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Lake Winnisquam & WOW Rail Trails, NH


• 4-star trail
• 4.2 miles each way
• Easy difficulty | Elevation gain nominal
• Lakes Region | Laconia - Belmont NH
• Driving Directions: South, Beach, Lakeport


Passing lake views at Bartlett Beach, on the WOW Trail.

Built on the Southern shores of Lake Winnesquam, threading through the town of Laconia and heading North along Opechee Bay, this route links two trails to become an excellent and varied tour through part of the scenic lakes region of New Hampshire.

Lake Winnisquam Scenic Trail (2.0 miles each way, mostly Easy) - From the small parking lot in Belmont the trail leads to the active tracks of the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad and follows them North on a rail-with-trail route. Proceeding along the state owned railroad right-of-way on paved trail gets us about half a mile before the trail takes a right turn and heads into lightly hilly woodland. The trail twists and turns through undulating terrain that wasn't much of a problem for our bicycles. In fact it was quite a fun and different diversion for this rail trail rider.

WOW Trail (2.2 miles each way, Easy) - After crossing the road to Belmont Town Beach the route transforms into the WOW trail, recognizable by the green dotted line down the middle of the paved trail, and named for the three lakes that it passes near. The trail rejoins the live railroad and runs alongside with more great views of Winnisquam Lake and Bartlett Beach.

Entering the town of Laconia, buildings obscure any views and you must continue parallel to the railroad, past the large station at the center of town and out towards Lakeport and Opechee Bay. Thankfully the route of the trail manages to avoid any road biking, mostly with dedicated trail but occasionally by co-opting a former sidewalk or two. Some views of the Bay can be spotted as you ride North towards what is currently the end of the trail at Lakeport. Just beyond and across the road is also the former station building of Lakeport, where many vacationers must have alighted on their way to their lake houses, back in the days of steam.

Asphalt, Live Rail.


Lake Winnisquam & WOW Rail Trails 4★
4.2 mi ea way, Easy, Elevation nominal.
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails
Trailspotting Map as GPX Download

As a family we enjoyed a fun out-and-back ride of this combined route, and would recommend it even more when combining with a visit to the beaches, the ice cream shop in Laconia or the miniature golf course located half a mile from the South end of the trail.

We've identified the best trail parking on our maps as usual. The South end has only three spots plus an ADA accessible space, whereas the North end at Lakeport has a ton of parking near the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa. More parking is available in marked spaces at Belmont and Bartlet beaches (only park in rail trail identified spots). Parking around Laconia station is limited to two hours, but some neighborhood streets a little further out have no such restrictions.

Plans are under development to add more rail-with-trail heading Southwest towards Tilton where you can pick up the Winnipesaukee River Trail. There are also further plans to extend the WOW trail North to Wiers Beach and Lake Winnipesaukee. We've provided a link to these organizations below if you want to learn how you can help with the expansions.

Trail Conditions
Asphalt throughout, some repurposed sidewalk. WOW trail (East) is a 2.2 mi flat trail. Lake Winnisquam trail (West) is 2.0 mi with 150ft of easy/moderate hills.


"Rails with Trails" allows for a multitude of trail use.




Winding woodland trail on the Lake Winnisquam Scenic Trail.


Catch the Hobo Railroad scenic railroad excursion from Laconia Station.

Tangents:
• External Links: Public Map at AllTrails
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

NH Rail Trails Map
We've published New Hampshire’s first complete rail trail map, including links and details for all rideable trails.

The WOW Trail
The Winnisquam-Opechee-Winnipesaukee Trail needs your support for trail maintainance and future expansion plans.
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