Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Burgess Shale Hike

We are a rock-loving and fossil-loving family.  So when we were planning our trip out west in 2007, hubby requested that we visit the location of the world-famous Burgess Shale quarry.

The only way to gain access to the quarry is to go on a guided tour because it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Through tilting and folding of the rocks, over the past 500 million years, the fossils have ended up near the top of Mount Burgess in Yoho National Park, British Columbia.  So if we wanted to see them we needed to sign up for the guided hike.  The hike is rated as moderately difficult and is 20-km (12 miles) with an elevation gain of 760 metres (2888 feet) - yikes!

So sign up we did (and start excercising - which isn't easy to do when you live in relatively flat Southern Ontario).

See there I am - I made it to the Burgess Shale Fossil Quarry and lived to tell about it.

The lake way down below is Emerald Lake (see the pick axe at my feet that was used in the quarry and left there).

The day after our hike we went to Emerald Lake so we could look back to where we had hiked.  I marked up the next photo so you could see the approximate last part of the route we took and the location of the fossil beds.

This same view of Mount Burgess was used on our old 10-dollar bills.

It was definitely the farthest we have travelled to see fossils, but well worth it!


  1. Hi Grace, I do love the glimpses you give me of your beautiful country. I have Canadian friends and I do hope I get to visit one day. The colour of that lake is astonishing.

  2. Hi Grace,
    My nine year old daughter absolutely loves fossils. I am not as well educated on fossils but am quickly learning so that I can help her enjoy one of her many passions! It's fun. We haven't gone on any fossil "trips" but I'm sure she would love it. Is there anywhere you would suggest for a family that is newer to fossil exploration? Think: an area where we could find fossils but do other things as well! :-) We live in New York State. Thanks! This pictures are beautiful. Congratulations on finishing the hike!

  3. I love Emerald Lake. Good for you for doing this hike!

  4. What a fun family!! My Sam would love this but I don't think I'd make it as far as you did! Good for you!
    Beautiful pictures of such amazing scenery!

  5. Grace love that photo of you! Such a fun post!

  6. What a great experience this must have been! Quite the place -- such a beautiful view...

  7. Wow! I love this!! 1st the name of your blog. Second, the purpose of your blog. And Wow!! I love this post. Now I want to go there, and I'm pretty sure it's so far away, my hubby would not want to. :) But thank you for sharing it. I can dream. Visiting from the Girl Creative.