Explore Burgess Shale fossil hikes

Yoho National Park

What is the Burgess Shale?

508 million years ago – long before dinosaurs roamed Earth - the world was a different place. A shallow sea covered what is now Kootenay and Yoho national parks. Today, Burgess Shale fossils are found high in the mountains pressed into shale-y rock beds, evidence of a diverse marine ecosystem that lived over 500 million years ago. These fossils are famous for how well-preserved they are, showing details, like eyeballs, brains and more. Want to see and hold Burgess Shale fossils for yourself? Join us on a guided hike – with 3 unique locations there is something for everyone!

Guided hike bookings:

  • Reservation launch: March 29, 2023 at 8 am MT
  • Online 24/7
  • By calling: 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783)

Choose your perfect Burgess Shale fossil adventure:

Walcott Quarry

Walcott Quarry

Visit one of the most important paleontological sites in the world! Delicate soft-bodied fossils show surprising connections to modern sea life. Views and fossils: this hike has it all.

Difficulty: Difficult
Return Distance: 22 km
Elevation Gain: 825 m
Duration: 11 hours
Schedule: 7 am to 6 pm
Meeting Point: Takakkaw falls parking lot, Yoho, B.C.

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hikers passing fossils on a trail

Mount Stephen

Explore everything trilobite. Anatomy, preservation, history and more fossils than you believed possible! Journey through steep terrain on this unforgettable Burgess Shale experience.

Difficulty: Difficult
Return Distance: 8 km
Elevation Gain:795 m
Duration: 7.5 hours
Schedule: 7 am to 2:30 pm
Meeting Point:Yoho National Park Visitor Centre, Field, B.C

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a child holding up a fossil to the camera

Stanley Glacier

Moderate effort, big views! Learn how newly discovered fossils show exciting details in ancient animals. From a third eye to jackknife-like claws: experience the links to modern life.

Return Distance: 10 km
Elevation Gain: 365 m
Duration: 7.5 hours
Schedule: 8 am to 3:30 pm
Meeting Point:Stanley Glacier trailhead, Kootenay, B.C.

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Why take a guided hike to the Burgess Shale?

  • Informative, expert guides
  • Access to restricted UNESCO sites *Mount Stephen and Walcott Quarry
  • Touch some of the oldest animal fossils on Earth
  • Safe, fun group environment
  • Behind the scenes knowledge
  • Spectacular scenery
  • Must-do Canadian Rockies experience

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