieux-Emosson — a mountain hut above the nearby Vieux-Emosson dam, with dormitory sleeping and a restaurant.

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.

The long-distance 6 “Alpine Passes” trail includes a T1 section along the Lac de Emosson and going down to Le Châtelard.

Two other walks of note are:

Browse our map


More mountain fun near or like the scenic train to Lac d’Emosson:

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