Great Spots To Visit Around Caledon Ontario

Visit Cheltenham Badlands And Have Lunch At Spirit Tree Cidery

Visit Around Caledon Ontario.jpg

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!

 Cheltenham Badlands Road Access.jpg

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.

 Cheltenham Badlands Entrance.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Entrance.jpg

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.

 Cheltenham Badlands Bruce Trail.jpg

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.

 Cheltenham Badlands Trails.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Trails.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Trails.jpg

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.

 Cheltenham Badlands First View.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Observation Platform.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Observation Platform Signs.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Observation Platform Signs.jpg

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.

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Observation Platform Signs.jpg

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.

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations From Road.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations From Road.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations From Road.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations From Road.jpg

 Cheltenham Badlands Rock Formations From Road.jpg

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.

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery.jpg

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery.jpg

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.

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery.jpg

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery.jpg

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery.jpg

David really was only interested in the sweetest one. The Ice Cider met his sweetness needs but was too sweet for me.

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery.jpg

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.

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery Lunch.jpg

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.

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery Shop.jpg

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery Shop.jpg

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery Shop.jpg

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery Shop.jpg

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!

We were so happy with our tasting experience that we planned another tasting experience when we visited the Kinsip House of Fine Spirits on our visit to eat and drink around Prince Edward County.

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.

Downeys UPick Strawberry Farm.jpg

Downeys UPick Strawberry Farm.jpg

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.

Downeys Farm Market.jpg

Downeys Farm Market.jpg

Downeys Farm Market.jpg

Downeys Farm Market.jpg

Downeys Farm Market Grumpy Old Goat.jpg

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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  1. I’ve only been to Toronto once and I didn’t realize there were so many options for side trips. Caledon looks like a great place to hang out, and the Badlands are super cool looking!

  2. I never knew what the word badland meant either, so it was cool to learn with this post! I love how this day is the perfect mixture of nature, food and drink! Also strawberries are my favorite fruit, so I’d love to visit a strawberry farm one day!

    • Wow what beautiful trails. I would love to go exploring those amazing trails. I had never heard of Caledon in Ontario but it is so pretty. I will add to my list. And that photo opportunity board is so interesting and definitely a unique way to take a picture.

      • We wish we had time to explore more of the trails when we visited. But it was nice to stroll through the woods to the viewing platforms. Good thing it is an easy day trip from home so we can visit again.

  3. The charcuterie board with the cider tasting is making me hungry. It is early and I haven’t eaten breakfast yet. Beautiful scenery. It always amazes me how water, whether frozen or not, can shape mountains.

  4. This looks like such a lovely region. Your explanation of the term – and the geology – of the badlands is very interesting – and actually shows in the pix. The road looks rather like a rollercoaster 😀 The rolling hills are so idyllic. Obviously, I would have enjoyed the different types of cider. To me, cider screams countryside and coziness 🙂

  5. Great to see nature and humankind have found a way to work together, to create a unique landscape. Looks like a great day out, topped off with cider and Mezza.

  6. Caledon looks like such a beautiful place! I’d love to try the cider tasting! I love cider and I’m always happy to try a local one on my travels! Thanks for the great guide!

  7. I’ve been hiking on the Bruce Trails before as part of a high school trip – so much fun! I haven’t been to any of these other locations though, but the Badlands are really appealing to me.

    • We were a bit embarrassed to admit we had never made it to the Badlands. So many people we talked to afterwards had visited before access was so restricted. A fun one in Ontario for sure.

  8. I love the idea of all these places. The Badlands look fascinating, I always like a tasting opportunity (never done cider) & who doesn’t love strawberries?! Great to know & would enjoy all three.

  9. I have to confess that I’ve never heard of Caledon, although we’ve been in Toronto several times. It seems to be a lovely place to travel to if you live in Toronto. I love the red soil, so reminiscent of the one in Sedona, Arizona. The cider tasting and charcuterie board make me want to go there right now, lol!

    • So many people never make it out of Toronto because there is so much to see and do. But we have loved discovering the small gems on our day trips. Maybe you will see this on a return visit.

  10. I was just in Caledon last Sunday at a new restaurant that opened, and thought to myself, I need to blog about this area! I have long had Badlands on my list, just need to schedule a time to go and see them.

