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Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

Perth, Australia
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Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

Hi. We would like some information re driving from San Fran to Lake Tahoe on 03 Jan 2013. We are looking at hiring a 12 seater Chevrolet Express and are wondering what the roads are like and would we require chains. Thank you, Rosemary

Chula Vista...
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1. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

Hi Rosemary,

Welcome to the forum.

It's difficult to predict what the weather conditions will be on 03 Jan 14--and even at that, in the mountains they can change hour-to-hour. The best thing to do is be prepared for the worse.

Here is the California Department of Transportation's (CALTRANS) website for road condition updates and whether chains will be mandatory or not:

http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi

Finally, that may be a moot point, as many car rental agencies do not permit chains to be installed on their cars. You'll have to check with the specific agency (or look for it in the T's & C's).

Zed

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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2. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

Here is a direct link to the California state forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28926-i29-Califor… You might want to ask questions there as well. Many folks make the drive from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe in winter.

I can't imagine going to Tahoe in a huge van with rear wheel drive, but I'm sure some folks do it. Or maybe this is an All-Wheel Drive version? You'd still need to carry chains and perhaps void your insurance by using them.

Perth, Australia
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3. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

Thanks Zed. If we decide not to drive can you suggest another transport option. Also, would you say the roads are in good condition.

Cheers

Rosemary

Chula Vista...
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4. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

Hi Rosemary,

If by "in good condition," you mean the pavement is satisfactory and the roads are well-designed, then I'd generally say, yes. But it would probably be best to ask in the Tahoe forum, as it's been a couple of years since I've been up there.

As far as alternate means of getting up there, I found this site:

http://www.bayareaskibus.com/directions/

I have no experience with that company, so you may want to check online reviews.

Also, here's information on the "Getting Here" page of the Lake Tahoe Visitor's Bureau website that may help you:

http://tahoesouth.com/getting_here/

Zed

Lewes, United...
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for Road Trips
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5. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

We have driven between SF and Lake Tahoe in storm conditions, for ski trips. Once long ago, we actually did need to use chains, and it was so long ago that the rental company actually provided the chains to fit the car (at a fee, of course). The chains did their job and duly trashed the wheel arches of the car, but the rental company had to suck up the damage as it was their chains and back in those days, we were allowed to use them. That's why rental companies longer rent out chains or allow chains sourced elsewhere to be used on their vehicles. Also, after bad weather, I've seen cars checked over for signs of using chains!

More recently, we checked the weather reports and changed our route. If you are going to South Lake Tahoe area, the shortest route would be via Sacramento and US 50.

When the Lincoln highway was closed between Pollock Pines and Luther Pass, we had to take the longer route via Truckee which goes over the Donner Pass (which can also be closed in really bad conditions) and Emigrant Pass, but we have found that I-80 is the road that more effort is made to keep open.

SWT

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

On a bad day you can have a lot of snow and ice on Donner pass on I80 and also on the us50 drive. Don't rent a car with just rwd.

7. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe

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