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he WOW Trail is named after the three bodies of water that can be seen from this rail-trail: Lake Winnipesaukee, Opechee Bay, and Lake Winnisquam. This picturesque 2.7-mile trail shares a corridor with the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad between Meredith and Lakeport. The trail will eventually stretch 9 miles between Laconia and Belmont. This urban path provides diverse experiences for users, offering the serenity of nature as well as the comforts of local restaurants and shops. The route runs through the heart of downtown Laconia and connects to the Lake Winnisquam Scenic Trail, also known as the Winni Trail, to the west.
Start your journey at the eastern trailhead in Laconia’s Lakeport neighborhood, where the first mile of trail runs along the banks of Opechee Bay to the right. Beautiful murals and public art brighten this section of the trail, and picnic tables are available if you want to stop and enjoy the view. After crossing over the bay, the next section runs through the heart of Laconia. In 0.5 mile from the bridge, you can’t miss the former Laconia B&M Railroad Station, on the left just after you cross Main Street. Although passenger service ended in 1965, you can find shops and restaurants inside, as well as parking.
The remaining 1.2 miles of trail follow Lake Winnisquam, delivering picturesque vistas of the water, mountains, and wildlife. About 0.75 mile from the railroad station, Bartlett Beach is another site worth seeing. Here, there are seasonal restrooms, a playground, a volleyball court, picnic facilities, and water access. Look for signs for local restaurants if you need a bite to eat. The remaining portion of the trail continues along the water, ending at the Leslie E. Roberts Beach and Recreation Area, which has water access, restrooms, and parking. Fishing is allowed at the lake, with license-free fishing days occurring in January and June.
Here, the WOW Trail connects to the northern endpoint of the Lake Winnisquam Scenic Trail, a 1.8-mile path that winds through additional lakefront and wooded areas. The town of Belmont plans to connect the Lake Winnisquam Scenic Trail to the 5.1-mile Winnipesaukee River Trail to the west, toward Tilton and Franklin.t
To reach the trail from I-93, take Exit 20 for US 3/SR 11 (toward SR 140/Tilton if coming from the south, or toward SR 132/E. Main St. if coming from the north). Turn left onto US 3 N/SR 11 E/Laconia Road, and go 6.5 miles, following signs for Belmont/Laconia. See directions below depending on the trailhead you wish to reach.
To reach the northeastern trailhead in Laconia, continue onto Bus. US 3 N 2.8 miles, then turn left onto Elm St. Take the first left onto Park St. to enter the parking lot. The trailhead is located near the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa.
To reach parking and a drop-off area for the trail at the former Laconia B&M Railroad Station, continue onto Bus. US 3 N 0.9 mile. Turn left onto Fair St., and go 0.4 mile. Make a slight right to continue onto New Salem St. for about 0.2 mile. The train station will appear to your right. Parking is available on either side of the station.
To reach the southwestern trailhead at the Leslie E. Roberts Beach and Recreation Area, turn left onto Leslie Roberts Dr. just before US 3 N/SR 11 E becomes Bus. US 3 N. The parking lot can be found less than 0.5 mile to the right.
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