BOLTON POTHOLES


Bolton, Vermont



RATING: 4.5 / 5.0 stars (Excellent) Bolton Potholes, Vermont (see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: Vermont
COUNTY: Chittenden County
TOWN: Bolton
PARK: n/a
PRIVATE PROPERTY: Unknown (most likely town-owned property)
TYPE: Plunges and cascades
HEIGHT: 45-foot total drop
WATER SOURCE: Joiner Brook
WATERSHED SIZE: Medium
TRAIL LENGTH: 0.2 mile
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Easy
HIKING TIME: 5 minutes
ALTITUDE GAIN: +75 feet
WHEN TO VISIT: May to October
SWIMMING: Outstanding
DELORME ATLAS: Page 45, K-14 (the falls are not marked on the VT atlas/map)
HANDICAP ACCESS: No
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes
COST TO VISIT: Free (as of 2016)
LENS TO BRING: Wide-angle (14-35mm), standard (35-70mm), and/or short telephoto (70-105mm); the falls are best shot from across the brook
ALTERNATE NAMES: The Potholes, Devil's Potholes, Devil's Falls
GPS COORDINATES: To be determined
INCLUDED IN BOOK?: Yes, the falls are included as a full chapter within the guidebook
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THE FALLS

This is the waterfall that fits everyone well: It is perfect for children, teens and adults alike. There are plenty of flat rock surfaces for picnickers and sunbathers, swimming pools and potholes for waders and swimmers, and a stunning set of waterfalls sure to please anyone.

Bolton Potholes, which is frequently called The Potholes or Devil's Potholes, consists of three sets of falls. The first plunge drops into a small, round pothole about 5 feet wide by 7 feet long. The second plunge, only feet downstream, drops into a near-perfectly-circular pothole about 25 feet in diameter and 8 or 10 feet at its deepest point. The lips of the surrounding cliff walls overhang slightly over the pool, allowing daring souls an opportunity to cliff jump. We have seen several people slip off this overhang and land in the pool below in unintended positions. The pool really isn't deep enough for safe jumping, so if you partake in this activity, you do so at your own risk.

Each of the two potholes is filled with the deep, emerald-green tinted water that is so common to Vermont swimming holes, yet still breathtaking every time on every visit. The third falls, a cascade about five feet tall, slips into a narrow river channel. Below these falls, the water calms as it enters a very large round pool that is perfect for younger children. Small sandy and pebble beaches line the riverbank, creating ideal conditions for a fun family-friendly environment

Although it is probably one of the coldest of Vermont's swimming holes, you are likely to see swimmers here from June until early September. On a recent 80-degree August afternoon, 100 people were seen swimming! Regardless of how crowded the Bolton Potholes can become, the potholes and falls here retain high scenic character and are highly recommended.

TRAIL INFORMATION

Trail information for this particular waterfall can be found in the latest edition of the guidebook: New England Waterfalls: 2nd Edition.

DIRECTIONS

Directions for this particular waterfall can be found in the latest edition of the guidebook: New England Waterfalls: 2nd Edition.

UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION

There is a *new* parking area at the base of Bolton Valley Rd. You can no longer park along Bolton Valley Rd, and you will get ticketed if you try to park there. As such, you will have to park somewhere downstream and then hike up the road a short distance to reach the falls on the right. If you find a great place to park, please send me an email so that I can update users of this website.

If you know of any updates to this waterfall, or notice any errors either on this website and/or within the New England Waterfalls guidebook, please send me an email at: gparsons66@hotmail.com

Updates to all of the waterfalls in the latest edition of the New England Waterfalls guidebook can always be found here: book updates

SPECIAL NOTES

None noted.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Bolton Potholes, Vermont
Bolton Potholes, Vermont

Bolton Potholes, Vermont
Bolton Potholes, Vermont

Bolton Potholes, Vermont
Bolton Potholes, Vermont

Bolton Potholes, Vermont
Bolton Potholes, Vermont

Bolton Potholes, Vermont
the middle falls and pool at Bolton Potholes, Vermont

Bolton Potholes, Vermont
the middle falls and pool at Bolton Potholes, Vermont

INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?

Our 376-page New England Waterfalls: 2nd Edition guidebook contains detailed information on over 400 waterfalls throughout New England. Click on the image below to read reviews and/or purchase the guidebook on Amazon.com.



