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Sacramento to Mariposa

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Florida Space Coast
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Sacramento to Mariposa

We are flying into Sacramento, renting a car & driving to Mariposa on a Sunday afternoon in mid-October. I would like some advice on the best route to take because frankly, I am not used to driving in heavy traffic on muliti-lane highways. In the packet of information from our vacation rental it says to take HWY 99 to Merced, then get on 140.

I just want to make sure I am taking the best route, and if I kind of know what to expect I am sure that will be helpful. Thanks so much for any comments or suggestions.

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Washington State
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1. Re: Sacramento to Mariposa

My suggestion of the best route:

From SMF, get on I-5 south. Continue on I-5 through Sacramento all the way to Stockton. There may be some trucks sharing the road with you, but this is generally less busy than Hwy 99 and definitely has fewer vehicles merging into traffic.

In Stockton, take Hwy 4 eastbound. This is a newish elevated highway through the city and is fairly straightforward. This section is just a few miles long and has many lanes.

Now for the more congested part ... take Hwy 99 southbound toward Merced. This is an older highway with a few nice updated sections. There are some short on ramps and off ramps, so you have to watch for the vehicles entering and exiting the highway. It's not a problem, but there is a good bit of activity. Continue all the way to Merced and take the Hwy 140 exit. (If you want to visit a large Mexican grocery store, stop at Rancho San Miguel on the right just before you leave Merced. The Mexican cookies are just inside the right side door and are wonderful!) Anyway, continue on Hwy 140 all the way to Mariposa.

When you get back to SMF, there is a gas station about 1/2 mile from the car rental drop off. It's incredibly convenient! So don't prepay for gas, just fill it up yourself before returning the car.

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If you have any questions about visiting Yosemite, be sure to visit us on the Yosemite NP forum. We have some Top Questions about Yosemite in the upper right with good info as well.

Edited: 20 September 2011, 10:59
Florida Space Coast
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38 posts
7 reviews
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2. Re: Sacramento to Mariposa

THANKS! I really appreciate your detailed reply. (glad to know about the gas station close to the car rental place for when we return the car) I drive some in the Orlando, FL. area which isn't exactly "country roads", but I imagine nothing like the multi-lane highways in California....The route you suggest sounds much better than the one I was given by the rental agency. Yes, I have found lots of helpful information on the Yosemite forum too...Thanks again!!

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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3. Re: Sacramento to Mariposa

The "multilane highways in California" are near the large cities. Most of I-5 between Sacramento & Stockton is just two lanes in each direction, divided highway, 65 mph or 70 mph speed limit. Hwy 99 is mostly two lanes with oleander bushes dividing the two directions. Hwy 140 is one lane in each direction with a few passing lanes (stay to the right when the road "expands" so folks behind you can pass) and some turnouts.

You can go to Google Maps and drag the little yellow man onto the road and actually see what things look like. I haven't yet been to Florida, so I can't compare, but they seem like regular highways to me.

I was so happy when that gas station opened! Previously we had to get off the highway in Sacramento, drive down to city streets, find a gas station, back on the freeway, and continue ten miles out to the airport. The new system is wonderful ... the gas station is located so near to the car rental building. Here is a map (you won't need one, but I like maps) sacairports.org/int/terminal/rac/rental.htm The gas station is that small rectangle to the left of the word "Drive" in "Crossfield Drive." Stop for gas, pull onto Crossfield Drive & go right, turn left on Aviation Drive (against the blue arrows, it's a two way road), and you're there!

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