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This hike starts on the road for a little less than a mile before reaching the trailhead, the path is rocky at the bottom and becomes a series of scrambles after several miles. The views are amazing, the entire hike was really pleasant, and it was quite windy and beautiful at the top. My 11 year old joined me and had no trouble at all, he is an avid hiker and loves rock scrambles. It will be a few years before I take my younger children. Parking is $15 for a week, or use tour national park pass. No camping in the parking area or at the higher elevations on Old Rag (basically when it becomes really rocky). Parking area has trash and porta-potties.

set aside the whole day so you can enjoy this bad boy. there are plenty of false summits so don't get your hopes up. enjoy everyone. i would advise against bringing younger kids as the rock scramble can get sketchy at times. if you think yourself to be a more athletic outdoorsman, get to the trail early. there are bottlenecks that sometimes confuse and slow down hikers. there is a $15 charge to every hiker looking to enter. bring bug spray!

my friend and i started at around 11:30 and ended our trip back at the parking lot at around 4.

Gets very crowded, try to go early

Aug 10 2018: This is my 2nd time completing the Old Rag loop. 3 hours to get to Summit. Took me 6 hours from/to parking. I like to start early so started around 6:15. I had to spray several times as the bugs were plentiful. Just be aware that Black Bears are active in this area as I saw one about 100 feet away in my last hour. Luckily, it didn’t follow me but it did make me put an extra pep in my step!

Beautiful hike, lots of rain the last couple of weeks so the falls were roaring. Moderate is an accurate assessment. Hiked it with my wife and our two granddaughters. Girls complained a little but not to much which rates this as a good family hike. will differently hike it again when in the area.

Great trail been using it since it opened. Well kept and safe, marked every 1/4 mile

Awesome hike and one of the most challenging in Shenandoah! Start early to avoid the crowds. I started at 6 AM and had the whole morning to myself going up. It can get a little crowded on some of the boulder sections closer to the summit so plan accordingly! Obviously a very well known hike and people flock to it for sure. Regardless it is absolutely worth doing if you’re up for the challenge and don’t mind a little company.

I unfortunately had my hike cut short and was unable to finish the loop on account of me dropping my iPhone off the literal top of Old Rag Mountain. Probably a good idea to use two hands while taking pictures up there.

I’d recommend packing on the lighter side for this one, it’ll make some of the tricky maneuvering much easier. I overpacked in a big 50L backpack and learned that lesson. This hike is absolutely worth it. The bare rock face summit of Old Rag is breathtaking and gives one of the best views of the park. The summit is somewhat of a ridge so there are ample spots to soak it all in.

awesome!! Challenging. Marked very well, but rock scramble and the uphill hiking can make this hike difficult. False summit and summit are so worth it though. One of my favorite hikes!

hiking
8 days ago

Hiked this with a friend after a week of heavy rain and the falls were incredible! The trail was waterlogged and a little difficult to navigate at points, but overall still a beautiful hike. Crabtree is one of my favorite hikes in central VA.

Did the trail counter clockwise and with a pack. I don’t advise doing either. The backcountry campsite opportunities are limited and nothing special. Carrying a heavy pack affects balance and makes scrambling up and down the rocks very difficult. Doing the trail counterclockwise exacerbates the problem, as it is more difficult in this direction, with most of the scrambling downhill rather than uphill.

The dangers are real. I narrowly avoided serious injury after a handhold slipped. I lost my balance, and fell backwards into empty space. Somehow I managed to land on my feet on a rock 5 feet below.

Notwithstanding all that, Old Rag was one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. The views are outstanding, the rock scrambling is fun, and it is quite a workout! But please learn from my mistakes and do it as a clockwise day hike.

P.s. Bring gloves and a lot of water. Once you get into the boulder area there are no water sources.

Loved this hike! Rock scrambles were hard but very rewarding.

All around great hike. There was plenty of scenery and places for some very nice photos of the valley.

I think I over packed, as this was my first time doing this hike. I had a 2.5L water pack (which was the perfect amount), snacks (which I personally didn't use), some extra socks and shirt, and a few other odds and ends. All this was packed in a 36L Osprey Pack which was too bulky for this hike, but do able. A smaller 18L or so would be easier, especially during the rock scramble (which I will talk about later).

The beginning of the hike was all up hill and shaded. Raises your heart rate but nothing too crazy. after a few miles you'll hit a few false summits which provide amazing photo ops and good rest points.

After the false summits you'll start the rock scramble. I read reviews on various sites prior to picking this hike that all mentioned a "small rock scramble". While it is nothing too crazy, it is not a "small rock scramble". As long as you have the upper body strength to do dips and step up and some semblance of balance then you will be fine. The biggest issue was the back ups at the rock scramble. I hit it around noon and at some points there was a string of people waiting to move.

The summit is absolutely breath taking and well worth the hike, you get a full 360 view of the valley and there's tons of photo ops and plenty of places to have lunch.

