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Tuolumne Meadows and Lembert Dome during a summer storm, Yosemite National Park

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Re: November Visit

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November Visit
October 18, 2013 03:51PM
My wife and I are over from Scotland in mid-November, driving from Vegas to SF. I'd been hoping to spend a couple of nights in Yosemite on the way, hopefully get a couple of hikes in. I'm guessing from the posts here that all the roads over from that side of the Sierra are shut by then; is my best option then to head up via Fresno and Oakhurst? If I do that, is there much to do at that time of year? We won't have much gear (baggage restrictions!) but would be keen on short hikes, seeing the scenery etc. Any tips or ideas for us? We were over in September a couple of years ago briefly and loved it; will be get much more out of a trip at this time?
thanks
Calum
avatar Re: November Visit
October 18, 2013 09:40PM
Tioga Pass may be still open. Be sure to check before you decide on your route.
avatar Re: November Visit
October 19, 2013 01:52AM
Have you already seen this NPS page?

Quote

Chain Controls

You must have tire chains or cables in your possession when entering a designated chain control area, even if you're driving a four-wheel drive or rental vehicle. (Designation is by a sign that says, "CHAINS REQUIRED." ) Conditions dictate when chains are required, therefore, it's not possible to predict if chains will be required ahead of time. We strongly recommend that you have chains when visiting Yosemite from November through March (chain requirements may be in place on occasion as early as September or as late as May); conditions can change rapidly and chains can become required at any time.
Re: November Visit
October 19, 2013 05:53AM
Thanks guys; gophersnake, I'm guessing snow chains may be a difficult add-on to a rental pickup in Las Vegas?! I really fancied seeing Death Valley and was going to head via there; would I need snow chains if I was to bypass Yosemite and head over the Sierra at Tahoe?
avatar Re: November Visit
October 19, 2013 08:43AM
You might, it depends entirely on the weather. Here's the CalTrans page on Chain Controls.

If you were driving up US395 towards Tahoe and a storm is coming in, you could presumably buy chains in Bishop - from Sherwin Grade northward chain controls are possible, and they are also possible on all the trans-Sierra crossings (88 is the southernmost road that doesn't close for the winter). If you wanted to see Yosemite and Tioga Pass is already closed for the winter you could take 58 towards the Central Valley which would likely be fine. Again, if a storm is coming in you could get chains, probably along 41 in Fresno or further up in Oakhurst, before heading up into Yosemite.
avatar Re: November Visit
October 26, 2013 11:10AM
Quote
clum2
Thanks guys; gophersnake, I'm guessing snow chains may be a difficult add-on to a rental pickup in Las Vegas?! I really fancied seeing Death Valley and was going to head via there; would I need snow chains if I was to bypass Yosemite and head over the Sierra at Tahoe?

Rent a 4WD/AWD if you can.
Re: November Visit
October 27, 2013 09:20PM
Quote
boomtown
Quote
clum2
Thanks guys; gophersnake, I'm guessing snow chains may be a difficult add-on to a rental pickup in Las Vegas?! I really fancied seeing Death Valley and was going to head via there; would I need snow chains if I was to bypass Yosemite and head over the Sierra at Tahoe?

Rent a 4WD/AWD if you can.
They still will need to carry chains.
Re: November Visit
October 28, 2013 03:06PM
Hi Guys,
Is the consensus that I'd need a 4wd and snow chains if I want to cross the Sierra anywhere north of I15? Would I need either/both if I continued up from Death Valley to Reno and crossed via the I80 to Sacramento?
Your help is very useful and much appreciated, coming from a country where we have only a few roads that are blocked by snow each winter!
Calum
avatar Re: November Visit
October 29, 2013 06:37PM
Reviewing the three CalTrans chain requirements:

- R1: Chains or "M+S" (mud and snow, though some tires with that marking aren't suitable for either)
- R2: 4WD OR AWD With M+S or Chains
- R3: Chains

R3 is extremely rare - it is far more likely that before the conditions get to R3 buttheads will crash into each other, blocking plows from getting through and allowing snow to pile up, thereby closing the road. I've driven extensively in Tahoe area snow, never driven R3 (did put chains on a AWD once on a residential street), and heard an R3 report once (CA-267 to Tahoe when CA-89 to Tahoe wasa closed due to avalanche).

That said, I've owned Subarus (AWD) since 1997. I've always carried chains, never had a police officer ask to see them, but I have a friend who was asked about chains for his 4WD Jeep Grand Cherokee when he slid on ice and went into a snowbank. So...the law requiring one to carry chains even with 4WD/AWD can be enforced.

As a visitor, though, in November (which is really the beginning of the wet season - December through March is the height), I wouldn't bother reserving 4WD. Get chains if weather threatens, if you're driving up US-395 to Tahoe get them in Bishop, if you're going up CA-41 to Yosemite get them in Fresno. If you arrive with lots of really bad weather threatening and 4WD/AWD is available for rent then just pay the extra cost and treat it as an unexpected and unlikely added cost.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/29/2013 07:06PM by ttilley.
avatar Re: November Visit
October 29, 2013 07:50PM
LOL! Got to love those buttheads! Somebody find the nest!



www.pbase.com/caesar77
Re: November Visit
October 29, 2013 09:30PM
We have driven Land Rovers since 1989 and have been asked several times in Yosemite to show our chains but have never had to use them. I am originally from Pennsylvania and we always had snow tires for winter and I have never put on chains so it would be interesting if I ever had to.
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