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4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

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4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

Hi there

We're looking to travel to San Francisco from the UK in February and then head out to Yosemite for a few days of skiing etc.

To get into the park we'll require snow chains in the car and I've been advised to get a four wheel drive too.

I've tried contacting the main car rental companies, but haven't managed to get anywhere.

Can anybody recommend a company that will offer snow chains? Have you found a similar issue in the past?


San Francisco...
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1. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

this page could have your answers: …deanza.edu/donahuemary/Snowchainrentals

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2. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

Have you ever driven in the snow? Are you experienced? Just because you have a 4X with chains, does not mean you will be a safe driver. If you don't have the experience, forget it. Chuck...

San Jose, California
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3. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

Most, if not all, rental companies forbid you from putting chains on their vehicles. If installed wrong they can cause body damage to the car.

90% of the time 4x4 w/o chains will be adequate. If the weather is so bad you need a 4x4 and chains you probably don't want to be skiing anyway.

Santa Cruz...
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4. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

I am confused.

Most of the time you do not need chains to get to Yosemite. The major roads with snow are closed in the winter.

Where are you skiing in Yosemite? I don't remember any ski areas in the vicinity.

Washington State
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5. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

delta ~ lots of advice coming your way.

You are correct. The law requires that you CARRY chains in your car to get into Yosemite National Park. Many rental companies do not allow you to put chains on the tires, but you must have them in your possession to enter the Park. If the roads are so snowy that chains are required on your 4WD rental vehicle, then you probably don't want to be driving. (We've driven in the snow for 30 years, and neither my husband nor I like to drive with chains on either of our 4WD vehicles; we stay home!) Check out the winter posts on the Yosemite forum to get more info about chains & rental cars.

Badger Pass in Yosemite is a great place to ski. Most of the runs are intermediate, the folks are friendly, and the snow can be terrific. Use the free bus from the Valley to get up to Badger. You can also rent cross country skis and head out the (closed) Glacier Point road. Snowshoe walks with the Rangers & snow tubing are other fun activities.

Many US schools are on break for President's Weekend or President's Week. The actual holiday is February 16th. The busy week will be Feb 14-22. If you can avoid that week, you'll have smaller crowds. Do you already have your lodging reserved?

Have a wonderful vacation.

Long Barn...
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6. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

This is a common type question asked on the Yosemite Forum. This question would be better asked over there than San Francisco where they never have snow issues.

Here is one thread about this issue from the Yosemite board:


If you travel into Yosemite through Hwy 140 into the valley, you most likely will not have chain issues, as this is a much lower elevation. You can then use the bus service to Badger Pass.

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7. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

Thanks all for the replies. I posted here as I'll be flying in to San Fran and therefore need to know a rental company in the are who offer the chains etc.

I've had some experience driving in the Alps so that's not too much of an issue. Besides, if it's that bad I'm not actually going to drive in the snow, however, the park will not allow access withouth them (they search at entrance) so I have little choice!

There's a place in Yosemite called Badger Pass which has several ski runs - they do cross country skiing too. The rest of the time we'll just be staying in doors, but like I say, to gain access to the park I'll need the chains.

I've since found that Virgin Atlantic offer chains on their car rentals, through a company called Dollar I believe.

If anyone else has the same issue take a look!

Thanks again

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8. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

Hi PacificNWFamily

Thanks for your reply - we're looking to stay at Tenaya Lodge which is just outside of the park at Fish Camp. We've been here before (during autumn) and it's a lovely place! It will probably be 12-16 Feb... so, maybe not the best time?...


9. Re: 4x4 Rental with Snow Chains in San Fran

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