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“The valley views are as spectacular as the fossils are inspiring.”
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.
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 August 8, 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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40 reviews from our community

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Muncie, Indiana
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Worth The Effort”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2011

On a mountain far above the little town of Field resides the Burgess Shale Fossil Beds. What's the big deal? Well, the fossils here are some of the earliest known - from the Cambrian Period about 500 million years ago. Even better, they are remarkably well preserved providing scientists wonderful opportunities for study. The area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and access is restricted to small groups guided by the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation. The fossils here are measured in inches, not in feet, but are cool in ways that could serve as inspiration for fantasy film makers.

If you're into geoscience, need I say more? If you're not, don't be put off. The hike is a full-day round trip (about 12 miles) but covers beautiful, wooded country with streams and flowering plants. It then opens to spectacular views of Emerald Lake, nearby mountains, and a view of Takakkaw Falls that's even better than what you see from the road. If you're lucky you might even see a mountain goat and kid stroll by. The guides are informative without being pushy, so you're bound to learn a few things even if you're not trying.

TIPS: Bring a camera, at least one trekking pole (the last bit is a little steep), lunch, a few litres of water, good hiking boots (this is not a hike for sandals even if you have feet as tough as a Hobbit), and clothing to accomodate quick weather changes. The day I was there, we had sun, rain, wind, and a dash of snow. Group sizes are limited and there's a fee, so you'll want to have a reservation in early.

Visited July 2011
6 Thank BiblioWalker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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