2 questions for Jasper/Banff trip

Aug 17th, 2009, 10:54 AM
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2 questions for Jasper/Banff trip

I have been reading the old threads and most of my questions have been answered, but here are two I haven't seen:

- we will be flying into Calgary and spending the night at a downtown Calgary hotel before we head to Jasper. Can someone recommend a good grocery store to stop at on our way out of town towards Banff? We will be car camping and want to stock up before we get into the high prices of the parks.

- if we're only going to do one Gondola, which one is 'the best"? Based on what I've read so far, I'm leaning towards Jasper.

candaceb is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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There are lots of supermarkets in Calgary and a Great Canadian Superstore (among others) in the downtown core.YOur hotel should be able to give you specific directions when you arrive. If you are looking for specialty grocery items, try the Eau Claire Market.

However, I am a little surprised that you are planning on driving all the way into town one day and then all the way out again the next...unless you are really keen to see downtown Calgary, this is pretty much a waste of time. You do know that Calgary is a massive, sprawling city?
LJ is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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The OP is flying into Calgary and then heading to the mountains; at least that's how I read it.

Don't go to Eau Clair market for groceries; there's hasn't been anything there in that regards for years. Which hotel are you staying at?

There's a Safeway 813 11th Ave SW and the Co-op Midtown Market is at 1130 11th Avenue SW. There's also Community Natural Foods at 1304 10th Ave SW which is natural/organic specialty market.

I'm guessing you're going to Banff from Calgary (your post is a bit ambiguous as to Jasper or Banff). If that is the case, you could take Bow Trail out of downtown heading west and there's a larger Safeway in Westbrook Mall (corner of Bow Trail and 37 Street SW). Then you can continue on Bow Trail until you hit Sarcee Trail and take that north and then take the 16 Ave (#1 highway) turn-off to Banff.
ShelliDawn is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 02:56 AM
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Others have already responded to the grocery store question -- I'd just say that make sure you do your grocery shopping in Calgary for better prices.

As for the tram -- since low lying clouds could obscure the views, I wouldn't plan on doing a specific one. Rather, I'd do the gondola where ever I happened to have a clear day first. We were in Banff in 2007 and did the tram there and enjoyed it very much. If you do that one, do the walk to the old weather station -- easy boardwalk walking. We're going to be in Jasper in August this year and hope to do the tram there as well -- weather permitting.
eenusa is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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Here's my 2 cents worth. If you are car camping you are on a budget so why stay downtown. There are a number of quality hotels on Barlow Trail or McKnight Blvd, that are close to the airport and away from the frustration of downtown driving.
The new circle highway is 1/2 finished and you can take it to the outskirts of Calgary. The Superstore is located in Country Hills just a few blocks of this route. If you arrive in Calgary early enough just grap groceries and get out of town. There are a number of camping opportunities just on the outside of the city. The Alberta government even has a website where you can book a site in provincial campgrounds. If you are going to Jasper via the David Thompson Highway there are a number of campsites on Hwy #2 as well as Highway #11. The provincial sites on #11 offer a excellent sampling of mountain camping and has less tourists. Just top up in Red Deer as gasoline along this route is 50% higher than Red Deer. We paid $1.49 litre at the Saskatchewan River Crossing last week when the price in Calgary was around $0.92 a litre. I haven't done either gondola ride for years but I think the one at Jasper is better. If you decide to go Highway #11 you can buy grocieries in Red Deer( 1.5 hours north) and you will just be 5 minutes out of your way or you could even go to the Walmart Superstore in Airdrie( 15 minutes north)
MrShort1 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 09:34 AM
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regarding the gondolas- I agree with previous, if you have a clear weather day do whichever one you are near. Clouds can cover over half the mountain so if you wait for another choice you might lose out altogether.
stephf54 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 10:52 AM
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Thanks for the input so far.

We're staying downtown because it's free And because we're saving over $150 on our car rental by picking up the car downtown instead of at the airport. I have Marriott points that I cashed in to stay at the downtown Marriott. Our flight gets in very late, so we'll take a cab to the hotel, and then get up in the morning, get the car, make a grocery stop, and head to the mountains.

We're going to Jasper for the first four days - but when I looked at the map it seemed like we would go through Banff to get there? Is there a better way?
candaceb is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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You could drive to Edmonton and then to Jasper, but it's longer and not nearly as scenic--in fact it's pretty much rolling prairie most of the way.

I'd certainly go through Banff to Jasper and return the same way. You will get different perspectives in each direction on the Icefields Parkway, and the scenery is stunning.
laverendrye is offline  
Aug 19th, 2009, 05:23 AM
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Like I had said before you can take Hwy #11 through Rocky Mountain House on the way there or back. It does add about 150km to the journey but you have an increase hwy speed of 10 km an hour on hwy 11 versus the National Park and less traffic. Hwy #11 from Hinton to hwy #93 was built in the early 1900's on a bet between the department of transportation and a local citizen. The government refused to extend the road past Hinton saying it couldn't be done. the local resident told them that he could practically drive his car there now and the government offical told him if he could do it then he would build the road. It took about a week for them to drive so the government built the road. It is very scenic.

Going through Edmonton adds about 250 km to your journey.
MrShort1 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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Another option is to head out of downtown via Memorial Drive, which will bring you to 16th Avenue (aka TransCanada Highway). There is a Safeways in Montgomery at 16th Avenue and Home Road, which is shortly before you leave the city. From there it is a straight shot to Banff.
Lenore_Trippy is offline  
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