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“Educational, informative, great exercise and terrific views”
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.
Calgary
Level Contributor
167 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“Educational, informative, great exercise and terrific views”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 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
Helpful?
6 Thank ClaireCalgary
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
    34
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    2
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
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  • Any
English first
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 July 25, 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.
Orillia, Canada
Level Contributor
66 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Impressive”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 22, 2012

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

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank lynnfrombarrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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 March 10, 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
Helpful?
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 March 6, 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
Helpful?
2 Thank Looosy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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