Bristol Falls, also known as Bartlett Falls, is a beautiful 14-foot waterfall with a swimming hole located on the New Haven River in Bristol. Parking is located along Lincoln Road. Both the falls and the swimming hole are popular with the locals. There are trails leading to the cliffs next to the falls where people cliff jump from approximately 20 to 30 feet, and there is a rope swing as well. There is a trail leading to the right, where there is river access and shallow water that is perfect for younger children. Strong swimmers can access the opposite side of the river and the base of the falls. There is a cave behind the falls that is accessible on the opposite side of the river from the road; note that the rocks here are slippery, so good shoes are handy and caution is recommended.
Circle Current is located above Bristol Falls on the New Haven River and is another popular spot. There is parking located along Lincoln Road just up the road from Bristol Falls. The waterfall is perfect as a waterslide when the river is low, but it has a fast current when levels are high. The current is stronger at Circle Current than it is at Bristol Falls, so please use caution. Also, note that there are no restroom or trash facilities at either Circle Current or Bristol Falls, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.
Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.