The first 2 miles of the decent are mostly stone steps and is shaded and was cool. There are a lot of little water run offs so I would suggest footwear that would accommodate that. Nothing too deep. The last 3 miles are along a fire trail and gets sort of boring after a bit, but there are a few waterfalls and a river crossing near the end that is a nice break up for the monotony,

All in all this is a fantastic hike and will challenge you.

My suggestions: around an 18L sized pack with water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, and maybe an extra shirt (I was soaked by the time I got to the summit). Also I would suggest above ankle hiking boots for traction and ankle stability (especially during the rock scramble and the decent). I did see a lot of people doing it in running shoes, but I would be to worried about turning and ankle or something.

Hope this helps someone and see you on the trails.

Fantastic! Just did it the 9th time. Its an annual trek for since our youngest was 5 and oldest was 7. They've done it 8 times. Very wet this year. Be cautious on the rocks. Its a great day

I hiked Old Rag a couple weeks ago with several of the guys from work and loved it! Was my first time here but will not be my last.

Easy stroll. Pretty and pastoral.

great views of the waterfall. well maintained trails.

I went up to Old Rag via the Ridge Trail and descended down Saddle Trail and Weakley Hollow fire road.

This hike is awesome! The first 3 miles going up are okay. Then you hit the 1.5-2 mile rock scramble the rest of the way to the top of Old Rag...this part is simply awesome. Great fun, stunning views! Down the mountain is good too...beautiful forest scenery but nothing compared to rock scramble portion of the trail. Definitely worth doing again!

backpacking
16 days ago

Did this with a 40lb pack. bring at least 3liters of water. Change of socks and an extra shirt or jacket. The descent is pretty easy, but once you are all sweaty from the ascent you might get chilly. I hiked it backwards ( counter clockwise, fire trail first) as I didn't want to do the scramble in the dark.

Beautiful views all the way up the trail! View from the top was nice and had a small area if you want to sit and enjoy the view! Pretty steep incline but worth it! Work out with a view! Loved it

Wow! I did this hike with my husband and 9 y/o son. We’re always looking for challenging hikes and this did not disappoint! The boulder scramble is SO much fun and the view at the summit is amazing!

It is a challenging, LONG hike. Wear boots, bring lots of water and snacks. Also, be prepared for steep inclines. You need to be able to lift yourself over, and onto boulders and to squeeze through small crevices!

I suggest getting there very early - we got there before 7am on a Saturday morning and the parking lot was already half full. But, everyone was so friendly and helpful! Be aware that there’s a $15 per person fee.

We saw a rattlesnake on the trail back down to the parking lot. He warned us to stay away and needless to say we did! There are also some really beautiful water features on the way back to the car that aren’t mentioned here but really make the walk back more interesting!

If you like a challenge - this is the hike for you!
Happy hiking!

Me, my husband and our 3yo goldendoodle did this hike on July 28th. The hike up the falls was simply stunning and we took full advantage of the rest areas to enjoy the scenery. The view from the top was absolutely gorgeous and decided to continue on to Crabtree Meadows, the AT and then back down. If you have time, I highly recommend adding the extra miles to round out the hike.

One of my favorite hikes in Virginia!

Beautiful hike with amazing views. The rock scramble is a lot of fun!

The is one of my favorite hikes and best done in a group. Outlooks a spectacular! After the 9+ mile hike, the feeling of accomplishment is strong.

Challenging Trail with a great rock scramble, despite this it pretty approachable for hikers of different t levels. Plenty of great views before the summit. Bring lots of hydration and food. Generally busy when the weather is nice. One of my favorite hikes!

Awesome hike , no wonder this is one of the most popular hikes in the park , rock scrambling on top will be challenging for beginners or overweight people.

This was definitely more strenuous than I thought but it was FUN! Rock scramble was much more challenging than I thought too.
Long sleeves and long pants were good to avoid scratches and cuts. Also my wife regretted she didn't listen to me and didn't bring her gloves.
There were so many good veiw points on the way up and down that can be used as break and lunch too, and awesome looking rocks in many places.

We had a group of young men that talk so loud and nonstop. It was very annoying so tried to avoid them but failed. We took about 5 hours and 30 minutes to complete this without some time wasting as first timer.

On the way down, we saw a man sprained his ankle(his friend was helping him on a side) and talked to ranger at shelter to give them a ride. So maybe good boots will be good choice too.

And also met a baby bear too.
Great experience!

My husband, daughter (age 7), son (age 5) and myself (who is 20 weeks pregnant) LOVED this hike. We did it in June. Plan to pack lunch and bring lots of water. The trail, at the time we went, was moderately trafficked with other hikers. Very enjoyable and something we will do again

hiking
27 days ago

Did this late October. Weather was perfect and the trail itself was easy for beginners. Loved the waterfall, foliage, and overlook!

There are some challenges clambering through the rocks on the way up, but it's worth it! Amazing views, plus I rounded a corner on the way down to find a bear digging at the foot of a tree! Absolutely loved this hike and can't wait to do it again!

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