cheltenham badlands open

The Cheltenham Badlands are set to reopen this summer

One of the most stunning geological attractions near Toronto is just about ready to reopen to public exploration after having been closed since 2015 for environmental protection. 

Located near Caledon, the Cheltenham Badlands were one of the most popular day trip destinations north of Toronto until concerns related to overuse and erosion of the distinctive red shale surface led to them being fenced off. 

There were also problems with traffic and people stopping at the side of the road in the area of the Badlands, which was further motivation to bar access to the natural attraction until a solution could be found. 

cheltenham badlands

A new boardwalk should help to protect the red shale from erosion. Photo by Irina Souiki.

While a master plan for the site is being developed, thanks to the construction of a dedicated parking lot and boardwalk path, the Ontario Heritage Trust anticipates a summer opening for the Badlands.

There have been erroneous reports about a spring opening of late, but that timeline just isn't realistic given that there's work left to be done to prepare the site for the traffic it will witness once the fence is down.

"Trail improvements and maintenance works are currently underway, and will be ongoing through early summer," explains Ontario Heritage Trust spokesperson Catrina Colme.

cheltenham badlands

The Ontario Heritage Trust is working on a master plan to protect the Badlands over the long term. Photo by iamcertifiedsweet.

"The Trust is working hard to ensure the site can re-open to visitors as soon as possible. It is anticipated that it will re-open in summer 2018, once the trail work has been completed."

As for the Badlands' future beyond this summer, the master plan will "outline the long-term vision for the site as well as identify major projects, new trails and other potential site enhancements to be implemented in phases," Colme continues.

Even though it's too early for an official opening date, it's all very good news. The Cheltenham Badlands are a unique natural treasure, and it will be amazing to be able to see them from up close once again. 

Lead photo by


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