.All Trips / British Columbia / North America / Western Canada

A visit to the Burgess Shale. Stanley Glacier, Kootenay National Park

04. Stanley Glacier valley. Looking for fossils (54) Trilobite

One of the world’s most famous fossil sites is Canada’s Burgess Shale, which contains a large assortment of ancient and amazingly well-preserved (often soft-bodied) marine fossils.  Originally discovered at high altitude in the mountains of British Columbia’s Yoho National Park in 1909, the Burgess Shale was one of the important reasons for the designation of the region as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  There are two Burgess Shale sites in Yoho National Park you can visit, both long hikes with significant altitude gain.  One is to Mount Stephen and the other to Walcott Quarry.

Recently a sister site has been discovered further south in Kootenay National Park, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the original site.  That …

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“Pic of the Week”. February 01, 2013. Paint Pots and Ocher beds, Kootenay National Park, British Colombia.

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Kootenay National Park lies just west of Banff on the eastern (i.e. wetter) part of the Continental Divide.  It’s a great park to drive through , especially popular with antique car owners in the summer, with grand vistas.  Situated in this vast landscape is a small place covering a few acres, where large amounts of pigmented material lies on the earth’s surface.

I discovered the Paint Pots while exploring trails in this area.  There are three “pots”, formed by cold mineral springs with deposits of iron oxide rich soil around them.  As these deposits increase the rim is elevated — hence forming a “pot” instead of just a pool.  The water is a greenish (where a …

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.All Trips / British Columbia / North America / Western Canada

Kootenay National Park: Fire and Ice; views from the Stanley Glacier Trail

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Among the most popular hikes in Kootenay National Park is the trail to Stanley Glacier, situated in British Columbia near Alberta, close to Castle Junction in Banff National Park.  The trail provides a great half day hiking opportunity.  It’s an 8.5 km round trip hike (just over 5 miles) and has a modest elevation gain of 365 m (about 1200 ft).   I would rate it as a “moderate” effort hike.
The hike encompasses much of what makes the Canadian Rockies a special place to visit.  There are grand panoramic views of tall mountains and a deep valley, a hanging glacier in a hanging valley, crystal clear creeks, and the sequelae of several forest fires …

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