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Cheltenham Badlands

43.7736° N, 79.9444° W

  • Part orange, part white and all parts strangely spectacular, the Cheltenham Badlands have been eliciting an expression of open-mouthed admiration from visitors both home-grown and far-flung for many a decade. Located roughly 40 minutes from Toronto city centre, these prehistoric rocks provide quite the contrast from the gleaming lights and sights of Ontario’s modern capital, and are a brilliant add-on attraction to any itinerary that includes Canada’s foremost must-see spot, Niagara Falls.

    Though these days the surreal site is defined very much by its arid, earthy and almost otherworldly terrain, the wrinkly hills would have been quite unrecognisable a few thousand years ago, owing to the fact that they were completely submerged under water. Though the raging river that flowed through the area has long since dried out, its course can still be followed by keen-eyed walkers who follow the curves and swerves of the undulating paths. Handily, there are also signs pointing out the stripy landscape’s most significant features, which is useful for those of us who don’t have a degree in geology just yet.

    Though autumn is said to be the most beautiful time to visit – with the changing foliage of fall providing a complementary palette of oranges, reds and yellows to match the Badlands own natural colour scheme – they really are a sight to behold at any time of year. That being said, you might be forced to squint a little if the snows have recently fallen, and a blanket – albeit a very lumpy and bumpy blanket – of nothing but white stretches out before you.

February 22nd 2016