DO NOT SWIM! Vermont waters are currently unsafe. Due to significant rain and flooding in most of Vermont on July 10th, with rains continuing on July 11th, currents are very strong. Also, most rivers are filled with debris, effluent, chemicals, fertilizers, etc. and are unsafe for swimming.

Bolton Potholes

Bolton, Vermont

Joiner Brook. Use EXTREME CAUTION swimming here.

Swimming Hole
Swimming Hole
Swimming Hole
Swimming Hole
Fishing Area
Fishing Area
Sometimes a dangerous torrent, other times a calm place to splash, please use extreme caution when swimming here and be respectful of nearby neighbors.
Dogs not allowed
Dogs not allowed
Danger, use caution
Danger, use caution
Danger, drowning
Danger, risk of drowning
Danger, falling
Danger, risk of falling
! Special considerations:

At least 7 people have died at Bolton Potholes. DO NOT swim if there is foamy water.

Avoid swimming for at least 48-hours after a heavy rain.

Dangerous rocks and outcroppings are extremely slippery when wet.

If there is a strong current or frothy water, DO NOT go in.

  • Public access: Yes
  • Activities: swimming (with caution!), fishing, photography
  • Caretaker: Vermont River Conservancy
Bolton Potholes Bolton, Vermont Joiner Brook. Use EXTREME CAUTION swimming here.

Bolton Potholes

With its spectacular round “pothole” bathing pools, natural waterslides, and cascading pools, it’s no wonder that Bolton Potholes is one of the most popular swimming holes in Vermont. It’s also one of the most dangerous.

At least 7 people have died at Bolton Potholes. All known drownings have been in the “Eagle’s Eye” pool (the small “pothole” below the uppermost pool), where swift currents aerate the surface causing foamy, bubbly water. No person, even the strongest swimmers, can float in aerated water. DO NOT swim if the water looks frothy or foamy.

Public access on this private land is a privilege. Please be respectful of the nearby elementary school and neighbors. Loud music, drinking, and smoking are not allowed, and could jeopardize future public access for all.

There is currently NO PARKING to access Bolton Potholes. See the “Directions” tab above for more details.

NEVER jump or swim in the Eagle’s Eye pool (the small “pothole” below the uppermost pool). The water in this pool is highly aerated. Aerated water makes it IMPOSSIBLE for even the strongest swimmers to float or swim.

Conservation Details

  • River: Joiner Brook. Use EXTREME CAUTION swimming here.
  • Acreage: 5.95
  • River frontage (ft): 1,006

Funding Partners

This project made possible thanks to the support and partnership of:

  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

Before You Go

The unique, deep potholes can create deadly water currents. When the surface of the potholes looks foamy or frothy, DO NOT go in. Fast currents mix with air in the potholes, creating more than 6 feet of “foam” above the water. No person, even the strongest swimmer, can float in air-filled, foamy water.

Please consider other locations for safer swimming options.

If you do visit, help respect elementary students and local neighbors, and keep the river clean: don’t bring glass containers, pack out all trash, and leave your dog at home. Loud music, drinking, and smoking are not allowed.

There are no bathrooms here. Please plan ahead.

Directions

There is NO PARKING to access Bolton Potholes. Access to the Bolton Potholes is currently by foot or bicycle only.

Parking is NOT allowed at the Smilie Memorial Elementary School.

Parking is NOT permitted along U.S. Route 2 per state statute.

Per Town of Bolton Parking Ordinance parking is prohibited:

    • On either side of Bolton Valley Access Road from the intersection of Bolton Valley Access Road and U.S. Route 2 north for two miles measured along Bolton Valley Access Road.
    • Parking on Curtis Lane shall be allowed only for residents who reside on Curtis Lane and their approved guests.
    • Any vehicle parked in violation of the provisions of this Article may be summarily removed at the owner’s expense, by order of any law enforcement officer, the highway foreman, the highway superintendent, any selectboard member, the fire chief, or the town constable. 

Find other nearby, safer swimming holes with parking.

Please respect local and state parking regulations and plan accordingly.