Bolton failed to extend their three-point gap over Everton after a closely contested draw at the Reebok.
Vaughan strokes past Jussi Jaaskelainen for the equaliser
Bolton went ahead through a Kevin Davies volley after Joleon Lescott had kept the striker onside from Ivan Campo's chipped free-kick.
Teenager James Vaughan drew Everton level, calmly slotting home after a mix-up in the Wanderers defence.
Both sides pressed for a winner but a lack of quality in the final third ensured the points were shared.
With both sides locked in battle for a European spot, the draw would have favoured neither side as fourth-placed Arsenal were held to a 0-0 draw at Newcastle.
Bolton started the brighter by pressing and hurrying Everton in the early stages, putting the visitors on the back foot from the first whistle.
And Wanderers' immediate ambition was rewarded on 17 minutes when a moment of criminal, but comical defending from Lescott handed Bolton the lead with their first meaningful attack.
As the rest of the Everton defence raced out of their box, trying to catch four Bolton attackers offside, Lescott remained rooted to the spot leaving the unmarked Davies to chest down Campo's free-kick and rifle home a volley.
The Everton defence were left fuming at the left-back who totally misread the tactic.
But Bolton failed to build on their early gift and were punished on 33 minutes by 18-year-old Vaughan who took advantage of hesitant defending to slot underneath Jaaskelainen.
There was an element of fortune about the equaliser as the ball ricocheted neatly into Vaughan's path, but the young striker kept his cool inside the box to hand the visitors an unlikely leveller.
The goal settled the Toffees down and encouraged Leon Osman and Mikel Arteta to get on the ball and pull the strings from the middle of the park.
And the half ended with the visitors in the ascendancy with Andrew Johnson testing Jussi Jaaskelainen with a fierce low drive shortly before the break.
Bolton started the second half in the same fashion they did the first and dominated possession without seriously troubling Tim Howard.
Abdoulaye Meite wasted a close-range header after a fine run and cross from Nicolas Anelka, while at the other end, Bolton survived a flurry of shots in a goalmouth scramble.
Everton's most lively attacker Vaughan was forced off midway into the second half after coming off worse in an innocuous challenge with Meite. The striker went down clutching his knee with James Beattie thrown on in his place.
But chances were few and far between and neither side found the quality in the final third to see of their opponents.
A frantic end-to-end finale threatened to produce a winner, but stubborn and tireless defending ensured the game ended all square.
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce:
"Speed got an elbow and the ref saw it and let play go on. That frustrated the players to the fact that we had to calm them down at half-time.
"The referee didn't do as well as he should have done and everyone on both sides has been left frustrated by him."
Everton manager David Moyes:
"The referee didn't do as well as he should have done and everyone on both sides has been left frustrated by him.
"I was pleased with the players as to come to Bolton and get a point is a difficult.
"Bolton started better, but we were better than them in the second half and I'm pleased we showed character to come back from a goal down.
"But the one thing you don't do is gift them Bolton a really soft goal and that is what we have done so from that point of view it is very disappointing."
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Meite, Faye, Gardner, Teymourian (Thompson 90), Campo, Speed, Davies, Anelka, Diouf (Giannakopoulos 87).
Subs Not Used: Walker, Tal, Martin.
Booked: Speed, Faye, Campo.
Goals: Davies 18.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Lescott, Arteta, Neville, Carsley, Osman, Johnson, Vaughan (Beattie 62).
Subs Not Used: Wright, Naysmith, McFadden, Anderson.
Goals: Vaughan 33.
Ref: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).