We Planned A Full Day To Visit Around Caledon Ontario
We planned a full day and enjoyed the great spots to visit around Caledon in Ontario. On our day trips from Toronto, we found so many great gems in the small towns and counties outside of Toronto. It amazed us that it was the first time we visited some of these spots. But each trip encouraged us to head out and experience more.
We started with an outdoor adventure at the Cheltenham Badlands. From there we went to the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery and had a tasty outdoor lunch. We finished up with a visit to local farm for some fresh produce. All great reasons to head north of Toronto and enjoy the Caledon area.
The Cheltenham Badlands
We passed by “badlands” before on our travels through the midwest USA but did not stop. The term “badlands” is a geologic term used for areas of soft rock with no vegetation and soil cover. Badlands typically look like a rolling landscape of rounded hills and gullies.
The Cheltenham Badlands were located northwest of Toronto in the Caledon area. Their reddish colour came from the iron oxide in the shale. Groundwater at the site has further oxidized some of the iron oxide to green and bands of green showed up in the rocks. The soft shale was easily eroded by water. This erosion created the rolling hills and deep valleys.
The Cheltenham Badlands are part of the Niagara Escarpment. The escarpment was designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1990. The Bruce Trail ran along the Niagara Escarpment and the trail went through the Cheltenham Badlands.
The Cheltenham Badlands site was quite large. At one time, there were no barriers and people walked all over the rocks. This increased the rate of erosion. The site was closed for some time. But when it re-opened, boardwalks were constructed over a part of the Cheltenham Badlands for people to view a small area of rocks.
Getting To Caledon
Caledon is a small area northwest of Toronto in Ontario. There were many ways to get there depending on how much time we wanted to spend on the major highways out of Toronto. We could head north on Hwy 400 and then head west across Hwy 9.
We took the fast Hwy 410 north from the west end of the city and then continued up Hwy 10 because we had a full day planned. The slower route through the country roads was up rural route #1. On our trip back we zigzagged across the country roads and came back down Hwy 50. The drive to and from Caledon was part of the fun since there was much to see outside of the city.
We came across a small country road and got to the Cheltenham Badlands. The road was clearly marked as “No Parking” to stop people from viewing the site from the road. The speed limit on the hilly road was low. But as vehicles raced along, we were sure it was a great spot to collect speeding fines!
Walk Around The Site
When we visited the Cheltenham Badlands, entry was strictly controlled with reservations. We paid for parking and were only allowed entry at the time on our ticket. The ticket was valid for 90 minutes.
We checked out the site map when we arrived. There was a one-way path that went to the observation boardwalks. Once finished at that point, the walk back to the parking was along the roadway.
The Bruce Trail went through the property. We found the path that led away from the site as we walked. On this visit to the Cheltenham Badlands we did not do the extra hike time on the Bruce Trail.
The pathway went through the trees. Most of the walk appeared to be uphill and in some areas the walkway was quite rough and steep. In one low area, there was a short boardwalk. We walked in sandals but the ground was dry. On a wetter day, hiking boots or more sturdy shoes would be needed. This path was not for people who had mobility issues.
When we finished our climb, we knew the Cheltenham Badlands were just around the next bend.
Cheltenham Badlands Views From The Boardwalk
We stopped and got our first view of the Cheltenham Badlands from the side. And then we continued to the boardwalk. The boardwalk was a one way path. The spots for taking pictures were clearly marked.
We moved from spot to spot and looked at the sprawling rocks. We saw the greenish seams that were more heavily oxidized. The platform sat right beside the road so we understood why road parking was prohibited. Various signs provided more information about the rocks and the history of this site.
On our visit around Caledon, we were glad we planned the time and explored the Cheltenham Badlands.
A View From The Road
Once we finished on the observation platform, we went along the road and got another view from the side. We were careful and stayed on the correct side of the property fence but away from the traffic.
There was one handicapped parking spot on the road with access to the observation deck. Since the path was a bit difficult for those with walking challenges, this was a great option for people to see the Cheltenham Badlands.
We walked back along the road and got in our car. We were on the site for less than an hour. So even with a short hike on the Bruce Trail, the 90 minute parking pass left enough time to visit the Cheltenham Badlands on a visit around Caledon.
A Great Stop At The Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
We finished our visit to the Cheltenham Badlands about 1pm. We loved wine and spirit tastings when we travelled. On our last visit to British Columbia, we enjoyed a variety of cider and fruit wine tastings. So we were excited when we found that the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery was very close to the badlands.
Before we left home, we checked on lunch reservations at the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. Nothing was available until after 2:30. But since it was very close, we drove there in case there were cancellations.
When we arrived, there were no cancellations but they did have space on the uncovered picnic tables. A lunch in the sun seemed perfect to us.
We Started With A Cider Tasting On A Visit Around Caledon
We started with a flight of ciders and a great appetizer sample board. The appetizer board was delicious with a selection of bread and flat bread with a slight salting. There were 3 dips but we really loved the garlic hummus. The biggest surprise was the crunchy and tasty falafels.
For the ciders, we chose a range of different ones to taste and admired the variability in the colours. Winter Bliss was sweet and smooth but had a taste not to my liking. The pink Crabapple Rosé had a surprisingly hoppy taste. The Sidra was different with a sharp citrus taste almost like grapefruit but was very refreshing. We found the Estate to be light and sharp, almost like a dry white wine. And as expected, the 10 year old cider was sweet and smooth with a dark caramel colour.
David really was only interested in the sweetest one. The Ice Cider met his sweetness needs but was too sweet for me.
We started our stop at the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery with some tasty options on our visit around Caledon.
Lunch And More
When my cousin told me about the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery she told us about their great pizza. But unfortunately no pizza was served at lunch. The lunch menu had some variety and we easily chose mussels and a quiche to share. Everything was tasty and filling.
After lunch we wandered into the store. We found the cider bar and a large selection of ciders in cans and bottles to purchase. I was really tempted to take home some of the great homemade bread we tried on the appetizer platter but had my splurge of carbs at lunch. There was a great selection of foods for takeout if we wanted to eat in the large picnic area at the front of the property.
We were so glad we found the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery on our visit around Caledon. One night we will head back for pizza. With reservations made in advance!
A Final Stop At A Strawberry Farm
The produce season was short in Ontario so we always loved when fresh fruit was in season. After lunch, we headed to Downey’s Farm in search of fresh strawberries. The first spot we found was the “u pick” fields. We pulled in but found no strawberries for sale.
Across the street was a massive market and family entertainment spot. We parked and wandered through the shop in search of strawberries. There was a wide selection of local products for sale.
This last stop on our visit around Caledon sent us home with sweet strawberries.
Some Great Spots To Visit Around Caledon Ontario
On our visit around Caledon we enjoyed such a great variety of things to see and do. The Cheltenham Badlands were on our list for a long time so it was great to finally visit. We were sure it was a beautiful spot in the fall once the leaves turned colour.
We were happy we managed to get into the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. The cider tasting was fun and everything we ate was delicious. Our final stop at Downey’s Farm sent us home with a treat for later.
It was another great day trip from Toronto.
Have you found some great spots on a visit around Caledon in Ontario? Where should we head to next?
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