Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,415.00 ft (736.09 m)
Trail type
3.86 mi (6.21 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Located in the French alps, adjacent to the Swiss border, lies Lac Emosson, the Emosson Dam and it's breathtaking surrounding scenery. Brought into service in 1972 to provide a hydroelecticity for the nearby towns, Emosson Dam is situated above the little swiss village of Chatelard , just 19 km from Chamonix . This dam was preceded by the old submerged Barberine dam between 1921 to 1925 and now is holding French and Swiss waters at 6500 feet below the Glacier of Argentiere and Le tour. 

There are multiple ways to get to the top of the dam. While most people take the combination of Funicular (the steepest ones in the world with a gradient of 87%) and train, there are also plenty of trails to choose from. One of these trails start at Vallorcine, whidh is accesible by train or bus from Chamonix and other towns nearby. The trailhead isn't all that obvious, located at the northernmost side of La Mollard. 

After 1.5 miles of hiking, just before the trail starts steepening, a short detour will bring you to Cascade de Barberine, a small waterfall that's feeding off to La Barberine. From here the trail starts going uphill fairly abruptly, going in and out of forest and crossing a couple of scree slopes. Don't forget to look around and see the amazing view of Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountains. In the late summer season , you might come across mushroom hunters as there are plenty of mushrooms laying all over the forest. If thinking of foraging  just make sure you know what is edible! 

The trail ends on the paved road where you can keep going west to explore Lac Emosson or head toward the dam where the main hydroelectic plant buildings are located. It was quite a sight to walk around the dam. Or If you are still feeling fresh, then take a 2.5 hours each way following the dinosaur trail and visit the dinosaur footprint at Vieux-Emosson.

Once you're done exploring, you have the choice of either going back dowm the same trail up or take the interesting funicular down to Vallorcine. 




Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Great views.


Lack of signage.

Trailhead Elevation

4,150.00 ft (1,264.92 m)

Highest point

6,412.00 ft (1,954.38 m)


Family friendly
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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