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Best trail EVER.

First time hiking Old Rag on Veteran’s Day (Sunday 11/11). Arrived around 8am. Parking lot was pretty empty. My friend and I took the first few miles at a quick pace, passing families and the more leisurely hikers. Rock scrambles were challenging, required arm strength and strategic foot placement. At one point, a line formed at one of the trickier scrambles. Last 3 or so miles of the loop is a flat service road, slightly boring... until you get close enough to the stream near the end. Total time for 4.5 hours for us, even with some waiting in line. Would love to do again!

A great hike with a rock scramble (from a crawl to a climb). It has switchbacks up the mountain until the rock scramble, then a nice descent with some hop in it until you get to a flat(er) road that leads back to the parking lot.

Beautiful overlooks throughout, challenging rock scrambles and a well maintained fire road on the way back

What an amazing trail

planned on this being a 3 day/2 night trip. it got so unexpectedly cold we ended up doing 2 day/1 night but it was an amazing hike. started at Doyle's River parking and hiked north around loft mountain before crossing skyline and getting into patterson because the loop will bring you right back to the Doyle's parking lot. easy going first day down to big run portal crossing the river 3 times with camping along the river. second day started easy enough just getting up onto the ridge on the way to Jones run. Jones run was busy because it was so scenic with the trail skirting the waterfalls. the second half of the second day was all up hill. serious up hill. I felt like we were rock climbing getting up out of the basin and then a steep, constant incline all the way back up to the parking lot. probably about 4-5 miles up hill at the very end. overall very beautiful hike but be prepared to get a workout

Amazing hike! The ascent isn't too bad until you get to the boulder scramble and then it gets a little challenging; definitely requires a little strength, agility and balance. Hiking footwear recommended. There were places where simple running shoes would have been less than desirable. All in all, once you get to the top, it couldn't be more worth it. One of the most rewarding experiences of my life to date.

This is my second time hiking this trail and its one of my favorites. I love the challenge. This is a difficult trail that involves climbing over, through, and down boulders. It’s not for the weak at heart, children, or dogs.

amazon hike! arrived 9am on a saturday and had to park in the neighboring lot for $10. GO EARLY. not only will you get to park in the normal lot but there will be wayyyy less people to wait behind when you get to the top rock scramble. we made it to the top in 1 hr 20 minutes but took almost 1-1.5 hrs to go through the rock scramble portion cause there were so many people, many of who do not hike often. however, even with the line it was so worth it and so fun. tests your strength to go through the scramble. walking down was easy.

best hike ever

This was an amazing hike. Of course the highlight of the hike is the rock scramble and spectacular views! Started our Hike Saturday morning about 9:30am. The lot was full and we had to park in a private lot for $10. We did not get back to the truck until 6pm. The crowd and backups in the rock scramble slowed us down. Would love to do this hike on a weekday with no crowd. I am a short guy so that made it more difficult LOL. I have also done “Humpback Rock” and “MaCafee Knob”. This was definitely the most challenging.

Third time summiting Old Rag. I really believe it is Virginia’s best hike...assuming you avoid the crowds. We arrived at 6 AM on a Sunday, with 15 or so other cars in the lot. We only saw a handful of folks on our way up, and only had to contend with 3 or 4 people on the rock scramble in its entirety (no waiting!). At the summit, there were maybe 5-10 other people, but we easily found a private spot to enjoy the views and lunch for 45 minutes. The descent down the backside of Old Rag and the fire road is a nice reprieve from the arduous hike and scramble up. We arrived back at our car at 11:15 AM to hordes of people and cars arriving (the Old Rag lot was full and there were dozens of cars parked at the private lot next door). If you value quiet and privacy over camaraderie, I highly recommend getting here early!

Today was beautiful for a hike!

The southern part of the trail is excellent. No more can be said than that. Just go....however, the scramble and boulder stair case gets so backed up that you could be there for hours if you decide to go late in the morning. I saw one poor bastard that walked from the northern section of the route get stuck in the blasting wind.

