You won’t believe your eyes when you first see the Cheltenham Badlands in Caledon. It’s just north of Brampton, or 30 minutes from Toronto, but you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another country (or even planet). For us, the size, shape and colour of this naturally-formed attraction is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, especially in southern Ontario.
The Badlands are the result of outdated farming practices that caused erosion of the soil, eventually exposing the Queenston Shale underneath. The reddish-colour of the shale comes from the iron mineral that is naturally occurring in the soil, and the grey streaks originate from groundwater that would leach into the area and leave different minerals behind.
We recorded a video for our YouTube Channel which includes an alternative, stress-free way to enjoy The Badlands (there’s more about this further in the post so keep reading).
If you liked this video then remember to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to view all our videos! If you have comments about Tony’s singing, please leave them below – let him know how you REALLY feel – before he considers quitting his day job!
FREE to view The Badlands however paid parking is in effect. These parking fees go towards the maintenance and conservation efforts so your dollars are needed and appreciated.
If you call the Greater Toronto Area home then The Badlands, located in Caledon, are more or less an hour away which means it a great day-trip destination. The closest major intersections are Creditview Rd & Old Base Line Rd. We often visit this area known as the Headwaters.
If you previously visited, prior to 2018, then you most likely stood, walked along or rode your bike on The Badlands. You’re no longer allowed to do these things today because those walks and bike rides caused further erosion and damage which led the Ontario Heritage Trust and Credit Valley Conservation to close the site for three years while a redesign of the area was completed.
The redesign brought LOTS of change to the area. Firstly, a viewing platform was constructed to allow the public to view, but at the same time, keep themselves off the sensitive eroding face of The Badlands. The second is the nearby parking lot with a limited amount of parking and portable toilets. The third is the redesign of the road itself. In the past, everyone used to park on the side of the road (Old Baseline Rd) and walk over to the Badlands. This was problematic because the steep inclines & declines were a major safety concern as cars were not able to see pedestrians walking across the road. The construction completely eliminated the shoulder from the roadway. There are now steel guardrails to make sure no one tries to pull over and park.
The parking lot is limited at only 33 spots. These 33 spots can fill up very quickly especially when a 1000+ people descend on The Badlands on weekends. The other option to driving is to take the free shuttle bus from nearby Terra Cotta Conservation Area (about a 10 minute drive). The shuttle bus is scheduled to make a return trip about every 30 minutes. While that helps relieve the congestion in the parking lot, we especially love the fact that it’s incredibly good value. The cost of entry into Terra Cotta includes access to all its trails & amenities and unlimited round-trip shuttle rides to The Badlands. We decided to really take advantage of the day and use the trails that the Badlands are connected to, which is the Bruce Trail, one of the longest trails in the world. It stretches from Niagara all the way to Tobermory – following the Niagara escarpment the whole way. We didn’t hike the whole thing – that’s over 900km!
We live close to several CVC parks, so we got a membership to ‘Conservation Parks’, which is both CVC and TRCA. This membership will get you into any of their parks for 1 year. The membership can also be used to waive the parking fee at the Badlands.
We HIGHLY recommend a visit to The Badlands so whether you drive there or take the bus from Terra Cotta Conservation Area we sincerely hope you enjoy your visit and remember to #BeGoodToTheBadlands.
Our visit was sponsored by Credit Valley Conservation however all opinions, recommendations & reviews are our own.
Have any photos or videos of your visit that you would like to share with us? Send them over to @LetsDiscoverON.