Cheltenham Badlands: Ontario’s Rust-Colored Hills

The origin story of the Cheltenham Badlands—which is one of Ontario’s most striking landscapes—is a cautionary tale. The rust-colored hills of the Cheltenham Badlands were once lush, fertile farm land which supported numerous trees, plants, and crops.

In the early 20th century, improper soil rotation resulted in massive erosion—which exposed a cache of Queenston shale which was buried just below the surface. Bands of greenish white rock—which has been tarnished by flowing water—punctuate a compact yet dramatic stretch of brick-colored Badlands. The Cheltenham Badlands are a stark reminder that certain corners of the Earth simply cannot be cultivated. The Badlands proved to be a disaster for Canadian farmers, but they are undeniably a geological wonder that attracts countless visitors.

A trip to the Cheltenham Badlands will leave you wondering what lies beneath your garden. Don’t forget to rotate the soil so that you don’t have to find out the hard way.

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