An Unforgettable Drive to Lac d’Emosson in the Swiss Alps

Lac d’Emosson is a high mountain reservoir at an elevation of 1.970m (6,463ft) above the sea level, located in the canton of Valais, in Switzerland.

Lac d’Emosson

Can you drive to Lac d’Emosson?

Set high in the Swiss Alps near the French border, the road to the reservoir, also known as Barrage Emosson, is totally paved and was built in 1925. The road is surprisingly quiet and there is little motorized traffic. As you near the summit you will negotiate some switchbacks on the climb. The reservoir can be reached by this road or by the Barberine Railway, the world’s steepest two-carriage funicular (87% gradient), built in 1920.

How long is the road to Lac d’Emosson?

Tucked away on the southern part of the country, the road to the reservoir is 6.2 km (3.85 miles) long starting at Finhaut. The road is very steep, hitting a 16% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The elevation gain is 576 meters. The average gradient is 9.29%. This is a steep climb, all between 9% and 10% (and much steeper above the lake) – on quiet roads with unbelievable views of Mont Blanc. It featured as a mountain top finish in the Tour de France.

Is the road to Lac d’Emosson open?

This road is usually open from late May through late October or early November (depending on snow). The end of the road hosts a restaurant, a little church (Chapelle Notre-Dame-des-neiges de La Gueulaz) and a car park. South to the parking it is possible to continue on further to another dam, Lac du Vieux Emosson, built in 1955, which is higher up still, at an elevation of 2.205m (7,234ft) above the sea level. The road has a limited access.
Pic: Liudmila Nikitina