Cheltenham Badlands

Featuring rust red undulating 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 is a landscape of rolling red rock 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 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. 

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

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

Some things to do may not be available due to COVID-19.

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More about Cheltenham Badlands

Visitors can enjoy a full view of the Cheltenham Badlands while along 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. Learn more about the Badlands through new interpretative signage located along the trails and enjoy the renowned Caledon scenery framing the trails and Badlands. 

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 picturesque waterfalls, hanging bridges and stunning foliage at Belfountain Conservation Area. Sample the tastiest of Caledon’s ciders at Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. 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.

Last updated: January 4, 2022

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