It’s still early enough if you are all still “trying” to get out and enjoy the outdoors of fall. I thought I’d share a very cool local resource for the Hills of the Headwaters (just south of Orangeville). It’s Cheltenham Badlands and it’s a great place to see if you haven’t been there.
The term “badlands” is a geologic word for a type of arid terrain with clay-rich soil that has been extensively eroded by wind and water. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. Known to be a wonder of the world, one of the most famous badlands formations is found in the Dakotas, and another significant badland formation can be found in Alberta.
These unique soil formations are very rare in Ontario, and the Cheltenham (or Caledon) Badlands are by far one of the best examples. As you travel along Mississauga Road to the north, turn left onto Olde Baseline Road. On the south side of the road, you will see the impressive ‘red rolling hills,’ which get their reddish hue from the Queenston Shale (which is essentially clay and very high in iron oxide) that forms them.
You will also notice narrow, whitish-green coloured strips throughout the shale. Naturally occurring changes from red iron oxide to green iron oxide, which is caused by the circulating groundwater, create these seemingly painted swirls.
The Cheltenham Badlands site was recently acquired by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 2000 and is now under the care of the Bruce Trail Association.