Scenic Drives - Lakes Region Tour
Lakes Region Tour
Distance: 97 miles
Highlights: Views of Lakes, Mountains and Villages; The Region’s Largest City and Year-round Recreation.
ALTON TO GILFORD. Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest and most popular lake in New Hampshire and certainly one of the most scenic. Beginning in Alton, at the southern gateway to the Lakes Region, the route follows NH 11 north through Alton Bay up through Gilford. The Alton area became one of the earliest tourist destinations around the lake with the arrival of rail in the later half of the 19th century. This western side of the lake shows off exceptional views of the lake and Ossipee Range and offers many different recreational opportunities. Take a hike up to the summit of Mt. Major for wonderful sights of the Lake and surrounding mountain ranges or stop in at Ellacoya State Park for a picnic or a swim.
LACONIA TO MEREDITH. Weirs Beach, with its amusement parks, arcades, and shopping, is one of the most popular family resort areas in the state. This area of the Lakes Region Tour is always bustling with activity. A few miles to the north, view scenic gateways to Meredith‘s traditional New England village with a panorama of Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains. Meredith is also a visitor hub and a crossroads for the Byway. Continue north towards Holderness for beautiful views of Squam Lake and the Rattlesnake Range or head east and continue the other half of the tour around Lake Winnipesaukee.
CENTER HARBOR TO MOULTONBOROUGH. Following the route clockwise, take Route 25 through Meredith and Center Harbor towards Moultonborough. Or for a less traveled route, take NH 25B from Meredith east to Center Harbor. This route winds through the hills north of Winnipesaukee and is a less traveled alternative to Route 25. Downtown Center Harbor, near the convergence of NH 25 and 25B, is a quaint town on the north edge of Winnipesaukee. This area has retained much of its charm and offers great views to the south. The eastern side of Winnipesaukee is not as developed as the western side, and as you continue through Moultonborough and onto The Lakes Region offers something for everyone including boating, hiking, fishing, shopping and much more. The Lakes Tour circles New Hampshire’s largest lake, Lake Winnipesaukee and offers tremendous views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Tuftonboro, the landscape becomes more rural.
TUFTONBORO TO WOLFEBORO. Heading back around towards Alton you will pass the site of the Wentworth Estate and the Libby Museum. John Wentworth, the last royal governor of New Hampshire, envisioned four key routes necessary for the economic development of his province. One of these was to run from his summer estate in Wolfeboro to the new Dartmouth College in Hanover. Wentworth saw an east-west road as a necessity to prevent the loss of revenue from goods produced in New Hampshire’s Coos region (in the north) which traveled south to Connecticut (by river) given the absence of roads. The eastern leg, from Wolfeboro to the Pemigewasset River in Holderness, was cut out for horse travel in 1771-1773. This ancient route coincides closely with sections of the Lakes Region Tour. In fact, portions of it now in use in Wolfeboro, Center Harbor and Holderness are still named “College Road.”
REGIONAL CONTACT: Lakes Region Association, 603-286-8008 or www.lakesregion.org
SPECIAL THANKS TO: NH Office of State Planning, Scenic and Cultural Byways Program 2 1/2 Beacon Street, Concord, NH 03301 (603) 271-2155 www.state.nh.us/osp/scenicbyways.htm