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


Although the Lake Berryessa hole may look like a spiraling tunnel that leads to certain death, 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 drain for the Monticello Dam in Napa Valley, California. The dam itself can hold 526 billion gallons of water before it overflows. After heavy rainfall, this can be concerning to the thousands of residents nearby. Fortunately, the Lake Berryessa spillway transports excess water 2,000 feet into nearby Putah Creek to avoid any potential flooding disasters.  


Measuring at approximately 72 feet wide and 245 feet long, the spillway attracts many onlookers when in action. 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, as powerful as it looks, the spillway probably wouldn’t pull you down to the netherworld if for some reason you found yourself in the lake. Although it could still be dangerous (and there are safety barriers and buoys to keep people away), you could probably swim away from the current. “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!