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Cheltenham Badlands

The red rock of Cheltenham Badlands

UPDATE: The Cheltenham Badlands has been closed due to abuse and damage to the delicate soil.  Read more on the subject via the Ontario Heritage Trust news release.

It looks like a hilly, red desert in the middle of a forested area just north of Toronto, but it’s actually soft rock that has no vegetation on it. The red hue comes from the iron oxide in the Queenston Shale that forms the small rounded hills and gullies.

It’s the Cheltenham Badlands, a rare sight in Ontario.

We recently visited the site to take photos and enjoy the view. While some visitors climbed over the hills, I was happy to stay to the peripheries to ensure that I don’t damage the site. The area is delicate and jumping, climbing, digging or sliding down the hills will damage it for future visitors. It is designated a Earth Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI).

Visiting the Cheltenham Badlands is a must if doing a day trip in the Caledon, Forks of the Credit River, or Belfountain area.

A few photos from our visit:
Cheltenham Badlands

Exploring the Cheltenham Badlands (although you shouldn’t really be walking over them)

Cheltenham Badlands

Interesting lines and patterns are a photographer’s delight at the Cheltenham Badlands

Cheltenham Badlands

It’s very tempting, but really, it’s not good to scramble around on such a delicate landscape.

Directions: From /Mississauga, take Highway 10 (Hurontario Street) north past Brampton to Old Base Line Road. Turn left (west). The spot will be on your left side on top of a hill. There is very limited parking.


  1. Margaret – I’ve driven by there and wondered what they were! Now I know – thanks!

  2. Audrey – then my job is done! I hope you’ll take a moment next time you are in the area to check it out on foot. It’s such an unusual landscape.

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