The Reds had appeared to be staring down the barrel of a first defeat of the season when Chris Eagles and Marvin Sordell scored on either side of the half-time after Lewis McGugan had drawn first blood in spectacular style.
But Andy Reid bagged an equaliser to earn Forest a second successive away day point and maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Things started brightly for Forest as McGugan fired them in front with a trademark goal from 25 yards out that silenced the vast majority of the 17,321 crowd.
But Bolton, widely tipped by many pundits to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, powered back into the contest.
Eagles levelled before half-time and, after Forest had survived a number of scares, Sordell raised the roof at The Reebok with the home side’s second.
Sean O’Driscoll named an unchanged starting line-up for Forest’s second away game in the space of four days.
There were changes on the bench, however, with Matt Derbyshire, Jonathan Greening and Jamaal Lascelles replacing Ishmael Miller, who earlier in the day had joined Middlesbrough on a season-long loan, Marcus Tudgay and Guy Moussi.
The game was less than 60 seconds old when Bolton skipper Kevin Davies was booked for a robust challenge on Dan Harding.
Forest settled quickest and former Leicester man Matt Mills came close to putting through his own net when trying to deal with a right-wing cross from Brendan Moloney.
And when Bolton failed to clear the resultant corner, McGugan forced home ‘keeper Adam Bogdan to make his first save of the night with a shot from just outside the area.
Dexter Blackstock fired straight at Bogdan after he had been picked out in space just inside the area by an incisive Andy Reid through ball.
But there was nothing the Bolton No.1 could do about McGugan’s 15th minute super strike that found the back of his net off the underside of the bar.
Boosted by McGugan’s moment of magic, The Reds went in search of a second but Simon Cox could only shoot straight at Bogdan after McGugan had turned provider.
Danny Collins showed cool composure to head behind while under pressure from Kevin Davies as Bolton mounted their first serious attack of the night. The Forest skipper clearly got the final touch but referee Dean Whitestone, already unpopular with the home crowd, awarded a goal kick.
Adlene Guedioura fired straight at Bogdan after bursting into the area as Forest looked to extend their advantage.
Instead, it was Bolton who bagged the game’s second goal six minutes before the break with Eagles rifling a shot past Camp after Kevin Davies had headed against the Forest ‘keeper’s left-hand upright.
A brilliant reflex safe by Camp just two minutes later kept the scores level as he palmed a powerful Marvin Sordell header from a Sam Ricketts cross over his bar.
Forest were given another scare before the break as Tyrone Mears outpaced Harding down the left before sending over a cross that Greg Halford got to ahead of Sordell.
The first half ended as it had started with a yellow card; Cox becoming the second Forest player to be booked after an earlier indiscretion by Reid.
The second period started in disastrous fashion for the visitors as Bolton, maintaining the momentum they had generated before the break, went in front.
Kevin Davies got the better of Halford on the left-hand side of the area and squared for an unmarked Sordell to apply the finishing touch with the aid of an upright.
It could have got a whole lot worse for O’Driscoll’s men moments later as Sordell wasted a golden opportunity to make it 3-1 by side-footing over, again from an unmarked position.
But Forest his back 12 minutes into the second as Reid capped a fine move with an equaliser in front of the 1,366 travelling Forest fans.
It started with Collins who played a superb ball forward; Blackstock flicked on to Cox, who found his fellow countryman Reid who created space for himself before curling home a shot off Bogdan’s right-hand post.
Guedioura survived calls for his dismissal from the home fans after a late challenge on Ricketts with the Algerian instead collecting a yellow card.
Keith Andrews headed straight at Camp from point-blank range, while an unmarked Kevin Davies volleyed over from a corner as Bolton strived to restore their lead.
Cox squandered a glorious opportunity to snatch all three points for O’Driscoll’s men eight minutes from time as he planted a back post header wide of the target from a right-wing corner that he had won with a burst into the area.
And the summer signing from West Brom was just inches away from getting on the end of a teasing cross from Simon Gillett as Forest ended the game powerfully.
Forest: Camp, Moloney, Halford, Collins (c), Harding, Gillett, Guedioura (Hutchinson 81'), McGugan (Greening 90'), Reid, Blackstock, Cox.
Subs: Evtimov (GK), Lascelles, McGoldrick, Derbyshire, Majewski.
Scorers: McGugan 15' Reid 57'
Bookings: Reid 33' Cox 45' Guedioura 64'
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Mills, Knight, Ricketts, Eagles, Andrews, M Davies, Lee, K Davies (c), Sordell (Afobe 68').
Subs: Lonergan (GK), Alonso, Ream, Petrov, Wylde, Vela.
Scorers: Eagles 39' Sordell 49'
Bookings: K. Davies 1', Mears 77'
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 17,321 (Away: 1,366)