New England Waterfalls

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TIPS FOR VISITING WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES

Here are some tips to help ensure that your trip to New England's waterfalls and swimming holes will be a safe and enjoyable one:
  • DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS - When you visit waterfalls, you should consider bringing all of the following: (a) bug spray; (b) food/snacks; (c) water/sports drinks; (d) camera/smart-phone; (e) guidebook/trail map; (f) daypack/backpack; and (g) hiking shoes, hiking boots or watershoes. A full day hiking packing list can be found here.
  • CONSIDER BUYING WATER SHOES - You won't see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment that can make your trip to waterfalls and swimming holes safer and more enjoyable. Merrill and Keen make some fantastic watershoes (here are some great ones from Merrill: womens / mens).
  • LEAVE NO TRACE - When you visit waterfalls and swimming holes, you'll often see some trash and sometimes you'll even find clothing left behind by others. It's really, really sad, and it irks the heck out of us. Won't you consider carrying out some of trash and clothing left by others when you leave? That would leave the spot more beautiful for the next person. Bring a trash bag and be a hero!
  • PRIVATE PROPERTY - Many waterfalls and swimming holes are located on private property and so we are truly fortunate that many landowners allow us to enjoy them. If you want to ensure that they stay open to the public, please do your best to leave no trace. If you see a sign that says 'Private Property', turn around and find another waterfall to visit or a different place to swim.
  • BRING A DSLR CAMERA AND TRIPOD WITH YOU - If you want to take high-quality photographs of waterfalls, your smart-phone just won't cut it. Get a DSLR camera, a tripod, and learn to master the art of waterfall photography.
  • SCOUT FIRST, SWIM SECOND - Never enter a swimming hole without first scouting it, even if you see somebody else swimming in it. Stop and access the risks based upon the depth of water, the power of the current, evidence of slippery rocks, and other safety factors.
  • CLIFF JUMPING - Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity. Many have died from doing this in New England.
  • PLEASE DON'T BUILD ROCK CAIRNS - Please do not build new rock cairns at waterfalls or swimming holes. Cairns are a strong reminder of human presence, and don't we all want to see waterfalls in their natural state and glory? Photographers get particularly annoyed at seeing cairns, so please resist the urge to build them.
  • DON'T RELY ON YOUR GPS TO GET YOU TO THE TRAILHEAD - Waterfalls don't have addresses, so relying on your GPS to get you to a trailhead is great way to get yourself lost. You need a guidebook, a road atlas, and/or a hiking map to visit the vast majority of waterfalls in New England. Also keep in mind that waterfalls are often located in wild areas, where smart-phone map apps and car GPS units may not work at all.
  • WATERFALLS IN SPRING - The best time to visit waterfalls is generally in the spring during the annual snowmelt (which is April to June). However, most waterfalls will often look great for several days after a significant rain storm.
  • HELP KEEP THE ULTRA-SECRET SWIMMING HOLES A SECRET (FOREVER) - If you find some ultra-secret swimming holes, please do your best to keep them a secret. Do not post their locations online or wildly share directions or photos with others. All of the swimming holes that are included in the guidebook and online through this website are the well-known swimming spots. There are many more holes that are much further off the beaten path, but they deserve a chance to stay wild and pristine.
  • DON'T SCRAMBLE UP WATERFALLS - So many people been seriously injured and killed in the waterfalls of New England. Many of these folks got too close to a waterfall and slipped and fell. Don't become a statistic: stay far back from the edge.
  • WEAR TRACTION IF YOU VISIT WATERFALLS IN WINTER - Visiting waterfalls in winter can be rewarding, but there is often a higher element of danger. You may need crampons, snowshoes, and/or some other form of traction (like Microspikes) in order to safely hike to waterfalls in winter.
  • SUPPORT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT CONSERVE WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES - There are some organizations in New England that work diligently to conserve and maintain waterfalls and swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with their trail maintenance projects or with monetary donations. Here are three excellent organizations engaged in this extremely important mission: the Trustees of Reservations, the Vermont River Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy.

HELPFUL LINKS

Here are some helpful links to help you explore and enjoy more waterfalls and hikes throughout New England:
  • Waterfalls of Connecticut = link
  • Waterfalls of Maine = link
  • Waterfalls of Massachusetts = link
  • Waterfalls of New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls of Rhode Island = link
  • Waterfalls of Vermont = link
  • Best Waterfalls in New England = link
  • Best Swimming Holes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Family-Friendly Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Waterfalls Near Boston, Massachusetts = link
  • Waterfalls Near Lincoln, New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls Near North Conway, New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls Near Stowe, Vermont = link
  • Waterfall Photography Tips = link

OTHER WATERFALL GUIDEBOOKS

In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes:
  • Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (2nd Edition: 1999) = link
  • Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
  • Rodrick's Guide to Vermont Waterfalls, Cascades & Gorges (1st Edition: 2014) = link
       

ASK A QUESTION / LEAVE A COMMENT / PROVIDE AN UPDATE:

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Waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking can be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of people have been injured or killed in the waterfalls and swimming holes of New England over the years. Never swim in strong water currents. Don't jump into a swimming hole without scouting it first. Do not climb up or along the side of waterfalls. Be weary of slippery rocks. Never swim in pools above waterfalls. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! Newenglandwaterfalls.com and the authors of the New England Waterfalls guidebook will not be held liable for your actions. Be safe out there - and always use common sense!