The Cheltenham Badlands

Often referred to as Mars on Earth, The Cheltenham Badlands is a great outdoor nature adventure for families. The unique landscape feature has an incredible rare look, that will have kids feeling like they've stepped right onto another planet. It's one of Ontario’s geological treasures, first formed at the base of an ancient sea over 400 million years ago.

In June 2015, the Cheltenham Badlands was closed to the public, due in part to the accelerated erosion caused from the increasing numbers of visitors. This allowed the Ontario Heritage Trust, who owns the property, to conduct research to monitor the geological and ecological change over time, for conservation and site improvements, and to protect the Badlands from further erosion. The work was done in partnership with the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, Credit Valley Conservation, the Region of Peel, the Town of Caledon and Bruce Trail Conservancy.

The site, now managed by Credit Valley Conservation, was reopened in April 2019 for the season and to the public on September 22. Visitors are now able to enjoy an accessible boardwalk, upgraded trails, educational and interpretive panels, and public and accessible parking spaces. The site has drawn a lot of public interest as one of the most recognizable and visited natural heritage landmarks in Southern Ontario – over 50,000 have visited since the re-opening! Due to the popularity of the attraction, the public is encouraged to drop in on weekdays and off-peak hours (early morning or late in the day) during seasonal hours of operations, to avoid congestion and lineups.

If you're planning a visit to Cheltenham Badlands this Fall, it is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., until October 27. It closes for the Winter season and re-opens in April 2020. The attraction is located at 1739 Olde Base Line Road, Caledon. A 33 car pay-and-display parking lot is available for use at the property. It does fill up quickly so visitors are encouraged to use the shuttle bus service available from the Terra Cotta Conservation Area, located at 14452 Winston Churchill Blvd. The service is available on weekends and holidays until October 27, and you can reserve the shuttle online. There is an admission fee into Terra Cotta, but the shuttle service is free.

If you're going straight to Cheltenham Badlands, admission is simply a parking fee ($6.50 per hour or $10 for two hours) which helps support the management, upkeep and preservation of the property. But remember, parking is very limited.

Quick tips for families with kids:

• The shuttle service from Terra Cotta Conservation Area is a hassle-free way and fun way for families to get to the Cheltenham Badlands (there's lots of parking at Terra Cotta Conservation Area). The 10 minute ride will make the kids will feel like they are on a field trip!

• If you are parking at the Badlands, keep your pay-and-display parking receipt. You can show this receipt at any CVC parks location on the same day of purchase to receive a discount (equal to your Badlands receipt) off your general admission fees at other CVC parks.

• The Bruce Trail runs through the property so you can also go on a quick hike with the kids.

• Visitors must stay on the boardwalk and trails at all times to reduce damage and erosion of the sensitive site. Dogs are allowed but must remain on leash.

So, get those phones ready for selfies and fun family Instagram photos. The fall foliage makes the site especially beautiful at this time of the year.

Find out more at

Photos © Toronto4Kids
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