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Old 06-27-2015, 05:13 PM   #1
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Large Class A to Yosemite National Park

Motorhome is a 43' Entegra Anthem motorhome with a height clearance of 12'7". Planning a trip to Yosemite National Park next September after Labor Day. Can someone recommend the best route from Reno and a RV park that can accommodate a coach of my size. Will probably be traveling with a 45' Prevost Liberty coach with similar size issues. Both drivers have over 20 years experience driving large coaches, but just would prefer not to be a traffic hazard to others on the road.
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Old 06-27-2015, 06:59 PM   #2
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Coming from Reno you might consider staying in Lee Vining and driving the toads there for a nice day trip. It's a beautiful drive and you would get a chance to enjoy it.
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:32 PM   #3
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395 to Tioga Pass and into the park is certainly the most scenic, IMO. However, there are heigth restrictions between Crane Flat and the valley floor. Some have posted on this forum that they disregarded the heigth restrictions in the tunnels, and had no problems. Personally, I wouldn't want to get 1/2 way through a 2,000' tunnel and then have a problem on the heavily traveled highway 120, but that is just me. If you have concerns regarding the heigth restrictions, you will need to come into the park from south, which means a long drive over I80 from Reno to Sacramento to 99 south.

From the NPW 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).
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:02 PM   #4
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We're a little smaller at 40', and just did the reverse coming in from the South.

We spent a week in Coarsegold along Hwy 41. We then went into the South gate entrance down into the valley. Did the valley loop, and then turned off and went up Big Oak Flat Road (no problems as the tunnels are higher as you go out, vs coming into the valley). Then a bit along 120 toward the East where we joined family for another week at Yosemite Lakes, a 1000's trails park.

We ended up going East on Hwy 120, and down Tioga Pass on our way out of the area.

This was peak tourist season, and lots of rental cars and rental Class C's. A common problem that we saw during our two weeks in/out of the Valley visits, was the rental Class C's usually had their mirrors extended out as far as they could go. Saw many broken mirrors, and saw one get knocked off as to rental class C's passed each other going East on Hwy 120.

I mention that, as you were concerned about not wanting to crowd out people. But hopefully the crowds will have thinned with school starting back up in September.

When in doubt, go over and down 99!

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Old 07-03-2015, 02:24 AM   #5
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We came over Tioga pass from 395 and out the NW gate on 120 about 5 miles toward Groveland. Its a grade but no problem. Stayed at the 1000 Trails "Yosemite Lakes" (retail rvonthego.com but totally free for us) for just shy of three weeks. No tunnels to deal with on 120, just crazy CA drivers who like to speed down the NP road and get annoyed with a big rig being driven at a reasonable speed considering all the traffic and pedestrians. Some of 120 was getting repaved but that may be done by then. Had a full hookup 50 amp site and enjoyed our stay in our 45 footer (13' 2" plus). YMMV. Park is going through some remodeling. No cell phone service in the park (can get tower signal about 2 miles further down the road) and park wifi was slow but new equipment was about to be installed as we left (not available at the site, but at the office with lodge being redone). Note, most of the sites are 30 amp but I imagine after labor day crowds less so arriving early in the week would improve odds of getting 1st come 1st served 50 amp site if you are a member. Manager seemed pleasant to work with. River stocked at a couple of places within the park about once a week.

While there, saw/followed several tag axle tour/passenger busses into/out of valley through the tunnels. Tunnel walls highly arched and curbs offset so same tunnel is 13+ on one side and 10+ on the opposite lane. So those drivers just compensated. However, no need to take coach anywhere near the tunnels as toad is much better and campground is so close to the entrance gate.

We left continuing west on 120 and down winding grade we just took slow for the curves. We'll stay there again in a couple of years when hitting that part of the US again.
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:49 PM   #6
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Aw the trials of a big rig . . . If you have the time, here's the way I would do it. From Reno, take 80 to 49. Spend your first night (might want to make it more) at Jackson Rancheria in Jackson. Reputed to be perhaps the best in Cal. From there, head to the fairgrounds in Mariposa. Still on 49. Leave the rigs there & daytrip it to Yosemite. I would suggest that you read up on 49 to be sure there are no prohibitions that I am unaware of, but this is the route I would take in our little 37' gasser pulling C-RV. I would suggest reservations at both parks.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:39 PM   #7
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Highway 49 has several restricted areas you'd have to take an alternate route on to stay legal when you are over 40 foot bus/RV. Turns are tight and not sure if I'd want to risk a ticket or worse. Reference this CA DOT page.

45' Buses & Motorhomes

Specifically 45' Bus & Motorhome Map

See districts 3 and 10. And plan how you will take alternative back roads and streets for Auburn, Placerville, and Sonora. Some of the back road alternates are not that great either and may have their own weight limits on bridges (county road short cut around Sonora with a 1 lane bridge of only a few tons..., not sure about the city streets in town, but recall it might be possible to wander around on some city streets, but then again some have some low branches.)

YMMV and best wishes.
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Old 07-04-2015, 01:18 PM   #8
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I'm glad that time was taken to investigate 49. I did remember a short stretch near Auburn and another near Lake McClure(?) as being real steep. Internet here has been spotty. Case in point, when I tried to check the Mariposa Fairgrounds website, it kept timing out. That kept me from checking 49 myself. I would have hated to give bad advice. That's why I imcluded the cautions I did. Thanks again.
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:03 AM   #9
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Thanks for the responses. I am now looking at coming into Mariposa on Hwy 140 or into Groveland on Hwy 120. Not making the trip until next September so plenty of time for the DW to change all of my plans.
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