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“A geological must” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Burgess Shale

Burgess Shale
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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.
Colwyn Bay, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“A geological must”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 September 2013

Invited to attend a trip organised by a Calgary-based oil company pre-2012. It is a place that every geologist should visit. Weather was extremely kind to us so the hike up & down was not arduous. It did produce snow flurries for a while at the quarry, but we didn't care! Spectacular views en route. Our guide was very informative and friendly. At the quarry it's amazing that specimens of many of these unique fossils are just scattered everwhere. They're not rare at all! A geological equivalent to visiting the Vatican or Mecca! A visit I shall cherish forever.

Visited October 2012
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4 Thank fentonia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Calgary
Level Contributor
56 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“The triange: stranious but worthy”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 September 2012

We did not go to the Burgess shale to see the fossils, we did the triangle hike which is Burgess Pass, Yoho Pass, Emerald Lake. This is rather demanding 20km, 880m elevation gain (and loss) hike. A parks Canada officer suggested that we start with the most difficult part from Emerald Lake to Burgess Pass and go from there, which makes it easier on the knees (this is the opposite of what Hikes in the Canadian Rockies book says).

Everywhere you look you are for amazing views treat along the way. Must see!

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank northern_prairie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Red Deer, Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Mt Stephen Burgess Shale hike”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2012

We had an excellent 7 hour hike up & down Burgess Shale on Mt Stephen. This remakable few million year old fossil bed is amazing. Well worth the slight leg pain the next day. K-Woman was an excellent guide. Very friendly, very informative, & made it work for the whole group. If you can do a 3.5 - 4 hour hike up a steep climb, do it! The 2 hour down hike is also well paced. Book early!

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank JPStewart1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary
Level Contributor
165 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
“Educational, informative, great exercise and terrific views”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2012

My husband and I signed up for the guided hike to Burgess Shale via the Geological Foundation. Our guide was terrific--clearly knowledge and very passionate about his area of expertise and provided us with much wonderful information on not only the fossils and the history of the site but also the area, the mountains, the flora and fauna. For example, he pointed out a plant we had seen in abundance throughout our many hikes in Yoho and informed the group that every part of the plant, including the root, is highly toxic. Good to know! (see attached photo). The Burgess Shale is a Unesco World Heritage Site and strict regulations are in place to avoid theft of the fossils. Travellers should be prepared and know what they are getting into beforehand-- our group, for example, was held up at the onset by members less than fully prepared who had to run into the gas station at the meeting point to stock up on drinks and chocolate bars--this inconveniences everyone in the group and can set the schedule for the day behind. It is a long day, 8-10 hours, but really not that difficult of a hike for fit hikers, despite the 800 meter altitude gain. I also do not think it would be suitable for any children younger than age nine. Given the group situation and the educational nature of the tour, there are frequent stops along the way. For visitors new to the park, also be aware that weather in the rockies can be extremely unpredictable and being prepared for different weather conditions is a must; there is also, albeit a slim, likelihood of the hike having to turn around midstream if there is a clear threat along the way of being caught in lightning, particularly above the tree line. Although disappointing should this happen, it is rare and kudos to the organizers for stressing the safety of their clientele above all. For those 'not into' groups, travel to the Burgess Shale can ONLY be undertaken by a guided tour. However, after having departed the fossil site itself, one can descend off the mountain at ones own pace, providing that the appropriate waivers have been signed.

Visited August 2012
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6 Thank ClaireCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Long hike but worth it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2012

Although this trek involved miles of uphill walking, the scenery is spectacular and the fossils are plentiful. Our guides were geologists and were great about answering questions, stopped often to interpret the trail and for rest breaks, and even gave help treating blisters.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank KerriCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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