One of Ontario’s most wonderful geological sites is officially open for the season. The Cheltenham Badlands is a sight worth seeing and here’s what to know.

You won’t have to travel far to enjoy this natural wonder as it’s right in Caledon – about a 50 minute drive from Toronto.

To get a great view of the land, you’ll have to take a walk down the boardwalk. It’s an accessible viewing platform that extends across a part of the Badlands in order to “ensure is protection”. But you MUST remain on the platform was walking on the Badlands is prohibited.

Another adventure is the Badlands trail which connected to the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath.

The first route takes you through a young forest habitat full of native trees and shrubs while the Bruce Trail connects and passes through the Badlands. It takes you through hawthorn, ash and apple trees and over a tributary of the Credit River.

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According to Ontario Heritage Trust, the badlands were first formed at the base of an ancient sea over 450 million years ago.

It’s known as “one of the most recognizable and visited natural heritage landmarks in southern Ontario.” There’s nothing else quite like it anywhere in the province and the history is just as fascinating.

It spans across 36 acres and were first occupied by Ancestors of the Mississaugas of the Credit for hunting, fishing, and foraging.

Then from around 1850 to 1950, the land was used by European settlers to grow crops and raise cattle.

Since the early 1900s, the “removal of trees and early farming practices caused the shallow topsoil to erode away, in turn exposing the underlying Queenston shale,” shares the Heritage Trust.

The erosion of the shale over time is what led to the badlands transforming into the desert-like landscape it is today, made up of rolling red rock with ridges and gullies.

Since The Cheltenham Badlands are at high risk of damage due to frequent public use, conservation work was performed to preserve the site and upgrade the surrounding trails.

The site is now open to the public by reservation, which you can book in advance online.

Entrance fees are charged per vehicle and most bookings are for 90 minutes. There are limited spots available for three-hour bookings.

  • Monday to Friday: $10 + HST for 90-minute visit
  • Weekends and holidays: $20 + HST for 90-minute visit
  • Monday to Friday: $18 + HST for three-hour visit
  • Weekends and holidays: $35 + HST for three-hour visit

Book your weekend trip ASAP.

The Cheltenham Badlands

Where: 1739 Olde Base Line Rd, Caledon