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Cheltenham Badlands Trail

There are two formal trails on the Cheltenham Badlands property, owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust and managed by the Credit Valley Conservation (CVC): the Bruce Trail (1330m) and the Badlands Trail (325m).

The Bruce Trail runs through the property between Creditview Road and the parking lot on Olde Base Line Road. The Bruce Trail is connected to the 'badlands' shale feature through a new trail connection known as the Badlands Trail. The Bruce Trail has been re-aligned between the new trail connection and the parking lot on Olde Baseline Road in order to widen the trail and reduce the trail’s slope. 

You can gain access to the 'badlands' viewing area from the Bruce Trail if you take the Badlands Trail. Then you can view the 'badlands' from the new accessible boardwalk.

Physical access to walk on the badlands feature is no longer available as it leads to erosion of this sensitive feature. The Badlands are only available for viewing along the accessible boardwalk. The accessible boardwalk can also be accessed from the road. There is an accessible parking space adjacent to the accessible boardwalk and a sidewalk that leads directly to the 33 car parking lot on Olde Base Line Road.

Through new interpretive and wayfinding signage, visitors can learn about the Badlands feature and navigate the trails on the property. There are also trailhead maps located on the trailhead signs at each entrance to the property. Visitors are asked to stay on all trails and the accessible boardwalk in order to preserve and protect the sensitive site. For more information, visit the CVC website.

Biking and geocaching is not allowed.

What are the Badlands?

“Badlands” is a geologic term for an area of soft rock devoid of vegetation and soil cover that has become molded into a rolling landscape of rounded hills and gullies.

Such areas are rare in Ontario and in Canada and this is one of the best examples. They exhibit the reddish hue of the Queenston Shale that forms them; the iron oxide in the shale produces this colour. The narrow greenish bands that can be seen throughout the shale are due to the change of red iron oxide to green iron oxide brought on by the circulating groundwater.

The relatively soft shale is essentially clay and is easily eroded by water. This site was acquired by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 2000 and the property is managed by the Credit Valley Conservation.

Information provided by the Ontario Heritage Trust, Credit Valley Conservation and the Bruce Trail Conservancy. For further information, contact Credit Valley Conservation at


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