Bolton Lakes, Connecticut, USA

Also known as:  Bolton Lake, Upper Bolton Lake, Middle Bolton Lake, Lower Bolton Lake

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Bolton Lakes — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Bolton Lakes cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Bolton Lakes

Bolton Lakes is conveniently located in Connecticut’s Tolland County, just 14 miles east of the state’s capital city of Hartford. The series of three freshwater lakes are individually known as the Lower, Middle, and Upper Bolton Lakes. Connected by a dam and spillway, they are situated in the heart of the Constitution State’s River Valley tourism region.

With a surface area of 175 acres and an average depth of 11 feet, Lower Bolton Lake is by far the biggest and busiest of the trio. Adored by anglers, boatsmen, and nature enthusiasts alike, the lake features varied real estate properties and vacation rentals as a direct result of its popularity. Highlights include a public beach and a state-run boat launch. Lower Bolton Lake Dam is located on the southeast corner of the reservoir, near Indian Notch Park — about 2/3 of a mile south of Upper Bolton Lake Dam. This earth embankment is an impressive 880 feet long and 18.5 feet high, with a 200-foot concrete spillway and a maximum storage capacity of 2,325 acre-feet. Due to damage wrought by a hurricane in 1938, the dam is not in top form, but can still control water levels for recreational purposes.

Middle Bolton Lake is similar to Lower Bolton, but on a slightly smaller scale: it boasts a surface area of 121 acres, a maximum depth of 20 feet, and an average depth of 12 feet. Upper Bolton Lake Dam, a structure composed of both concrete and earth, is located on the southern side of this artificial impoundment. Real estate and vacation rentals can be found along most of the shoreline of Middle Bolton.

Upper Bolton Lake is the smallest of the three Bolton Lakes, with a surface area of of 50 acres. It feeds runoff into Middle Bolton Lake via a spillway underneath a country road, and offers one state-owned boat ramp for public access. With an average depth of three feet and a maximum depth of 7.5 feet, the body of water is not quite as ideal for boating and water sports as its southern neighbors — a six horsepower engine limit is in place for all watercraft. Surrounded mostly by marsh, Upper Bolton lacks any significant lakeside developments.

Kayaking, sailing, canoeing, swimming, and year-round fishing are just a handful of the many activities that Bolton Lakes has to offer. Here, the most commonly caught species include catfish, panfish, perch, sunfish and largemouth bass. Ice fishing for bass is hugely popular during the winter months, and come spring the Bolton Lake Sailing Club hosts a Sunfish sailboat racing regatta. Softball and baseball yoga and bingo provide other interesting diversions, along with a youth summer camp. For mountain biking and hiking, the best trek in the area is a section of the Hop River State Park Trail that picks up in Bolton and finishes in Columbia. This six-mile portion of trail is quite tough, as it follows an old railroad track along extremely rugged terrain.

Just south of Bolton Lake, you’ll find the historic Town of Bolton — a charming municipality that was incorporated back in 1720, having previously been a part of Hartford. Many of the first pilgrims to migrate here in the early 1600s were from an English city also known as Bolton, after which this New England town was named. Throughout the years, Bolton residents played instrumental roles in the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. Before the arrival of European settlers, the lands were used as hunting grounds by the Podunk Native Americans.

Today, the town owns and operates three parks around Bolton Lakes: Freja, Indian Notch, and Herrick. Freja Park consists of 21 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to Bolton Pond. Just next to Lower Bolton Lake, Indian Notch Park is made up of 27 acres of wooded areas and 300 feet of sandy beach, positively ideal for swimming and sunbathing. While an irresistible fresh food market draws crowds during the summer, amenities like grills, picnic areas, bathrooms, a basketball court and a baseball diamond attract groups and families year-round. Herrick Park is located farther south, featuring an impressive playground, picnic area, and a set of interchangeable soccer or baseball fields (depending upon the season). A man-made skating rink can also be enjoyed here during the wintertime, while the nearby community building is available for special events. A smattering of other parks and lakes situated near Bolton Lakes make for perfect day trips. To the south, Gay City State Park features 1500 acres of woodlands, a fishing pond, and a veritable ghost town that was abandoned during the area’s old milling days. Southeast, the sparkling Lake Coventry is surrounded by Nathan Hale State Forest, which was named after Connecticut state hero Nathan Hale, a revolutionary war patriot and spy for the Continental Army.

Bolton Lake’s isolation, tranquility, and stunning New England countryside make it a truly special place to live, rent or own a lakeside property. Here, it is impossible not to fall in love with the great outdoors — particularly during autumn, when millions of fire-red and orange leaves fall gracefully from the trees. The municipality of Bolton’s motto, “a town of all seasons,” certainly extends to Bolton Lakes, with their striking array of year-round recreation and peaceful scenery.

Things to Do at Bolton Lakes

  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Bolton Lakes

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Sunfish
divider

Find Places to Stay at Bolton Lakes

If you’re considering a Bolton Lakes lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Bolton Lakes Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Bolton Lakes lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Bolton Lakes Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection

Surface Area: 346 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 667 feet

Maximum Depth: 20 feet

Drainage Area: 4 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Bolton Lakes Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

SHOP NOW
Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

SHOP NOW
Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz

SHOP NOW
VIEW ALL CUSTOM LAKE PRODUCTS

Advertise Your Bolton Lakes Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.

divider

Looking for the Bolton Lakes Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Bolton Lakes Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Bolton Lakes article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!