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The Best Hiking Spot in Canada: Cheltenham Badlands

Updated: Sep 24, 2023


Cheltenham Badlands

The Cheltenham Badlands are by far one of the best and most beautiful hiking spots in Canada!

 

The Cheltenham Badlands Conservation area is just outside of Toronto in a town called Caledon.


Reservations

Car Keys

When you make the reservation, you make it based on car not on attendee. So, whether you go alone or carpool with 4 friends, it's only $11.30 when you reserve online. If you buy a pass at the gate, then it'll be $16.95, space permitting.


Reservations last 1.5 hours, but you also get free same-day access to both the Terra Cotta and Island Lake Conservation area. The Cheltenham Badlands only have 2 trails with a total of 1.6km, but Terra Cotta has 8 trails with a total of 10.3km and Island Lake has 5 trails with a total of 13km. There is definitely no shortage of trails to enjoy!


All of this for only $11.30CAD!

Frau Hannah's Mama

I recommend going to the Cheltenham Badlands in the morning, so you have all day to explore all the trails. Pack a picnic lunch, wear sunscreen, and bring bug spray though!



We did the first two, but forgot the bug spray. This ended up being the reason we cut the hike short. I was fine, but the mosquitos loved mom! She had well over 10 bites while I only had 1.


Come join me on the trail here.




History


The Cheltenham Badlands are not only gorgeous, but an impressive feat of nature! How did it come to be you ask?


Thank you Ontario Trust Heritage for this stunning video of the Badlands!


Approximately 450 million years ago the Badlands used to be the base of an ancient sea.


The original settlers of this land respected the nature by practicing horticulture, living consciously on the land, and migrating with the seasons. In the 1850's till the 1950's however, European settlers came and cleared the land to create homesteads and farms.


This is the reason why there are so many apple trees along the trail, and why the Badlands are they way they are now. The clearing of the land caused the top soil to erode away, exposing the iron-oxide rich red shale that we see today.


Did you know this red iron-oxide is similar to, if not the same, material that is on Mars??? How cool is that!


The green on the Badlands

The large divots in the Badlands are the result of rapid erosion from rainy and snowy weather. On these divots, you can see light green patches on the red shale. This is the result of the acidic groundwater that used to circulate through the Badlands. This oxidized the red iron in the shale, causing it to turn green.


The Cheltenham Badlands are now a protected area thanks to the Ontario Heritage Trust, so please respect this amazing earthly phenomenon when you visit. Walk on the marked trails, stay on the boardwalk, and keep off the Badlands.


If you visit the Badlands, I'd love to hear about it!

 

While on the road during our trip to the Cheltenham Badlands, we passed by a sign raving about this farm fresh sweet corn, so naturally we had to stop.


The full story of the amazing little farm is coming soon! Make sure to follow me on Instagram to find out when!


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