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Old 05-08-2015, 02:05 PM   #1
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Reno, NV to Mariposa, CA via Yosemite

Looks like the shortest route is to take 390 south to 395 to Lee Vining and then Tioga Pass through the Park to Big Oak Flat Road then El Portal Road (140) to Mariposa. We have reservations at the Mariposa KOA. Any forseeable problem with a 28' Class A (12'2" height) towing a 12' utility trailer? I've been watching the YouTube videos of Tioga Pass and it seems to be a spectacular road. I've had a fair amount of experience with a 24' Class C towing a trailer through the Rockies, Cascades, and the mountains of Western PA.

Am I lulling myself into a false sense of security? Should I consider the alternate route: I-80 to Sacramento and then 99 south to Mariposa?

Your thoughts and suggestions will be most welcome.

Chris
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:29 PM   #2
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Rt-120 crosses over from Lee Vining. I've traveled that road a couple times eastbound between RT-140 (Yosemite) and US-395 (Lee Vining) in a car. You'll be going westbound.

Its doable, Its a beautiful route, but not the shortest or easiest. Its a long hard climb between Lee Vining and Tioga Pass, take your time.

(Check weather conditions - fall, winter, spring, this road is closed)

Keep us posted, I'd be interested in taking the same route in a 30 ft with a TOAD
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:39 PM   #3
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Tioga pass is spectacular. It's also steep, twisty, and, as mentioned, a long, slow slog to get up and over it. Lots of fun in a sports car. You'll have cars lined up behind you, and there are very few places to pull out to let them by.

This is from the National Park Service web site, special notice park alert (8 May 2015):
  • Tioga Road (Hwy 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road are temporarily closed

    The Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road are temporarily closed due to snow. Check current road conditions/chain requirements by calling 209/372-0200 (then press 1 then 1).
Be certain to check on the opening of Tioga Pass before you make plans. With all the heavy snow n the Sierras, it may be closed when you plan on going through - didn't see any date in your first post.
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:41 PM   #4
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We will be heading out from Reno on May 17th.

Chris
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:56 PM   #5
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Definitely worth keeping an eye on the weather.
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:06 PM   #6
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Considering that both Tioga and Glacier Point roads are currently closed due to snow, I couldn't agree with you more.
Chris
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:17 PM   #7
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As mentioned, make sure Tioga is open. It can be closed into June. Although we haven't received much snow this year, part of the road closure is connected to the whimsy of the NPS, not just snow. But more importantly:

The route you have picked is what I would have chosen in a car, BUT you are too high for the height restrictions in the tunnels between Crane Flat and the valley floor. You can enter the park (assuming Tioga is open), cross the pass, turn left at Crane Flat onto Big Oak Flat Road, and drive as far as the tunnels, where you are stymied. (For those who don't know, the three tunnels (?) on Big Oak Flat Road are all within just a couple of miles from the valley floor. You can actually see the 2,000' tunnel using Google earth, but the smaller tunnels, I can't spot.)

From Vehicle Restrictions - Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

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).

As an alternate route, conside 395 to 88 and cross the Sierra on 88. A beautiful, scenic highway and no serious RV challenges. Take 88 all the way to 99, then 99 south to get you to Mariposa. Although from Jackson you can go south on 49 to Mariposa, through the gold country, Highway 49 between the junction of 49/120, and Mariposa, has sections that are very slow, curvy and nauseating (even in a car). If that curvy road is okay with you, taking 49 from Jackson to Mariposa will save you probably a hundred miles vs. going on through to 99.
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Old 05-09-2015, 07:34 AM   #8
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I should have added that if you don't mind the curves of highway 49 between the 49/120 junction and Mariposa, you could take 395 south to Tioga, go over Tioga Pass (if open), but instead of turning left at Crane Flat to go to the valley floor, turn right to exit the park on 120, then left on 49 south to Mariposa.
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Old 05-09-2015, 10:08 PM   #9
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Going south on 49 between Coulterville and Mariposa will be the biggest challenge. The road drops sharply down to Bagby Rec Area. Then the twisting climb back up towards Mariposa.
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:23 AM   #10
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I have the same coach as you, a Vista 27N. I had no problems going through the tunnels on Highway 120 down to the intersection with 140. Just hug the centerline and you will be ok. Also no problem with 120 over Tioga Pass; it will be slow going but easily done.

In all cases avoid Highway 49 from Mariposa north to Coulterville. I did that once when I had my 21 foot travel trailer. I had to slow to 5 mph to stay on my side of the road on some of those hairpin turns. I swear I could see the tail lights on my trailer.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:07 AM   #11
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Well it appears to be moot since Tioga Pass is currently closed due to snow. So, we'll take 80 from Reno and then 99 south to Merced and 140 to Mariposa. If things clear up, should I have any problems heading east on 140 then 120 to Lee Vining. Our next destination is Death Valley. From what Finally Time said, I shouldn't have a problem with the tunnels. Just how close are you hugging the centerline and how long are these tunnels?

We're currently in Wendover, NV and after three days of gusting winds across the plains and then snow in western Wyoming, I'm asking myself, "What's next?"

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:35 PM   #12
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Just run your left tires up close to the center double line. You don't have to be on the double line. If you are coming down into the valley (east), there is a walk-way the right, so you don't even have to get that close to the center. (The tunnels are shaped like a quonset hut.) One tunnel is pretty short, I'd say about 1/4 mile, the other might be around 1/2 mile.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:43 PM   #13
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Finally Time,

Thanks for the information. I really appreciate it.

Chris
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:08 PM   #14
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A few cautions IMHO for your decent into Lee Vining from Tioga Pass.
  • When you make the 180 degree left turn just past Ellery Lake keep your speed down to 25 mph. You can always increase your speed if you feel you are coming down too slow. Don't worry about the cars behind you. There are plenty of passing zones on the decent and 4 wheelers can pass with ease, although most won't. Speed limit is 35 most of the way down as I recall.
  • Pull outs need to be planned way in advance because it takes plenty of brakes to get you stopped on the down grade. No doubt you will smell brakes of 4 wheelers in front of you. We have been over the pass four times and only used the pullouts the first time. Let the cars stack up if they don't want to pass, they will reach the bottom with you safely.
  • Lastly, the stop sign at the intersection of 120 and 395 is at the bottom of a grade. Make sure your brakes are not hot. The last mile is very deceiving .
The Chevron on the south side (right) of 120 just before 395 used to have some killer sandwiches.

158 is a nice side trip around Grant Lake, Silver Lake, Gull Lake and June Lake. There is a large campground around June Lake. 158 connects back up with 395.

That's how we remember it from 2004-2007! Travel safe.
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