  11. Looks like you guys had so much fun! The Cheltenham Badlands reminds me a little of Utah. I love the photo of where you guys are trying to step on the sign.. ha ha! But it was great that they had good signage. Beautiful nature there! I also wouldn’t mind going strawberry picking with my kids.

    • The Cheltenham Badlands reminded us of the red rocks in Utah too. David could not pass on doing a fun pic about the viewing spot! Great to enjoy the outdoors and then do some taste testing.

  12. I never actually knew what “badland” meant, so this post was super informative! Caledon seems like such a great town! The cider tasting and those strawberries are calling my name!

  13. I think I’ve found my next day trip when I visit Ontario again. What a beautiful area. I love the look of the cidery and all that delicious food, as well as those yummy fresh strawberries. The badlands are really interesting – much different than a lot of areas of Ontario

  14. Aww crud…Darcee was looking over my shoulder while I was learning about Caledon & now we HAVE TO GO!!! Dont get me wrong the hike up Bruce Trail looks awesome cause those Cheltenham Badlands look really cool! By the way, I laughed out loud at Dave getting his picture by putting his feet in the right spot! But what really sold me was the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery. I mean, normally I am a cocktail kid and thus wine isnt always my 1st choice but the samplers of cider and fruit wines you had looked really good and then the lunch spread looked AMAZING!!
    But the part that got me in trouble after the cidery of course with Darcee is you sneaking in the strawberry picking…SHE LOVES THAT!
    So what time can we meet you next weekend?

  15. The vibe of those Cheltenham Badlands will get me out of my comfort zone for sure. Though dry, it spells adventure! The cider house looks quaint and basing it on the photos, they do really offer a wide range for different palates! I’d love to try those out.

  16. I love reading your posts. I just wish I had discovered them when I was visiting Toronto – I feel like I’ve missed out on so many places. Also, thanks for explaining Badlands – I often see the name and think of it as some dangerous junkies zone, lol.

  17. The badlands around Caledon look amazing – but we would travel to this region specifically for the Spirit Tree Estate. Not only is it gorgeous, but we absolutely love wine tastings on our trips. The lunch you had also looks amazing! There is nothing better than seafood and wine! We would love getting oysters.

  18. Wow this looks like a fantastic day out. I love the cider tour. That is right up my street! Your spread looks amazing.. I must go soon! I bet you can easily spend a few hours here on a nice sunny day!

  19. Oh I just had a giggle this morning while sipping my morning coffee with the “stand here picture for a photo” lol….must remember to do that next time. Badlands…always makes me think of bad things happening. Cider and strawberries…what a great day you had and thanks for sharing

  20. What a lovely day out! It will be so great when we can travel again, but this time of exploring locally is pretty nice too. I love the look of that appetizer board. Yum!

  21. My cousin just moved to Ontario and they haven’t really explored the area yet. Shared the post with her. I am sure that her boys would enjoy a visit. Thank you for sharing your detailed post. The stop at the Spirit Tree sounds like a great idea.

  22. Oh! I honestly didn’t realize that badlands characterized the soil and topography of a place. So good to know! I’m a huge fan of cider, so that would be a definite stop for me, too!

  23. A friend of mine recently moved to Toronto and every weekend, she visits new places and goes for nice hikes around the area. I don’t believe she has been to Caledon yet but I feel envious of such gorgeous places in Ontario that she has the option to visit. I would love to explore Cheltenham Badlands when I visit next!

    • There are indeed so many great spots around Toronto to explore. I am sure your friend is enjoying the great outdoor spots. Maybe she will save Cheltenham Badlands for when you visit!

  24. We live in Detroit – just a short drive over to Windsor. Patiently waiting for the borders to reopen after repeated closure extensions. This is now a destination to add to our Ontario list!

  25. This looks like a wonderful summer trip! I love trying flights of beer or cider and fresh strawberries! Yum. Thanks for sharing all this cool stuff.

  26. The rocks at the Cheltenham Badlands look very unusual – I would like to see them. And I NEVER did a Cider tasting! I even did not realize that there is such a thing as Cider tasting. But I love cider. Usually, in German pubs I am happy if they have one cider on tap. I will have a look into this. Maybe Toronto is a bit far…..but maybe I can do some cidre tasting in France…..

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