Cheltenham Badlands

Explore the Cheltenham Badlands, a Martian-like landscape in Southern Ontario. Featuring unique bright red topography, the Cheltenham Badlands is part of an area designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and it plays a vital role in geographical conservation. 

The Cheltenham Badlands are located in Caledon, southeast of the Olde Base Line Road, in between Chinguacousy Road and Creditview Road. 

The Cheltenham Badlands is a landscape of rolling red hills made up of highly eroded and exposed Queenston Shale. Resulting from poor farming practices by settlers in the 1930s, the red hills were slowly revealed as the elements wore away the vegetation over the years. The bright red color is due to a high concentration of iron oxide, while the greenish streaks are a result of groundwater oxidizing the red rock. 

While physical access onto the Cheltenham Badlands is no longer possible (foot traffic accounts for up to 10% of its annual sediment loss and shale erosion), you can still view them from the many boardwalks and trails surrounding the area. The exposed geological processes displayed by the Badlands makes it a popular educational site for geology enthusiasts and tourists alike. 

For up-to-date information and details on the Cheltenham Badlands, we recommend that you visit its website. To learn more about the Cheltenham Badlands or find other places to explore nearby, keep on reading to see what Destination Ontario has in store for you. 

Badlands. Slopes of red clay

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More about Cheltenham Badlands

Visitors can enjoy a full view of the Cheltenham Badlands while traversing the 1,330-metre portion of the Bruce Trail, or the shorter 325-metre Badlands Trail. The Bruce Trail traverses the path between Creditview Road and the Badlands parking area on Olde Base Line Road, while the Badlands Trail connects it to the popular shale feature. Visitors can learn more about the Badlands through new interpretative signages located all over the trails, or enjoy the renowned Caledon greenery framing the trails and Badlands all year-round. 

Make the Cheltenham Badlands part of a fun-filled day trip in the great Caledonian outdoors. There are several conservation areas nearby that are under a 10-minute drive away! Visit the neighboring Terra Cotta Conservation Area, with its gorgeous lakes, forests, and nature trails or the Belfountain Conservation Area, with its picturesque waterfalls, hanging bridges and stunning foliage. Sample the tastiest of Caledon’s ciders at the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, which is a quick 4-minute drive away. Serving handcrafted artisan hard ciders as well as stone oven breads and pastries on their seasonal, locally-sourced menu, you can be sure to end your day of exploration with a happy fizzle–all while overlooking Caledon’s timeless scenery!