I highly recommend downloading the area on Google Maps beforehand as there is no/limited cell service there.
Otherwise, to repeat others: go EARLY (and also maybe not on the last nice Saturday of the season when the trees are in peak color); I planned to arrive by 7am but I snoozed on my alarm clock. Lot had just filled up when I got there at 8:40am, so I was one of the first people to park at the adjacent private lot and paid $10 to the lady there. From there the walk was a bit tiring and crowded getting up to the rock scramble. Just pace yourself here.
Rock scramble: If you are out of shape, I wouldn't recommend it. I work out, so it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was bit worried as some reviews said it was really hard. It was more like a really good workout. If my two friends could do it high and if Tina Fey could do it at night, I figured I'd be able to hike it. 3 spots we had to wait in line to pass and people were helpful (if you need assistance). After the summit, the downhill is easier and turns into a less exciting trail back to the lot. Finished in about 5h50min.

hiking
15 days ago

Very fun hike! I’ve done this circuit a handful of times. Took my 8 year old son and he was able to complete. It did however take us all day. Great views! The scramble at the top is always the best part. Like an adult playground. Depending on the time of year and day you go, it can be a little busy. I prefer weekdays during late fall.

Well maintained trail! Beautiful views!

I've done this hike twice and it doesn't get any easier the 2nd go. I always have a hard time finding where to park because my GPS cuts out before I get there. Once you start hiking it's pretty steep but I wouldn't suggest hiking poles unless you really need them because the rock scramble at the top definitely uses your upper and lower body. both times it took me about 4 hours from start to finish and that's even with asthma. The views are so worth every bit of temporary pain. Go do it!

A great hike with a few challenging moments in the rock scramble. My father and I were carrying backpacks (we way overpacked with sweatshirts and hiking poles we hardly used) which made some of the narrower spots in the scramble difficult. It was extremely chilly at the summit, but the midday view was amazing. Not too crowded. We lunched at the Byrd’s Nest Shelter, and the entire trip took us 5.5 hours. This was our second hike (ever)— wish there was more scrambling!

Challenging incline going to the summit. The rock scramble is serious fun. Some upper body strength required. Great views and pic opportunities.

I really pushed it and did it in 3.75 hours.

Highly recommended. Get there early too. Before 8:30am You don’t want to get stuck waiting in the scramble.

Put us to work, it’s a full body workout in some of the rock scramble. Worth it all for the view at the end. Fellow hikers were great and helped us along in some spots. Great trail!

Great hike. The scrambling is difficult for shorter people. I'm 5 foot and needed help from my husband and another fellow hiker in 2 spots.

hike is great, but dogs are not permitted at Old Rag - please correct your information!

Great hike with plenty of waterfalls. Ended up starting at White Oak Canyon, then taking the left onto the fire dirt access road then another left onto Cedar Run Trail (by the Hawksbill Gap Parking lot). If you want to make it a much more difficult hike, ditch the White Oak trail at the first waterfall and rock climb up the river to the third falls. All together 9.5 miles.

hiking
27 days ago

Great hike! My girlfriend and I did the Rip Rap/Wildcat loop as a two day backcountry camping trip and had an excellent time. The NPS Guide recommends camping somewhere just after you turn onto the Wildcat Ridge trail off of the Rip Rap trail but we opted to get in another mile and half or so to shorten our hike the next morning. We hiked about 6 miles the first day and the remaining 3.5 the following morning. We managed to find a nice little spot to set up camp after about 6 miles, and realized hiking out the next day that we found one of the only decent spots to camp in that mileage range. You'd either need to hike almost clear to end of the loop or camp back at the trail merge otherwise. The first six miles had a few great views from the ridge line and then some cool stream crossings, small waterfalls, and a deep swimming hole as you hiked through the valley before heading back uphill again. I highly recommend bringing a change of socks as some of the stream crossings can be sketchy and there's a chance you're going to put a foot in the water... All in all, great hike, great way to see the leaves change.

Great hike leaving from Old Rag parking lot. The way up is strenuous but fun. I did the bouldering/scrambling prior to sunrise and enjoyed the views with limited people from summit. The way down is easy but a bit lacking once you hit the fire road. I cannot even begin to describe the number of people heading in as I made my way back to parking lot from the fire road. Leave early because it is way too crowded. (Done on a Saturday morning. Started at 4:45am)

Perfect hike on a fall day. Never boring and the rock scramble really breaks things up. I like that you get the difficult part over with first and then end with a lovely 2.5 mile stroll down the fire road. Highly Recommend this hike.

Super nice hike. Done it dozens of times and never gets old. A bit crowded on nice days so go off season if you can.

An incredible hike for experienced hikers, upper body strength is important throughout the rock scramble. You won’t find a better view in Virginia! Well worth the strenuous work. It states a 8.6ml hike. From the parking lot and back it’s actually 10.44, bring plenty of water and wear good hiking shoes!

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