The Ultimate Guide to the Cheltenham Badlands
Cheltenham Badlands, located between the Creditview and Chinguacousy Roads, lay on the south east of the Line Road in Caledon, Ontario in Canada. Established across an area of 0.4 sq km’s, this site is known for its geologic significance.
What makes the areaa popular tourist site is the quite clearly seen geologic processes resulting in a catchy red color, the unique topography, and the Queenston Shale which is highly eroded. This site boasts to be of extreme educational significance, provided the various sights and scientific processes it provides to the visitors at large.
This site has been named as one of the best examples of badlands topography, and is mentioned as one of the Provincial Earth Sciences Area of Natural and Scientific Interest.
Before moving on to all the things that you can do in Cheltenham Badlands, here is some handy information about what Badlands actually are.
What are Badlands?
Badlands are parts of land that are identified by dry terrains upon which soft sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have eroded extensively over a long period of time. This erosion causes the badlands to have minimal vegetation and become unsuitable to use for agriculture purposes. These patches of land also lack the substantial amount of regolith which is important for growth on land.
Furthermore, these Badlands contain the following characteristics;
- Minimal vegetation
- Steep slopes
- Lack of regolith
- A greater than usual density of drainage
Interesting Facts About Cheltenham Badlands
Cheltenham Badlands is one of the best examples of badlands topology in Canada. If you happen to be visiting Canada, this site of geologic importance is a must-visit. Not only does this site hold immense geologic importance, but it is also of great historic significance.
This site is an exposed part of the Queenston Formation, one geological formation from the Upper Ordovician age that outcrops in New York and Ontario in Canada in the US. This state of extreme exposure is as old as 420 million years.
As far as the possession of the Badlands property goes, it was listed down to be acquired by the protection program of natural areas in the year 1999. In the year 2000, it was purchased by the Natural Resources Ministry of Ontario. The site was then categorized under the System for Open Spaces and the Niagara Escapement Parks.
One of the many facts to know about this site, provided that it holds immense historic and geologic significance, is that its ownership was handed over to the Heritage Trust of Ontario. Since then, 2002, the site is managed by the Conservation Authority of Credit Valley and The Bruce Trail Conservancy.
Things To Do in Cheltenham Badlands
If you are an enthusiast of Geology or the Earth Sciences, the Cheltenham Badlands in Ontario would be of great interest to you. By visiting the site, you can gain important knowledge and information about how the site came into formation. You can visit this site and take a nice long walk on the Bruce trail, of about 30 to 60 minutes.
Parking is available if you pre-book and costs around 25 plus tax. This way, you save yourself the hassle of being stuck outside the site with nowhere to park. Moreover, there are also bathrooms on site that you can use.
Do keep in mind that if it rains, or if it has rained a day before, the site will be closed.
The views of the Badlands are stunning and it is worth a visit. Make sure that before you head to Cheltenham Badlands, you make a reservation to visit as well as take a hike. There are two parts of the site that you can explore.
- A short trail on the right side would lead you to the Badlands
- The left part would lead you to a 1.13-kilometer hike of the Bruce Trail
When you make a reservation, you are given 1.5 hours to visit the site. And as per reviews of visitors, 1.5 hours are enough to explore both the Badlands and the Bruce trail.
The reservation is an important thing to keep in mind, since it ensures that you have parking as well as space to walk across the boardwalk. Do consider visiting on weekdays since they are cheaper due to lesser people visiting. However, if you visit on a weekend, it will be full of people and you might not be able to take full benefit of the visit.
This lovely tourist spot also contains a large and elevated boardwalk through the badlands that allow you to take amazing pictures. It offers an excellent view of the geologic magnificence.
There are also boards throughout the site that explain how the badlands were formed. These boards also shed light on the historic and geologic significance of the site. Furthermore, if you are a person with special needs, the management people would go above and beyond to help you visit the site completely.
While you do get a good view of the Badlands from the boardwalk and the Bruce trail, you cannot really walk ‘on’ the badland itself. The reason being that badlands are usually difficult to navigate by foot. Thus, the red land has been fenced for conservation and protection purposes. Another reason physical access on the badlands is denied is due to the high erosion rate.
Moreover, another thing you should keep in mind when you visit the Cheltenham Badlands is to keep a bottle of water with you. There is no refreshment center nearby, except for bathrooms that visitors can use. Thus, if you are going with your kids make sure you keep some light go-to snacks as well.
If you are planning on visiting the Cheltenham Badlands, do consider going in the fall season. Since the leaves are changing colors, the view is magnificent. Nonetheless, the view of the site is amazing through all seasons.
Moreover, if you really want to engage in a nice walk or take good pictures, you might want to visit early morning.