Cheltenham Badlands in Caledon

Cheltenham Badlands has transitioned to a controlled tourist destination like many before it, where we were once able to get very up close.

I’m thinking Wasaga Beach, cars would be parked at the waters edge.

How convenient was that!

The Scarborough Bluffs, old photos show people sitting on the cliffs edge. 

What a great view!

And so, Cheltenham Badlands has changed. Up to 2015 we walked all over the site.  And like the other sites it has been determined we were damaging the environment.  The area we once walked on is fenced off.  No longer can we be traipsing all over everything, eroding the relatively soft, red shale surface.

Photos will show my visit on September 2019 and my earlier visit on September 2013.


All over everything like ants on a chocolate bar.

This impressive landscape was formed at the bottom of an ancient sea over 450 million years ago remaining covered by layers of various soil aggregates until the start of the 1900’s when the land was used for farming.


Badlands is the term used to describe the formation created after, in this case, farming and livestock grazing exposed the land where most if not all vegetation was striped from the surface resulting in soil erosion and later exposing the underlying shale.

The soft rock eventually became molded into this rolling landscape of rounded hills and gullies. Keeping people off the surface will encourage a return to its natural state and control soil run off.  Someday we might not easily see the sight due to re growth.  If you look a little beyond the fenced off area you can see red shale among the grasses, trees and the trail from the parking lot.

The reddish hue of the Queenston Shale formed from iron oxide in the shale accounts for the red colour. The narrow greenish bands that can be seen throughout the shale are due to the change of red iron oxide to green iron oxide created by groundwater percolation. The relatively soft shale is essentially clay and easily eroded by water.

Parking lot is located at 1739 Olde Base Line Road, Caledon Ontario, L7C 0K6

A little over 30 parking spots are available. $6.50 per hour. Pay at the machine. An hour seems to be enough time for most people.  Limited parking spaces are said to be a way to limit, control the amount of people at the site.  There is no room for street parking. Don’t even think about it. I went during the week, avoiding weekends.  Use the trail if you are able bodied.  You can walk uphill on the paved street from the parking lot. Be careful, it isn’t very wide.

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