What Happens if you Get Too Close to the Lake Berryessa Hole?

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Imagine peering down into a bottomless spiraling pit. One false move and you could be knocking at death’s door. Sounds kind of scary, doesn’t it?  Although the Lake Berryessa hole may look like a death trap, its actual purpose could save many lives. Curious to learn what it’s all about? Keep reading to find out what happens if you get too close to the spillway.


What Exactly is the Lake Berryessa Hole?


According to National Geographic, the Lake Berryessa hole acts as a “giant drain” for the Monticello Dam in Napa Valley, California. It helps to prevent flooding disasters for the thousands of nearby residents when the lake reaches its maximum capacity after heavy rainfall. The Lake Berryessa spillway collects the overflowing water and transports it 2,000 feet into nearby Putah Creek.


Measuring at approximately 72 feet wide and 245 feet long, the spillway attracts many onlookers when in action (which is apparently not very often). Visitors can safely see it from the highway or even better by houseboat. Even when the water is below the lip of the concrete tunnel, it’s still a remarkable structure worth witnessing in person.


What Happens If I Get Too Close?


Per this New York Times article, you probably won’t get sucked down into the abyss if you get too close. Although there are dangers attached to swimming up near a spillway, there are plenty of safety barriers and buoys to keep curious onlookers at a safe distance. “It’s a lot of water, but not a lot of velocity,” said Kevin King, an operations manager at the Solano Irrigation District.

In our opinion, it's best to keep a safe distance from the Berryessa hole and admire it from afar. Luckily you can do just that when you rent a Forever Houseboat at Pleasure Cove Marina. Give us a call at 1-800-255-5561 or visit our website to start your reservation today!