Your Guide to Seeing the Unique Bolton Potholes

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A group of friends walk above the lower Bolten Pothole in the Green Mountain National Forest.
Wesley Carr | CC BY 2.0 | Image via Flickr

It’s been a hot summer, and finding a place to cool off is number one on many people’s to-do lists. You’ll find the most refreshing spaces for swimming and outdoor fun in areas where locals frequent. If you love swimming holes and waterfalls, you’re in for a treat when you see what the Bolton Potholes offer.

Though the name suggests you might need to schedule work on your car after visiting, the reality is much more enjoyable. Check out what the Bolton Potholes are all about!

What Are the Bolton Potholes? 

The Bolton Potholes are not potholes on a road in need of repair, but deep plunge pools that hundreds of years of water flow carved in the rocks. There’s a series of small waterfalls that step into a pool on each level. 

At the bottom of the falls, there’s another more open swim area that offers a gradual incline for exiting the water. There are also rock cliffs to jump from if you feel adventurous. Broad, flat rock faces are ideal for sunbathing. 

Where Are the Bolton Potholes? 

The official address of the Bolton Potholes is 1 Bolton Valley Access Rd, Bolton, Vermont 05676.

From the south, you’ll want to take I-89, exit 10. Turn left off the exit onto VT-100 south. At the traffic circle, take the first exit onto US-2 W/N Main St. You’ll drive that road for around 6.6 miles, then turn right onto Bolton Valley Access Road. You can also pull into the Smilie School parking lot to park, with a marked trail leading to the potholes. 

If you’re coming from the north, take I-89 and exit 11. Turn right off the exit onto US-2 E. Follow that road for 8 miles, and you’ll turn left onto Bolton Valley Access Road.

How Deep Are the Bolton Potholes? 

There are two main “potholes” where you can jump or swim. There’s no official record on how deep they are, but the estimate is that the swimming holes are around 8 to 10 feet deep.

Swimming in these potholes is usually better suited for adults than small children. The bottom swimming area is best for young kids. 

Can You Swim in the Bolton Potholes? 

Yes, you can swim in the Bolton Potholes. That’s the primary reason people visit this serene spot!

However, the place is stunning whether you swim or not. Try visiting during the fall to get a different perspective on the spot.  

Where Else Can You Find Waterfalls in the Green Mountains? 

Green Mountain National Forest harbors many waterfalls of varying sizes. There are several guide books online to give you a little more information if you’re looking to plan a New England waterfall tour.

The land in that area is beautiful, and you should never limit yourself to one spot while exploring New England.

Traveler’s Tip: Where Is the Tallest Mountain in Vermont?

Where to Stay Near the Bolton Potholes 

You’ll need a warm, dry spot to return to when you’ve explored the Bolton Potholes, and there are many worthy accommodations in the area. Check out this brief list of suggestions to get started. 

The Old Stagecoach Inn

18 North Main Street, Waterbury, VT 05676

About: The Old Stagecoach Inn is an old Vermont-style bed and breakfast. If you want a cozy, homey feel to your stay, this is the place to go! There’s much history to discover about this bed and breakfast, and they even have a resident ghost. 

Amenities: The amenities for the Old Stagecoach Inn are pretty basic, but you get a delicious home-cooked breakfast every morning. You’ll have WiFi, free parking, and a bar/lounge area, but the actual amenities come when you explore what’s near the inn. 

Moose Meadow Lodge and Treehouse

607 Crossett Hill Waterbury, Vermont 05676

About: If you’re looking for a rustic log cabin feel, the Moose Meadow Lodge has it all. The main lodge is a vast log cabin of local trees with a raw material aesthetic. It’s not a treehouse, but there is a house on the property that is in the trees.

The “treehouse” part of the lodge is by a small pond that makes a gorgeous and peaceful setting. They even offer wedding packages for couples looking to tie the knot on the property. 

Amenities: The amenities of this location come with the land. The seclusion from the hustle and bustle of the business world and the scenic nature attract visitors’ attention. 

Gold Brook Campground

1900 Waterbury Rd, Stowe, Vermont 05672

About: Gold Brook Campground is an excellent place to stop if you’re traveling in your family RV or camper. The campground has various shore power hookups and around 80 lots. You’ll likely have ample room to enjoy your spot once you park. 

Amenities: The campground has everything you need to enjoy your stay. There’s a swimming pool, a basketball court, a playground, restrooms, showers, a laundry room, wood and ice pickup, a dumping station, and even trash recycling. 

Are the Bolton Potholes Worth Visiting? 

If you enjoy natural beauty and swimming, the Bolton Potholes are worth a visit. You could structure an entire vacation around exploring the surrounding areas of Vermont. Even if you only want to add the Bolton Potholes to an already bustling itinerary, they make for a good day trip. 

When were you planning on exploring what Vermont offers? 

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