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“Impressive” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Burgess Shale

Burgess Shale
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The famous Burgess Shale is located in the magnificent Canadian Rockies of southeastern British Columbia. The site is on a ridge between two mountaintops, near the town of Field. Ninety kilometres east, across the Continental Divide, lies the resort town of Banff. To get to the Walcott quarry, you hike a scenic trail a distance of about 10km, taking about 3 hours. All around you is the spectacular scenery of Yoho National Park, including Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake, numerous glaciers, and high mountains.
Barrie, Canada
Level Contributor
65 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2012

After seeing exhibits about the shale at the ROM in Toronto, I never thought I would experience its origin.

Visited June 2012
2 Thank lynnfrombarrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Canterbury, NH
Level Contributor
31 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“A Biologist Pilgramage”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 March 2012

There are hikes to the area guided by naturalists. The hike to the area should be considered relatively difficult and one should be prepared to climb quite steeply in places with good hiking shoes or boots. Once there you can see some of the most ancient and varied fossils to be found. If you are interested in biological evolution this is a pilgrimage you should make.

Visited August 2011
4 Thank djhkswis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Field visitor centre”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2012

Any keen geologists should at least pop into the Field Visitor Centre where there is a small display explaining and showing some pieces from the Burgess Shale. We were visiting in May so there was no chance of seeing the rock formation themselves, but this was at least something. There is also a telescope on the banks of Emerald Lake which looks directly at the beds.

Visited May 2011
2 Thank Looosy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
438 reviews
86 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 243 helpful votes
“Spectacular Scenery and Interesting Fossils”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 September 2011

We hiked the 23.6 km Burgess Shale hike this weekend. When they tell you it is a long hike, they are right! The literature states that it is a 10 hour hike, but due to a slow moving group before us, it ended up being slightly over 11 hours.

You meet at a local parking lot, then drive to the Takakkaw Falls parking lot. It takes awhile to muster the group and we did not start until 9:00 a.m. If you are making restaurant reservations for dinner, I would suggest 8:00 or 8:30 p.m. (Recommended is Truffle Pigs in Field.)

You need to be in good shape. Wear proper hiking boots, bring poles (2 are better than one), lunch, warm clothes, and lots of water. Bring your camera to photograph the spectacular scenery, especially the aptly named Emerald Lake. The quarry itself is very interesting with many different kinds of fossils.

The elevation gain is 760 m. Climbing up is not bad at all, but going down is tough on the knees. There are some parts of the hike where the trail is very narrow and exposed. For those who have a fear of heights, it is recommended to keep your eyes on the trail.

You will visit Yoho Lake, the Discovery site, and then the Walcott Quarry. Each group spends approximately one hour at the Quarry where you are able to search for fossils, but of course you are not allowed to take any home, as this is a protected site. The penalty for stealing fossils is a fine of $2500 and one year in jail! Three groups are allowed to visit the quarry per day and only 14 people are allowed in the quarry at one time.

This hike is highly recommended if you love to be in the mountains, enjoy spectacular scenery, and are interested in 505 million year old fossils.

Visited September 2011
11 Thank YYC_traveler_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
edmonton canada
Level Contributor
31 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“The valley views are as spectacular as the fossils are inspiring.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2011

I have just completed the Burgess Shale hike, which can be considered a "grunt" hike that an "averagely fit adult" would find difficult to make. I will preface this comment by stating that I had made a number of smaller hikes, including the Sulphur Skyline hike at Miette Hot Springs, the Lake MacArthur hike and the north to south trail-head hike of the Wilcox Pass including several similarly moderate rated hikes as preparation for the the Burgess Shale hike. Furthermore, I run 8-10 km on average every second day. Although I am in relatively good shape, and am conditioned to tackle the Burgess Shale hike, I found the 10+ hours of hard ascent/descent, with a small pack, somewhat fatiguing. That being said, even the fit 27 year old hikers in our group found the hike tiring. Consequently, I would encourage you to be physically prepared before you consider taking on this 22 kilometer (13.75 mile) round-trip hike, which requires you to climb/descend approximately 760 meters (2508 feet) vertically. Be sure you are prepared and then enjoy the spectacular valley views and fossils that you see.

Visited August 2011
6 Thank global_pov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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