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[Yosemite]

First time snow driver

Travelling to and visiting Yosemite National Park in Winter and most of Spring, when snow is on the ground. Includes visiting in winter, snow play, downhill and nordic skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and snow camping.

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First time snow driver

Postby Saries7 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:25 am

I'm going to be driving to Yosemite from Los Angeles the second week of January. Being born and raised in Yosemite and not a huge driver, I have never driven in snow.
I drive a Honda Civic two door with low ground clearance (I believe it's 10 inches at the lowest, maybe 8 inches).
My question; can I drive this car in Yosemite in winter? Half the people I ask say I should rent a car with 4WD and the other half say I will have no trouble.

Also, all these people recommend snow tires. I live in Los Angeles and don't travel to snowy areas all that often. I fear purchasing these snow tires would be a waste on my budget since I won't need them beyond Yosemite. Can I get by just using tire chains or cables or do I *really* need snow tires?
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Postby Hikin Mike » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:10 pm

I wouldn't worry about renting a 4WD, but I grew up in Pennsylvania. I've driven my '87 Cavalier and a '85 Caprice without any problems. One time without chains, not very smart (or legal). I would just rent snow chains and know how to put/remove.
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Postby Saries7 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:24 pm

Thanks. I couldn't get a straight answer out of the people I asked, I thought this was the perfect place to ask though.
I'll just get myself some chains.

Thanks again for you help!
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Postby Hikin Mike » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:17 pm

Saries7 wrote:Thanks. I couldn't get a straight answer out of the people I asked, I thought this was the perfect place to ask though.
I'll just get myself some chains.

Thanks again for you help!


Just make sure you know how to install them. :wink:
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Postby Saries7 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:47 pm

Oh, for sure. I plan on practicing quite a lot before I head up there.
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Chains

Postby SteveH » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:11 pm

Generally when chains are required there are stations that will install them. However, if you practise it they really are more of a messy inconvenience than anything else. Even when conditions do not require chains you still may be required to have them in your vehicle or you will face a hefty fine if caught by law enforcement rangers without them in your possession. Best of luck on you trip.

/r
/r
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Postby oakroscoe » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:10 am

I had a 93 Honda civic and it was great in the snow. Front wheel drives are the way to go. Make sure you have chains with you, however if you do forget you can purchase them right before the gate to the Park. Also, it's not too bad of a deal to have them installed for $15 or $20 bucks.

I wouldn't rent a 4x4, the gas mileage in your civic will be much better. In California if it goes to R3 they shut down the roads. However, in yosemite R3, they will stay open but even 4x4s have to have chains. But in all honestly, if it gets to R3, you are better off just calling it a day then driving anywhere.

As for driving in snow, just take it very slow and gve plenty of room to cars around you. It's easy to drive straight, but stopping and turning are where the challenges are.

Finally, if you call 1-800-427-ROAD and input the number of thr highway you're on, cal trans will tell you whether or not chains are required.
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Postby AlmostThere » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:05 am

Don't forget some good work gloves and a jacket you don't care about getting muddy. Putting on chains in snow/slush with bare hands is a ....
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Re: First time snow driver

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:48 am

Yes, you must carry chains in winter - Federal regulations say so. Even if you have a 4WD. Most rental places don't like you to put chains on their rental vehicles.

You probably won't have to use them if you stick to 140 into the park, tho. But you should put them on the vehicle a couple times for practice just in case.
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Re: First time snow driver

Postby stripgaga » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:53 am

Chains are fairly simple to put on. I've used them before when going up mountain roads to go snowboarding right after it snowed and the road was slick. The only problem is the roads. Chains definitely help, but depending on how icy the road is, you'll still have to go slow and be very careful. Chains don't allow you to go very fast, like maybe 30-35 at the fastest, so when the roads are still super icy, you can still slide around a bit on the road. But maybe that was specific to me because the times I drove up, I was driving a huge 2004 Explorer and on the ice I could feel the back tires spinning a little bit trying to get traction.

But yeah, you don't need snow tires or all wheel drive, it's possible to drive in snow with chains. I've never driven a 4wd vehicle with snow tires so maybe that's the best option recommended because it performs better, not really sure, but chains do work.
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Re: First time snow driver

Postby petho » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:50 am

Here's a dumb question from a guy raised in Southern California where driving in snow is as rare as anything.
Do I need snow chains for the front and rear? I have a Jeep Liberty 4WD and will be visiting on the first weekend in March weather permitting.
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Re: First time snow driver

Postby dan » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:29 pm

No. Just chains for 2 tires. Rear tires except if you have front wheel only drive.
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Re: First time snow driver

Postby hotrod4x5 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:28 am

petho wrote:Here's a dumb question from a guy raised in Southern California where driving in snow is as rare as anything.
Do I need snow chains for the front and rear? I have a Jeep Liberty 4WD and will be visiting on the first weekend in March weather permitting.


I have an all wheel drive CRV and I put my chains on the front. That is my preference, for acceleration as well as turning traction.
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Re: First time snow driver

Postby petho » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:31 am

I saw someone mention renting chains, is there a place near the entrance of the park that rents chains? They are getting a hundred bucks for a set of chains here in town and they are non returnable.
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Re: First time snow driver

Postby dan » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:11 pm

In general, all chains are non-returnable. Stores don't want to carry chains for you to carry around then return in a few days.

You can rent chains in Oakhurst (49), Fish Camp (49), Mariposa (140). Don't know about the northern approach (120). I see the link below lists Groveland.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g6100 ... Sales.html
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