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Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

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Harleston, United...
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Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

Hi,

We will be driving from SF to Yosemite in September.

What time of day will be best to leave SF to avoid heavy traffic?

Also, we have booked a car with Sat Nav. Is it reliable, or should we get road maps as well? (we will be driving on to Death Valley after a couple of days in Yosemite)

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

You should ALWAYS travel with paper maps. There are still a few Sat Nav / GPS units that try to get folks to travel on seldom used fire roads rather than the main highway.

San Francisco
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2. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

Leaving San Francisco in the morning, the bulk of the commute will be going the other way. I left for Yosemite once at 4AM and when I hit the Altamont Pass about 5:15 I was doing 75MPH, the other side was stop-and-go.

Always take paper maps. Especially if you're traveling in Death Valley.

Harleston, United...
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3. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

Thanks for the quick response.

Can you recommend any particular road map and where to get it (them) ? Amazon?

San Jose, California
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4. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

I like Thomas Guides a lot for road maps in the US. They are in book format rather than fold up maps. The positive is that you get a lot more detail than on most fold up maps, just because there are more pages, so the map for each area is very detailed. Also, you don't have to fold and unfold the Thomas Guide. The downside is that the Thomas Guide is bulkier than fold up maps.

I have a general one for California and find it to be invaluable.

…randmcnally.com/thomas-brothers/thomas-guid…

Los Angeles, CA
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5. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

Here's a great article from the Sacramento Bee about folks who depend on their GPS in Death Valley.

sacbee.com/2011/…death-by-gps-in-desert.html

Be sure to read the Yosemite and Death Valley forums as well for good information.

On a related note, I own rural property in the mountains and I can tell you that many of the GPS maps as well as Google Maps have roads shown on them that are nothing more than old logging roads, many of which were graded for logging equipment as far back as the 20s and 30s. Many of these "roads" are overgrown with brush and are now nothing more than deer paths.

Oakland, California
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for Yosemite National Park
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6. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

IMHO, leave for Yosemite as soon as you can in the morning, so that you have as much time as possible in the park. However, to avoid traffic along the way, leave no later than noon or maybe one, on a weekday.

Your sat. nav. will get you out of the city OK, but I agree that paper maps are always a good backup, especially as you get to smaller highways and roads. You can probably get a good map at the Visitor's Center in SF near the cable car turnaround.

From SF, we like to take 120 into the park, although 140 works as well. 120 is just a bit more scenic, and seems to get you there a little sooner.

Limerick...
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7. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

We drove from Yosemite to Monterey.

Used GPS only.

We wound up on strange roads driving between farms that seemed to go on and on.

Saw strange animals think I saw a Dinosaur but not sure.

Do NOT depend on GPS

So Cal
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8. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

Thomas Guides are awesome; places like Target, WalMart etc used to have them, not sure if they still do. AAA has very good travel maps; perhaps check if there's a similar organization in the UK that offers reciprocal privileges? (AAA members get maps for free; I'm not sure if non-members can even buy them.)

Harleston, United...
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9. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

thanks to all for the very useful info.

California
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10. Re: Driving to Yosemite - leave to avoid heavy traffic

You never do say what day of the week you will make this drive - if you did say and I missed it, I'm sorry. Weekend mornings have significantly fewer cars.