The Cheltenham Badlands are a series of bare, windswept red hills and gullies in southern Ontario that formed as a result of overgrazing. In the 1930s, the area was still productive farmlands, but poor farming practices resulted in the creation of the rolling martian landscape.
As dirt and vegetation was worn away by the elements, the landscape was left with exposure of the Queenston shale below the surface farmland. Unfortunately, the shale supports little or no vegetation and has left the area as barren badlands. The reddish hue of the Badlands is caused by iron oxide, while narrow greenish bands show where groundwater has transformed the rock from red to green iron oxide.
Care should be taken while visiting as this area is very fragile. Visitors should not climb on the hills after a rainfall or when the ground appears soft. Violation of this unwritten rule will also result in a nasty reddish dirt stain that most travelers work to avoid while on vacation.