What is the WOW Trail?
The WOW Trail is a paved, 10 foot wide, 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 4.25 miles of continuous trail between Lakeport and Belmont’s Osborne’s Agway.
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.
Things To Know Before You Go
The WOW Trail is open to non-motorized activity. Electric wheelchairs are welcome. In the warmer months the trail is open for walking, running, biking, and in-line skating. The trail will be open for walking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, etc in winter.
Leashed pets are welcome but please pick up all pet waste! Bags and receptacles are provided at three locations along the trail.
Maps & Directions
We have created a map of the WOW Trail that shows parking areas, dining, lodging and other locations on or near the trail. The map is designed to print at 12 x 18, but if you select fit to page, the map will print nicely on your 8.5 x 11 paper. As you can see, the map is in color, but your printer settings will also allow you to print in grayscale (B&W). There is a cover document that will display as page two. You are welcome to print both pages or simply select page one (1) on your printer settings to only print the map portion. The file is a PDF.
You can also obtain a generalized map of Phase One at: TrailLink.com
Route 3/11 to Route 106 North into downtown Laconia. The trail begins behind the train station in the RR corridor adjacent to Laconia Public Library. From there, the trail follows the RR corridor for .2 miles, then crosses and follows Messer Street to Bisson Avenue as a widened sidewalk. At Messer Street and Bisson Avenue the trail re-enters the RR corridor for .7 miles. Trail ends once it reaches Elm Street in Lakeport.
Parking & Trail Access
Convenient parking is found near the WOW Trail trailhead in Lakeport at the Lake Opechee Inn & Spa, behind the train station in downtown Laconia and at 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.