Attractions & things to do for the kids in your life

Cheltenham Badlands in Caledon (Caledon)

Family Tested
High energy
Fall Color

Fall colours at Cheltenham Badlands

The Badlands in Caledon offer a unique outing!

There is lots of confusion on Internet regarding this attraction. Some sites say it's closed, but it is not! What has changed though is that we can not anymore walk on the Badlands, but we can admire them. You might have seen glimpses of them in ads and wondered where on earth is this? If you look at it on Google Satellite, you’ll see a strange wrinkled patch of pink dirt lined with white stripes. It looks even more surreal when you see it for real. (To show you what I mean, here's a little clip of Cheltenham posted on YouTube by TorontoHD, they feature 170 Toronto clips).

Cheltenham Badlands, managed by the Bruce Trail Association, is a very special place and thanks to the fact that it is a short drive from Belfountain Conservation Area, it is very popular in the fall and especially during Thanksgiving long weekend. The unique red landscape is surrounded by leafy trees, which means cool fall colours! I recommend that you visit before or after Thanksgiving or that you commit to arriving no later than 10 a.m. to beat the crowd. 

Most people stick around the section devoid of vegetation to admire the badlands but it is worth exploring the adjacent trail on the edge of the badlands. It runs up and down through trees but you can still see the pink and white clay-rich soil amidst the bushes. We just walked 10 minutes into it and it was a lovely stretch where very few venture. Because parking in busy times is a problem, on my last visit, we parked south-west of the Badlands and accessed the edge of the Badlands from the Olde Base Side Trail (turning left at the first fork we met on the trail). This small trail connects to the Bruce trail.

With big kids, I've combined this family outing with a visit of the lovely Belfountain Conservation Area. Note that they usually have the Salamander Festival going on end of September (your chance to see real salamanders). See our blog for more photos of this visit. And check out the photo gallery from our last visit on October 25, 2014 (including the side trail).

The curious land formation continues south of the Badlands
A small trail south of the Badlands leads you to the edge.
The trail runs along the same kind of topography’ on a smaller scale’ as the Badlands
You can see the Badlands from below’ on the trail’ or view it from above’ from the viewing platform on top of the Badlands.

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Nathalie's tips for a smooth outing

After years of doing all kinds of outings with my children, I can assure you the secret to a perfect outing lies in the details, not the destination.


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