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Bolton Lakes in Connecticut

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

The Bolton Lakes is a chain of three lakes - Lower, Middle and Upper. Very short and easy portages are required to move from lake to lake. The three lakes go together nicely as a canoeing day trip with easy portages and a bit of wild country if one gets into the upper lake.

Lower Bolton is just under a mile long and just over a half mile wide with a developed shore line for the most part.

It is separated from Middle Bolton by an earthen dam which can be portaged (75 yards) on the west end, or near the spillway, which is a 2 ft. high lowhead dam.

Middle Bolton is about the same length as lower and less than a half mile wide. Most but not all of the shore line is developed. Middle Bolton is separated from Upper by a lightly traveled 2 lane road. It is an easy portage.

Upper Bolton is also about the same length as the others, but narrower. It is about 2 ft. deep everywhere and will develop a healthy crop of lily pads as summer comes on. In May, it was still easy paddling. But, the lakeshore is undeveloped and few houses can be seen at all from the lake.

The north end of the lake peters out into a cedar swamp, which has several narrow channels that are canoeable and worth exploring, if you like that sort of thing...I do. Upper Bolton has a nice backwoods feel to it.
View a previous report on Upper Bolton.


There is a free state launch at the south end of Lower Bolton Lake with parking space for 2 or 3 dozen cars, and a much smaller free state launch between Upper and Middle Bolton Lakes (also where you portage from one to the other). Lower Bolton launch has sani-cans.




Lower Bolton Lake is 15 miles east of Hartford, CT at the end of Interstate 384, not far past where becomes the Boston Turnpike. The launch is clearly marked and is very easy to find.


See links in report to the Launch Site Map


Connecticut DEEP (Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection...the parks people)

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location