The WOW Trail is a multi-use rail trail in the City of Laconia enjoyed by bikers, walkers and runners of all ages. Built within the State of New Hampshire owned railroad right-of-way alongside the active tracks currently leased to the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, the trail currently spans from Elm Street in Lakeport to downtown Laconia and then on to the Belmont town line where it meets with Belmont’s Winnisquam Scenic Trail, creating nearly 4.5 miles of continuous trail between Lakeport and Belmont.
The first phase of the WOW Trail, which opened in 2010, connects Lakeport and downtown Laconia. It offers access to the Laconia Public Library, views of Lake Opechee, and the Freighthouse Museum, where visitors can learn about the area’s railroad past and view historical artifacts.
The second phase of the WOW Trail opened in fall of 2016 and continues the trail from downtown Laconia’s train station, past Pitman’s Freight Room, and Laconia’s Bartlett Beach to the Belmont town line where it meets with Belmont’s Winnisquam Scenic Trail at Belmont’s Leslie Roberts Beach. This Belmont section winds through the woods and offers picturesque views of Lake Winnisquam. Together, Phases 1 & 2 of the WOW Trail and Belmont’s Winnisquam Scenic Trail offer users nearly 4.5 miles of continuous rail trail with wonderful opportunities to stop for a picnic, swim, or venture off the trail to shop and grab a snack or lunch at one of downtown Laconia’s many wonderful restaurants and shops along the way.
First conceptualized as the Lakes Region, NH Bikeway System in 1982 by the Lakes Region Planning Commission and the City of Laconia, the WOW Trail, Belmont’s Winnisquam Scenic Trail, Tilton/Franklin’s Winnipesaukee River Trail, the Weirs Action Committee, and the Greater Meredith Program are partners in a renewed regional trail effort that will one day transform the State of New Hampshire owned rail road corridor in the Lakes Region into a spectacular, year round public recreation space for residents and visitors to enjoy—ultimately connecting Meredith, Weirs Beach, Lakeport, Downtown Laconia, Belmont, Tilton & Franklin with NH’s Northern Rail Trail.
Parking & WOW Trail access: Convenient parking is found near the WOW Trail trailhead in Lakeport at the Lake Opechee Inn & Spa, downtown Laconia and Laconia’s Bartlett Beach. Additional parking and trail access is available at the Belmont town Beach within the Leslie Roberts Recreation Area and a limited number of designated parking spaces are also available adjacent the Belmont trailhead near Osborne’s Agway, just shy of the Mosquito Bridge in Belmont.