Best Trails NH: Lakes Region

• Day hikes & Rail trails
• 1.7 to 12 mile trails
• Easy & Medium difficulties
• New Hampshire | Lakes Region
• Driving Directions: See trail reviews

Triptych of a cyclist on a covered bridge, people sitting on a rock looking at a lake from Mount Major and a man standing on a railroad bridge.

The Lakes Region of New Hampshire beckons hikers with its serene lakeside trails and picturesque mountain vistas. Situated amidst the tranquil waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Winnisquam, and Squam Lake among others, the region offers a diverse range of hiking experiences. From the rugged trails of Mount Major overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee to the peaceful strolls along the shores of Squam Lake, hikers can immerse themselves in the natural beauty and tranquility of the New Hampshire wilderness.

We list here our favorite trails of the region, summarized below with links to our trail reviews that feature photography and route maps that you can use on your phone for easy navigation. Did we miss your favorite trail? Let us know and we'll be sure to check it out!

Hiking Trails
Sitting on the top of Mount Major overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee Mount Major 5★
Alton, NH
2.7 to 7.4 miles, Medium, Gain 1,090 to 1,970 feet | Very popular mountain hike with spectacular views across Lake Winnipesaukee.

An anchor on the grassy shores. Rattlesnake Mountain 4★
Holderness, NH
1.7 to 3.9 miles, Easy, Gain 360 to 990 feet | A great Squam Lake height that provides an excellent lake viewpoint without too much elevation gain.
Enjoying sweping panoramas near the summit of Piper Mountain Gunstock & Belknap Loop 4★
Gilford, NH
5.0 miles, Medium, 1,800 feet | A worthy five mile hike that bags three different mountain peaks, plus a fire tower. You might even find the pub open on top of Gunstock!

Rail Trails
Riding an historic railroad car on the CVRT. Photo by Collin Sulloway Cotton Valley Rail Trail 5★
Wolfeboro-Wakefield, NH
12.0 miles, Easy | A unique lakeside rail trail where historic motorized railroad handcars still run today. Pay heed to our warnings about trail/rail crossings and you'll find this to be one of the best rail trails in the state.
investigating the Sulphite Upside Down Bridge near Franklin, NH Winnipesaukee River Rail Trail 4★
Franklin-Tilton, NH
4.9 miles, Easy | This mostly hard-pack trail follows the spectacular Winnipesaukee River between the mill towns of Franklin and Tilton.
Cyclists by Lake Winnisquam. Lake Winnisquam & WOW Rail Trails 4★
Laconia-Belmont, NH
4.2 miles, Easy | Popular paved trail on the Southern shores of Lake Winnesquam provides a scenic and varied tour.
riding over the Rail Trail Covered Bridge Village Spur Rail Trail 4★
Belmont, NH
2.1 miles, Easy | This wide grassy trail passes wetlands, pastures and woodland. Features two separate covered bridges en route.

Trail Map
    3★  4★  5★  ExpandMap 

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Best hiking trails and rail trails of New Hampshire
Best Trails of New Hampshire
See our favorite hiking trails and rail trails for each region of New Hampshire.

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Rail Trail Map of New Hampshire
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Trailspotting's New Hampshire Covered Bridge Map and List
Covered Bridges of New Hampshire
Maps, directions and links for all New Hampshire's covered bridges.
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