In 1886 Richard McConnell climbed to the fossil beds on Mt Stephen, the source of the 'stone bugs' that had been found near the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. Charles Walcott learned about the fossil find, however it was in 1907 that he first visited the Fossil Beds. Clues led Charles Walcott to the Wapta Highline trail in the summer of 1909 where he made one of the most significant fossil discoveries in the world.
Stephen Jay Gould's Wonderful Life (1989) raised awareness about the exquisitely preserved fossils of the Burgess Shale. Jean-Bernard Caron's discovery of the Marble Canyon site heightened interest.
Fossils are in protected UNESCO World Heritage sites. Access is restricted to hikers who are in a group led by a certified licensed guide.