Guided Hikes Summary


Significance of the Burgess Shale

Come with us on a guided hike to discover one of the first marine ecosystems from 508 million years ago that established itself just after animals evolved. The Burgess Shale is a world renowned fossil site due in large part to the exquisite soft body preservation of the organisms.

The fossil record is mostly hard body parts; shells, bones, teeth, and other bio-mineralized structures. The Burgess Shale is one of the rare locations in the world that has soft-body preservation; the soft tissues of the organisms have been replaced by minerals so that paleontologists (and you) can see the entire organism. In recent years, paleontologists have been able to image primitive brains, hearts, livers, nerve networks, and brooding mothers with eggs - in organisms that lived 508 million years ago! Much of what we understand about early animal evolution is due to the exquisite preservation of the Burgess Shale.

Register for a Guided Hike today at 1-800-343-3006

If you wish to undertake a guided hike on a day that we have not scheduled a hike, please call for pricing for a private group.

Walcott Quarry | Mount Stephen Fossil Beds | Mount Stephen Family Hikes

It is not possible to visit the fossil sites on your own! They are protected sites within the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Visitors may access the fossil sites only in a guided hiking group that is led by a certified and licensed guide. Dogs are not permitted on the guided hikes.

BSGF Guided Hike to the Walcott QuarryThe Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation contract professional geoscientists, university graduate students and professors to conduct earth science educational guided hikes that will interpret the topics of geology, paleo-biology, climate science, bio-astro-physics and evolution during the hikes and that are developed for geoscience professionals, high school students, teachers, academics and the general public. The Foundation guides have been charged with the responsibility to provide all levels of understanding of these topics. These are Science-in-Action hikes that will pleasantly change your perception of the planet earth we live on forever.

Download the guided hikes brochure and check out the Burgess Shale virtual tour.

The earth science educational hikes include the following themes:

  1. History of Life on Earth (the story of the Burgess Shale and life that existed before the Burgess Shale)
  2. Rocks and Mountain Building (how these incredible mountains came to be and how the Burgess Shale marine animals, that once lived at the equator over half a billion years ago, died and managed to be perfectly preserved and remain intact during the mountain building processes. As well as the glaciations that scoured this are and how these precious animals can be viewed in-situ at an elevation of 7,600 feet above sea level)
  3. Landforms and Climate Science (incredible geomorphology can be viewed en-route to the Burgess Shale – Walcott Quarry)
  4. The importance of this Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site (that will ensure and provide Protection, Education and Interpretation of the Burgess Shale for future generations)

Private Groups

If you wish to undertake a guided hike on a day that we have not scheduled a hike, please call for pricing for a private group.

Meet Your Guides

Hugh Southee
Hugh Southee
Geoff Reith
Geoff Reith
Annie Cyr-Parent
Annie Cyr-Parent
Malcolm Dorsey
Jamie Hood
Cam Dorsey
Paul McNeil
Paul McNeil
David Moore
David Moore