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Old 02-22-2016, 08:39 PM   #1
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Hwy 120 Lee Vining to Yosemite Valley

Looking at trying to add a stop in Yosemite Valley in the fall. We will be over near Lee Vining and thinking of taking Hwy 120 over Tioga and into the valley. Reading on the Yosemite website it mentions a 10' 3" height restriction on 120 descending into the valley. I know I did this trip in my old motorhome years ago and it was 11' 10" but not 12' 10" like my current coach. Anyway that's what's on the website but searching around the web the opinion is that tour buses go up and down it all day and they are at least as tall if not taller than my rig. Anyone with real world experience driving this route?

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Old 02-22-2016, 08:56 PM   #2
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I did this drive years ago with a 12' high motorhome and about had a heart attack when I came around a mountain curve and there was a tunnel with the sign saying 10'3. Since the tunnel was situated right behind a blind curve, there was no time to stop before entering the tunnel. I waited for the impact but it never came. The tunnel is higher in the center but I didn't know whether I made it through with a foot to spare or an inch. Spent several days camping in Yosemite but I could not sleep at night worrying about the return trip.

On the day of departure, I left just before sunup when there was very little traffic. I had my wife go through the tunnel in our toad and block the oncoming lane, so that I could ride through on the center line where the tunnel height was at its greatest.

Although I made it safely, there is NO WAY would I go through that again.

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Old 02-23-2016, 05:40 PM   #3
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We have been through all the tunnels and we are 11'9". We did hug the center line. IIRC 10'3" is the height at the curb. There are two tunnels going into the valley on Big Oak Flat Road. As stated on the Yosemite website:

Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120)
Maximum vehicle length: 45 feet for single vehicle.
Height restrictions: tunnels, into Yosemite Valley: 10 feet 3 inches; from Yosemite Valley, 13 feet 8 inches (the height of the tunnel at the white fogline is higher and full sized tour buses are able to drive through the tunnel while remaining in their lane).
Tom, Patty, Hannah "The Big Dog" and Abby Kat, Indianapolis, Indiana 2000 36' FDS 72232 Our Photos
We live out in our old van. Travel all across this land. Drive until the city lights dissolve into a country sky, me and you - hand in hand.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:20 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, there are lots of sites with the word "Yosemite" in their names but there's only one site run by the National Park Service. It's the only site that I go to for reliable information and updated road conditions. Other sites sometimes try to paint an overly optimistic view of things so that you'll visit or buy things from their commercial venue.

The Vehicle Restrictions page is here (Tom and Patty quoted from it--THANKS!):
Vehicle Restrictions - Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

The "Visiting Yosemite with an RV" page is here:
Visiting Yosemite With an RV - Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

The Current Conditions page gives road and campground conditions:
Current Conditions - Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

And most importantly, the Driving Directions page is here:
Driving Directions - Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

The National Park Service doesn't recommend using a GPS to get you to Yosemite. A GPS will plan its routes based on what looks like the quickest way to get there as the crow flies, without regard to elevation. My high-end Garmin had me on what was litte more than a paved goat trail on the side of a cliff. I was scared driving my minivan on that narrow road. I would **never** want to drive on that road in an RV.

I tend to go on and on talking about Yosemite because it's one of my favorite spots on the planet. It's where I learned about camping when I was a child. I posted a much longer thing about visiting the park on another RV forum. I can send or post the link to it, if anybody's interested.
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:02 PM   #5
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Having lived in Fresno for 28 years and Yosemite in our back yard, stick to highways 41, 120 and 140 and you will be a happy RV'er. No need for those goat trails. Really, there are no goat trails, but there are Desert Big Horn Sheep in the Tioga Pass area.
Tom, Patty, Hannah "The Big Dog" and Abby Kat, Indianapolis, Indiana 2000 36' FDS 72232 Our Photos
We live out in our old van. Travel all across this land. Drive until the city lights dissolve into a country sky, me and you - hand in hand.
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:56 PM   #6
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I remember the 10'3" tunnel and had the same experience, slamming on the brakes. Did figure out when looking at it that it must be at the curb that the height was 10'3" but don't remember it saying what the height was in the center. It was a rental motorhome then...so I gunned it and went through!

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