Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail is a 9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
This hike is considered to be THE best in Shenandoah National Park. It is pretty hard climb, but when you make it about 3/4 of the way up, then you have some rock scrambling that makes your pace a little slower. There are alot of switchbacks, so you will not be going straight up, but the trails are still at a steep grade. The descent, which is a longer distance than the ascent, is a much more gradual grade, ending on a fire trail. This hike begins with a one-mile walk up the road to the original Old Rag Parking lot (port-a-pots here.) Turn left onto the Ridge Trail and begin your approximate two mile ascent with switchbacks before reaching the boulder scramble section. There are handwritten numbers below the blue trail blazes throughout the trail. You’ll be going up, down, in between, around, and underneath granite boulders throughout the scramble. While going through the boulder scramble, keep your eyes open for the blue blazes, as sometimes they are in the strangest places. If you have a fear of heights, or jumping across crevasses, this will challenge you and encourage you to overcome your fears. Each time you think you’ve reached the summit – you haven’t! This mountain likes to play with you and has several false summits. You’ll know that you’ve reached the top when you see the Old Rag Mountain brown elevation sign. Find a lovely rock with a fabulous view for your lunch spot here, before starting your descent on the back of the mountain by way of the Saddle Trail. Rock hopping down, you’ll pass two shelters. First the Byrds Nest Shelter, then the Old Rag Shelter (privy here) before hitting a cross-roads. Stay to your right to continue back on the Weakley Hollow Fire Road for about four miles to return to the parking lot. This section can seem like it’ll last forever. You will pass through beautiful forests and see Brokenback Run that leads into the Hughes River.
The effort is definitely worth it with an amazing view!! Great for sunsets!
This is definitely one of my favorites (for a day or night hike)! This 9 mile trail has great views of the Shenandoah and has some great rock scrambles and overlooks. Definitely come prepared to pull and climb up some rocks! It makes for a fantastic night hike with stellar sunrise views. ☀️⛰
Great trail - the first half way to the summit was great because it offered a lot of diverse challenges. The first few miles includes switchbacks and some pretty steep walking paths- that being said it was easy to keep a good pace and get your heart rate up - as you reach the ridge you are struck with breathtaking views at multiple points. The challenge then becomes not so much to steep inclines but very dynamic hurdles over various rock formations. I never felt it was unsafe but you definitely need to stay focused. The scramble was of course the most notable point as all the reviews state. I encourage anyone to take your time through the boulder portion and get off trail a bit because there are all kinds of small offshoot trails that lead to hidden perches that are perfect for taking it all in. The summit was great as well. I recommend walking a 1/2 mile further to stop eat, hang a hammock and spend an hr or so at this small clearing with a fire pit and picnic tables. The last leg was a welcome return to a simple clear dirt path. As you descend the mountain side your given multiple opportunities to look back at all you've accomplished, we decided to stop at the river and take our boots off to let the cold mountain runoff mend our aching legs before wrapping up. Great Hike! I'll definitely be back!!
Great trail... Not good for kids, took me about 5 hours total to go up and down... Creeks, rock scrambles, and great views. I would rate as moderately hard.
Very challenging but worth it!
Fan-freaking-tastic hike. Mind this is a hike that makes you work, but boy is the view rewarding. But hey, the hike itself is very fun, with some rock scrambling around the summit. Views on both sides are great! A must in Shenandoah.
About to do this for the 9th time, and it is always amazing.
This 9 mile hike has been my favorite in Shenandoah! It's very challenging but extremely fun with the multiple rock scrambles. The view at the summit is absolutely amazing and definitely worth the hike. Even on a crowded day, there are lots of stopping points and overlooks before you reach the summit to take breaks at with still breathtaking views. I did the hike late to catch the sunset and used a flashlight on the way down which wasn't too challenging! I highly recommend trying to catch the sunset!