This weekend, I went back to Cheltenham Badlands with two teens, two girlfriends and one 7-year old. It was a success!
The Badlands are approximately 1-hr drive from Toronto. To go there, take Hwy 401 to Hwy 410 towards Brampton (it becomes Hwy 10). Turn left (westbound) on Olde Base Line, at the light in the little hamlet of Claude along Hwy 10. The Badlands are on the left-hand side (south) of Olde Base Line. We drove past them to first go have a bite in Belfountain (hungry teens oblige). It's less than 10 minutes away, turning right on Mississauga Road, off Olde Base Line.
Higher Ground Coffee Co. in Belfountain, is self-described as a "hub of caffinated activity" and "a cyclist friendly espresso bar nestled in beautiful Niagara Escarpment country". Last time I was in Belfountain, there was a smaller coffee shop serving delicious soup at this location. It's been turned into a larger café and shop serving Reunion Island coffee and delicious tasty grilled paninis. They also carry coffee beans, preserves, home-made treats and more.
It's the first time I visit a café with a helmet shelf. The place is indeed popular with cyclists... and motorcyclists as well. Every time I've been to Belfountain, there were many motorcycles nearby. (No scary Hell's Angels here, just some relaxed baby boomers equipped for leisure rides.)
Warning: The Badlands are very popular in the summer and during the fall weekends (especially during the Thanksgiving weekend, I recommend you try to go on another time). You will probably see flashing "No parking" signs going up the westbound and eastbound hills around the Badlands (there were even policemen when we visited) but don't worry. They just don't want people to park where the hill hides the view from the incoming cars. You should be able to find parking spots along the road between the two hills.
Driving back from Belfountain, we parked before the Badlands (western side), which allowed us to see the entrance to the Olde Base Rd Side Trail. The trail features blue marks and leads eventually to the Bruce Trail but turn left on the first fork you see to reach the Badlands. Walking up the hill and towards your left will take you to a very cool spot to admire the Badlands.
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On our way back, we could have continued along the side trail of the Bruce Trail. I wonder what lies ahead...