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Chains

Melbourne, Australia
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31 posts
3 reviews
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Chains

Hi All,

Only 5 days to go until my USA Road trip. Ive been posting a bit in the San Francisco forum.

I have a new dilema. I am renting a car next Monday from SF, driving to Yosemite lodge at the falls and then driving to Monterey on the Tuesday. I just checked the whether report and it says the snow will be starting to fall a couple of days before we get there and on the day we are driving to yosemite. And I will need to carry chains!

So if I going in one entrance and going out another way to Monterey, what should I do about chain hire?

Where can I hire chains close to the park? How much do they cost to hire? How close to the park is the last place that i can hire them?

If I take it back to this place can I then drive across to the highway that I need to be on to then drive to Monterey?

Your help is greatly appreciated

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
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64,540 posts
114 reviews
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1. Re: Chains

I don't think you'll be able to rent chains, you'll have to buy them and use them. Head to Hwy 140 and stop in Mariposa to buy them. It is possible that an Auto Parts store will sell them to you, and then refund the entire amount if you don't use them, but I don't know. Drive into and out of the Park on Hwy 140, the All Weather Route. It may add 20 or 30 minutes to your drive, but if it's snowy, this route is actually faster.

Another option is to park the rental car in Mariposa at the Park & Ride, then use the YARTS bus service to go into the Valley. Info on www.YARTS.com

Note: if you contact any Auto Parts store to ask about tire chains, the word you want is "rent." In the US, we 'rent' things and 'hire' people. It's possible that the clerk at the store will know what you mean if you say 'hire chains', but it's more likely he will understand you if you say 'rent chains.'

Have you read the info about Tire Chains that we have linked to the Top Questions in the upper right?

Melbourne, Australia
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31 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Chains

Thanks PacificNWFamily,

You have been a great help with my planning. With my planned route, I planned to drive Hwy 120 through Oakdale and Groveland. Do you know of any places I can buy chains there and is still an ok route to take?

What will I encounter on HWY 120 with snow compared to HWY 140?

Where would I need to turn to go to Mariposa?

Do you know roughly how much chains are to buy compared to rent approx?

Thanks for your help!

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
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64,540 posts
114 reviews
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3. Re: Chains

Hello again.

You can buy chains in Oakdale. The Hwy 120 route goes over a higher elevation (maybe 6500'?) and is more likely to have chain restrictions. The Hwy 140 route gently ascends along the Merced River and only goes as high as Yosemite Valley at 4,000' elevation.

Either go Hwy 120 (buy chains in Oakdale, drive up over a high mountain route, descend to the Valley)

or

go Hwy 140 through Mariposa & buy chains there, and drive up to the Valley

or

go Hwy 140 to Mariposa, park, take a scheduled YARTS bus.

I own chains and have not seen any rentals. Expect to pay $40 to $60 for chains, depending on the tires. Google "Auto Parts" and the name of the town where you plan to shop.

Dublin, California
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21,718 posts
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4. Re: Chains

Be aware that rental car companies may not allow you to put chains on your tire.

Melbourne, Australia
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31 posts
3 reviews
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5. Re: Chains

Thanks for the tip.

I just printed the map via mariposa. Although its an extra 20 miles, the approx time is almost the same and looks alot safer and easier. I will probably take this route now.

And I will going through Mariposa on the way out to Monterey.

Looks like I will have to buy chains there. I am surprised nobody rentschains nearby. Near our ski resorts, everybody rents chains. OH well. Looks like I will have to buy them. My wife wont be too happy though.

I didnt think about chains when I decided on yosemite. I better not tell the car rental place in SF I am going to Yosemite otherwise they might not let me take the car there.

Any other useful tips for me?

Will it be a scenic drive coming in on HWY 140?

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
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64,540 posts
114 reviews
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6. Re: Chains

Hwy 140 is at its best in spring, but I think the drive is very nice the rest of the year as well! You're right alongside the Merced River, so stop to check it out if you want. Then after you go thru the Arch Rock entrance, you'll be really really close to the river. It's an excellent drive.

Melbourne, Australia
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31 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: Chains

That sounds great.

Thanks for all of your advice. You have been a great help. I cant wait to see Yosemite and all of California.

I just checked the weather forecast and it looks like my 3 days in San Francisco will be raining. A bit unlucky. I checked last week and it said my first 3 days will be sunny. Sounds like Melbourne weather. Oh well I have 2 weeks in the states Im sure I will get some nice weather. Anyway Im glad I came on Trip Advisor to get some last minute tips. Cant wait til Friday.

This will make you laugh. I leave 11:45 Friday and get to SF 10:30 Friday, Even though Ill be on 2 flights for 15 and a half hours.

Anyway bring on Friday!

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
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64,540 posts
114 reviews
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8. Re: Chains

Have a marvelous trip!

Perth, Australia
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328 posts
5 reviews
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9. Re: Chains

Sounds like the longest day of your life.

Bangkok, Thailand
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10. Re: Chains

We travelled last December( 28th) from lake tahoe to yosemite. Did extensive research on chains. No rental car company will allow chains. We rented an all wheel drive( nissan extera) from hertz. We stayed at Groveland( blackberry inn) and Steve provided us with chains. You will need to carry chains as they might ask at the entrance to the park.That week it snowed big time and drove over Highway 50 yet we never needed the chain. Keep looking out for the chain control sign along the highway.

Yosemite in winter is gorgeous. Enjoy sking at badger pass