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Old 04-01-2014, 07:36 PM   #1
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Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Minnesota
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Advice on roads around and through Yosemite

We are planning a trip to Yosemite in late summer. I have been looking at the Park Service website and the restrictions on the roads are a bit confusing. There are length and height restrictions on most roads. We will be driving our 40' MH with a Tahoe behind coming from Minnesota. What are the best roads to use getting into and through the park?

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Old 04-02-2014, 07:32 AM   #2
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Two main roads in and out of Yosemite. 120 and 141. Coming from the East, 120 will take you through the high altitude Tioga Pass. This road is often closed until June because of deep snow. Going out of Yosemite west bound on 120 is OK, but there are a couple tunnels that might challenge a tall RV. You should check in advance.

Hwy 141 is probably an easier road in and out...it comes into the valley from the south. May be a longer haul, but some people will tell you it's worth it.

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Old 04-02-2014, 07:34 PM   #3
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^^^its hwy 41 not 141.

You will want to find a campground in the Yosemite valley and drive the Tahoe through the park to see the sights. Not much parking for a 40&toad.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:44 AM   #4
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You have actually have four choices to choose from. Three of them will require you to cross over the Sierras on I80 from Reno to Sacramento then go south to Yosemite via I5, US99 or CA49. As stated find a park out of the valley to stay and visit via toad.

Entering from the west;
Fastest method;
  • Smoothest Route but longer: I80 to I5, south on I5 to Gustine / CA140 East to Merced, Mariposa and the Yosemite Gate / Entrance to Yosemite Valley
  • Faster route but can be rough, sometimes lots of construction: I80 to US99, south on US99 to Merced / CA140 East to Mariposa and the Yosemite Gate / Entrance to Yosemite Valley
Scenic route;
  • I80 to CA49 in Auburn, CA49 south to CA120 to the Yosemite gate and the Valley.
  • Cons: it's a two lane, twisty road, can be done in a day but you'll feel it by the time you get there! It's definately doable but you might encounter a few white-knuckle experiences but more than big enough for a big rig.
  • Pros: You'll see all the historic Gold Country towns along the route, beautiful lakes and scenery. There are some cool places to spend the night if your so inclined.
Tioga Pass from the east;
  • Once in Reno take US395 south to Mono Lake (worth checking out), take CA120 west. Absolutely beautiful drive up a very long grade to the summit. You will probably be creeping so be prepared. The view is worth it but you can do it in the toad too. There's not many places for a big rig to pull over but it can be done. At the summit there's pullouts and lots to see sights, can be busy. The Meadow section is narrow and twisty with virtually no chance to pull over unless your real lucky as it's usually overly packed with people, cars and tour buses there in the summer.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:03 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for the advice guys!
It gives me a great start to planning our trip.
1994 40' Holiday Rambler Navigator (Jenny II)
Chevy Tahoe following very closely
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:58 PM   #6
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We wanted to visit the ghost town of Bodie and explore around Mono Lake so we stayed in Lee Vining at Mono Vista RV(which is a very nice CG) off of 395. The campground is less than a mile from 120 which leads to the east gate of Yosemite. We drove into the park four times for all day excursions along with some great Jeep roads in the area. Yosemite and backcountry roading(they even have glossy booklets with included maps to encourage off roading) were some of our favorite adventures. We stayed a full week in the area and even Jeeped some old stage coach roads...what a blast.

When we left, we drove 120 to 41 and headed south past Fresno to Three Rivers for visits to Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs...If possible, do not miss Kings Canyon - it was one of our biggest surprises of the trip.

BTW, we did disconnect the toad for the long pull up 120 past Tioga Pass. Reconnected and had no problems with the roads inside the park...it's kind of slow going anyway.
Jan and Bob

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Old 04-03-2014, 10:23 PM   #7
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I was in Yosemite just last week, My coach is 12' 8" tall and cleared all four tunnels. The clearance ht is marked 10 something at the curb. I just kept very close if not on top of the double yellow line and all was good. On coming traffic was quite respectful and gave me the extra room. Go for it!!!

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