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Lake Winnisquam is New Hampshire’s fourth largest lake, and taking the Lake Winnisquam Scenic Trail is one of the best ways to experience it. Meaning “pleasant waters,” Lake Winnisquam provides beautiful vistas of the water, mountains, and wildlife. The rail-trail, also known as the Winni Trail, opened in 2016 and is very well maintained, with clear signage for sharp turns through the woods. The length and shade make the trail ideal for runners and walkers.
Starting at the eastern trailhead located near the Leslie E. Roberts Beach and Recreation Area, you will find picnic tables, a playground, a restroom, and, of course, a place to dip your toes in the water. Fishing is allowed in the lake; license-free fishing days occur in January and June. At the junction of US 3/NH 11 and Business US 3, the trail connects to the southern trailhead of the 2.7-mile WOW Trail, which travels east toward Laconia and is perfect for cyclists.
The paved 1.8-mile rail-trail winds through lush forest, where you can enjoy the shade of dense, tall trees and the chatter of wildlife. The southwestern portion provides stunning views of the water and far-reaching corners of the lake. From this trailhead, the town of Belmont plans to connect to the 5.1-mile Winnipesaukee River Trail to the west toward Tilton and Franklin.
To reach the trail from I-93, take Exit 20 for US 3/SR 11 (toward NH 140/Tilton if coming from the south, or toward SR 132/E. Main St. if coming from the north). Turn left onto US 3N/SR 11 E/Laconia Road, following signs for Belmont/Laconia. See directions below depending on the trailhead you wish to reach.
To reach the eastern trailhead at the Leslie E. Roberts Beach and Recreation Area, follow US 3 N/SR 11 E/Laconia Road about 6.5 miles. Turn left onto Leslie Roberts Dr., just before US 3 N/SR 11 E becomes Bus. US 3 N, where the parking lot can be found less than 0.5 mile to the right.
To reach the western trailhead at Osborne’s Agway (a farm and garden supply store in Belmont), follow US 3N/SR 11 E/Laconia Road 5.1 miles. Turn left at Osborne’s Agway. A small trail parking lot with four spots is located immediately to the left of the entrance, on the southwest side of Osborne’s Agway, adjacent to the start of the trail.
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