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Burgess Shale Geoscience FoundationAdd To Favourites

Burgess Shale

201 Kicking Horse Ave, Field, 
British Columbia, V0A 1G0

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.


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Policies & Restrictions

Cancellation Policy
No refunds provided except for medical issues. Signed letter from physician is required. $20 per person for changes to registrations.
Group Policy
Phone to make private group reservations. Maximum 12 per group and up to two groups to same destination.
Age Restrictions
Geo-Walk program is recommended for all ages and abilities; accessible to parents with strollers and to participants who require wheeled aids to mobility. Mt Stephen guided hike: suitable for hardy hikers age 7 and up. Walcott Quarry guided hike: Due to length of hike is recommended for ages 12 and up.
Clothing Gear Required
You must be prepared to hike in the rain or shine. Carry a backpack with extra layers: rain jacket, gloves, sun hat, warm knitted hat and sun screen lotion. Participants must bring their own lunch and adequate water (recommend 2 litres on the full-day hikes). Hiking poles are optional.
Mobility Restrictions
The Geo-Walk program is suitable for all abilities. The Field School building has a level entrance for wheeled mobility aids. Guided hike participants must be prepared to get themselves up and down to the fossil sites without assistance. Trails are in the backcountry.
Weight Restriction
Guided hike participants must be in good physical condition and prepared to hike a half marathon distance over the day and to ascend and descend 825 m (2710 ft) of elevation.