Cheltenham Badlands

Cheltenham Badlands

The Cheltenham Badlands, an Ontario geological gem, originated around 450 million years ago at the bed of an ancient sea. Between 1850 and 1950, European settlers cleared the area for homesteads, leading to soil erosion and the distinct Queenston shale formations.

The removal of trees and early farming caused rapid erosion of the shale, creating the iconic ridge and gully landscape now recognized as the Cheltenham Badlands.

This 36-hectare site has been preserved as a natural heritage landmark, drawing visitors from around the world to view its striking geological features.

Close-up photo of dry, clay-rich terrain known as badlands.

Cheltenham Badlands

How to get to Cheltenham Badlands

Location: 1739 Olde Base Line Road, Caledon

By car: The Cheltenham Badlands is located in Caledon, southeast of the Olde Base Line Road, between Chinguacousy Road and Creditview Road. The best way to get there is by car. A paid parking lot is located close to the entrance of the trail. Reservations are required

Know before you go

While physical access onto the Cheltenham Badlands is no longer possible, as foot traffic accounts for up to 10% of its annual sediment loss and shale erosion, you can still view them from boardwalks and trails surrounding the area.

The Cheltenham Badlands is open seasonally from May to October. Check the website for information and hours before you visit.

Things to do at Cheltenham Badlands

Discover more activities and experiences.

Explore a natural landmark

Follow interpretive signs to guide you along the Badlands’ unique formations. The landscape features iron-rich Queenston Shale, creating its distinctive reddish-brown terrain.

Stroll the boardwalk

The 600-metre boardwalk provides the best views of the Cheltenham Badlands. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Visitors are advised to remain on the platform at all times.

Spend time in nature

The Cheltenham Badlands Trail is a short 300-metre trail that connects the Bruce Trail to the viewing platform. It takes you through a slow-growing forest adjacent to the Badlands.

Hike an iconic trail network

Visitors can enjoy a full, uninterrupted view of the Cheltenham Badlands while walking along the 1,500-metre portion of the Bruce Trail. This is also a great spot to take photographs.

Connect with animals

Take your dog on a walk through the Badlands. Alternatively, bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for over 260 different species of birds that fly around this diverse habitat.

Aerial view of the Cheltenham Badlands
Cheltenham Badlands | York, Durham and Headwaters

Interesting facts about Cheltenham Badlands

The Cheltenham Badlands is a provincially significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and part of an area designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

The ancestors of the Mississaugas of the Credit came to the Cheltenham Badlands to hunt, fish and forage. Living in small villages on the river flats, they practiced horticulture and stewarded the Cheltenham Badlands for many generations.

Today, about twenty percent of the land showcases badlands, alongside mature forests and wetlands.

Accessibility Features

Accessible drop-off location

Passenger drop-off is available by an  accessible entrance. 

Accessible entrances/exits

A sufficiently wide, hard surfaced,  unobstructed path, no steps or equipped  with ramp connecting to a public  entrance or exit and identified by signage.  Automatic door openers, adequate  manoeuvring room in front of door.

Accessible parking

At least one identified, reserved parking  space with a safe, clearly marked  accessible route from the designated  parking area to an accessible building  entrance.

Accessible recreation trails

One or more accessible trails with firm  and stable surface. All slopes, ramps,  handrails, boardwalks and signage  comply with the technical requirements  of Ontario's accessibility laws.

Accessible washroom

An accessible washroom stall has  adequate manoeuvring room for mobility  devices. Includes grab bars, transfer  space, accessible door latch, sink with  knee clearance, and lever handles or  automatic sensor faucets. 

Information available in alternative format

Accessible formats (e.g. for menus,  brochures, etc) and communication  supports are provided in a timely manner  upon request at no extra charge in  consultation with the person making the  request.

Service animals welcome

Service animal can be identified by visual  indicators (guide dog or other animal  wearing a vest/harness); or  documentation available from a  regulated health professional to confirm  the animal is required due to a disability. 

Support persons welcome

Support persons are welcome to provide  services or assistance with  communication, mobility, personal care,  medical needs or access to facilities.  Please check with the organization about  entry fees, if applicable.

Universal washroom

Separate, individual washroom with  adequate manoeuvring room for mobility  devices. Includes grab bars, transfer  space, accessible door latch, accessible  sink with knee clearance, easy-to-use  faucets and adult change table. 

Wheelchair accessible

Unobstructed path through public  hallways that are wide enough to allow  people using wheelchairs and other  mobility devices to move easily through  the building. 

Last updated: April 24, 2024

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