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Old 04-18-2013, 10:29 AM   #1
signtalker
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Question yosemite and snow chains

were visiting Yosemite from 15th May(coming from the monterey side), guessing by then snow chains wont be in force?

Weve been once in May before and didnt even know about them(not much snow related research before!)

im assuming that we wont need chains at this time of year .

can anybody enlighten me, so much conflicting information on different sites, some say from May 1st no, and some say you must carry them or render yourself liable to a hefty fine.

anybody help?

jules
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:56 PM   #2
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It's highly unlikely that you'd need chains that late in the season. Current webcams show no snow on the Valley floor, and there's only a dusting of snow at the higher elevations. That's not unusual. There can still be snow at the top of Half Dome in August.

http://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/webcams

There likely won't be a fine for not having chains. They'll typically have chain checkpoints and stop any vehicle that doesn't meet the requirements. In that case you'd just be stuck until the requirements are lifted. I understand there could be R1 chain conditions without checkpoints where one is supposedly required to carry chains. Also a 4WD/AWD vehicle could be waved past the checkpoint, but theoretically be required to carry chains in case the conditions get worse. I personally have never been asked to show my chains with my AWD car. I've been through chain checkpoints in the Lake Tahoe area as well as Yosemite.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:05 PM   #3
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Please learn from my mistake. A few years ago we went to Yosemite (camping in Wawona) a few days before Memorial Day weekend. The first 2 days of our trip were beautiful and clear Spring weather with amazing green grass and waterfalls galore....on the last night it said "possible snow flurries" in the weather. We thought that sounded exciting. Well we woke up at 6 am to a campground covered in snow. It was so deep they were putting up the chain signs in the Valley and we literally almost got stuck. We had no chains with us and a car that cannot even use chains. We were able to squeak out just in time and our car barely made it. It was dangerous and dumb. If we ever go in May again we will bring chains and a different car.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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Depends on where in Yosemite you're talking about. If you just want to go to the valley, then yes, it's unlikely (but not certain) that you'll need tire chains. OTOH, if you want to go to the high country, well then it's unlikely that Tioga Road will be open at all, even with chains. Tioga Pass usually opens in June, but July is not unheard of.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm

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Old 04-19-2013, 11:13 AM   #5
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Thanks guys, were coming from the monterey side, and no were not planning on wanting to go via the tioga pass.
were staying at the tenaya lodge in yosemite, so as long as we can get there, without needing chains we will be fine(we plan on having a lazy relax, with some walking), not planning on doing too much driving.

does this change things?

Jules
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signtalker View Post
Thanks guys, were coming from the monterey side, and no were not planning on wanting to go via the tioga pass.
were staying at the tenaya lodge in yosemite, so as long as we can get there, without needing chains we will be fine(we plan on having a lazy relax, with some walking), not planning on doing too much driving.

does this change things?

Jules
Just in case, Tenaya Lodge isn't actually in Yosemite. It's sort of halfway between Oakhurst and the south entrance. It's owned an operated by the same company that operates most of the NPS-owned lodging and services inside the park, but it's not subject to NPS control.

I really wouldn't worry about chains. If it really becomes an issue at the last moment, you could pick up chains in Oakhurst. They've got a supermarket and a drug store that carry chains (they get a lot of traffic there going to Yosemite in the winter), although I'm not sure if they'll have them that late in the year. In any case, there will probably be some place in town where you could find chains. If you really want to be prepared, you could get a set at a Wal-Mart in Modesto or Fresno on the way in, and return them if you don't end up using them.
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