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.
Unbeatable views and some very fun scrambling. BUT - the crowds can be huge at different parts of the year. Like bumper to bumper traffic bad - lines at the top of the mountain to get past certain scrambles which could take forever based on some of the people I have seen attempt this trail. If going during peak colors - going during the week.
Its a great hike, but super sketchy with ice. I completed this on 1/06/17. views are worth it!
Fantastic hike! Didn't see a single hiker till I was headed back down..(started around 7am and it was raining on and off)..Hoping to return soon on a clear day!
Great scrambling around the top. Amazing views from the top.
One of my favorites. Definitely pack food and water and start hike early. Love it!
Definitely a lot of fun - we went at around 7am and encountered a few other hikers, but aside from them, we were clear the whole way up. Beautiful hike with lots of great views along the ascent. The Rock Scramble was also a lot of fun - be sure you have good boots for this! Overall, agree with the "Hard" rating - up the Ridge Trail, the whole hike is uphill, getting pretty steep at times... should probably only attempt if you're in shape, as it's pretty long. Bring lots of water, even in the winter! Definitely will be returning in the future. For those doing it the first time - yes, you have to walk down 60 for 3/4 of a mile... the (Ridge Trail) trailhead is well-marked and easy to identify (on the left).
Do this one every year. Rock scramble is fun and the views are worth it.
i hiked during the week and it was still crowded. I went up the trail and the elevation gain is similar to the Bright Angel Trail but not as long. Great views and unrivaled rock hopping at the drop. It is a must do. Not recommended if you are not in decent shape because there are areas where you will have to pull yourself up.
Did this hike with my family. It was a little icy but totally doable. The uphill was very doable but the rock scramble was hard. Stay on the path during the scramble otherwise you'll have to back track.
Hiked this back in October...loved this hike, but a lot of traffic on the trails. A lot of climbing so if you don't hike regularly I wouldn't suggest this one as a starter but it's a must do...such a fun hike and great views!
Definitely leave early enough in the morning to give yourself time to enjoy the hike and scenery. Very tough rock scrambles and can get congested in spots. Some people go off trail during the rock scramble which I don't recommend. But, amazing hike.
Super fun if you like scrambling under, over, and between boulders! The uphill portion is pretty steep, but I thought it was well worth the effort.
One of the best VA hikes ever done for me. Was all by myself to complete this one. Unfortunately it was raining so I was actually the only one on the trail, so I don't suggest that if trying to make it to the summit. The rocks tend to be slippery and you have to climb up and down so it could get scary for some people. Amazing enough to want to do it again, just next time when it's dry. Recommend this hike to anyone to do first in Shenandoah. Overall amazing! Good luck to anyone who scales these rocks to make it to the summit. The view is amazing at the top!
One of my all time Favorite VA hikes
It was an amazing hike! There was a lot of traffic on the rock scrambles which slowed our momentum, but it was a great hike nonetheless. Some of the rocks are slippery so wear shoes with traction. Be sure to cover your ears and wear mittens when hiking late November till winter because it can get really chilly.