UPDATE – Unfortunately, the Badlands are now closed to the public. The Ontario Heritage Trust is looking for ways to conserve and protect this unique and ecologically sensitive site. Stay tuned as they do plan on opening it again in some form.
ORIGINAL STORY – One of the main reasons I highly recommend taking back roads is that you never know what you will find around the next bend or over the next hill. That was certainly true when we stumbled across an area known as the Badlands in Cheltenham, Ontario. As you come over the hill on Old Baseline Road a surreal landscape is exposed – rich red clay hills instead of lush green trees and dense brush.
The Badlands are said to have been exposed in the 1930s by poor farming practices which resulted in soil erosion and the subsequent exposure of the underlying Queenston Shale. The formation’s red colour comes from iron oxide deposits.
The area is now managed and maintained by the Bruce Trail Association and the Niagara Escarpment Commission. The Badlands are located alongside the Niagara Escarpment and are by default part of the UNESCO World Biosphere reserve.
Although currently open to the public there has been some discussion to close to area off in order to preserve it from damage and further erosion.
If you want to see something that is different, the Badlands are a must visit location.