Explore NEED TO DO - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
19 hours ago

Did this hike last year. It’s a decent hike for the area. Good views and some rock scrambling. Does get crowded and I prefer more quiet hikes.

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

What an amazing trail

Love this trail. Hiked twice — once in the spring and once in the middle of summer. Would like to try again in the fall. Can be very crowded, but the falls are breathtaking and worth it. Good idea to bring bug spray on this hike during the summer.

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.

hiking
6 days ago

Can be very windy. We did it in the fall so some parts of the trail that were covered in leaves were hard to see. Slipped a few times. Otherwise it was a good hike. The stone fort was not what I expected, in a good way. Make sure you bring water and be ready for an uphill hike.

Fun trail and beautiful views!

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.

hiking
10 days ago

Went here on 11/3/18 and loved the trail. Most of the trail is uphill, however I don't think the rating of "hard" is accurate. I would say this trail is moderate, as most of it is doable for most. There were a ton of people there already by the time we arrived (10am), so the earlier you get there the better.

The view from the overlook is amazing and well worth the climb. The town of Harper's Ferry is fun walking through as well.

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.

Of all the hiking we do, this trail was WAY too crowded with oblivious people not paying attention or being considerate to those actually trying to take in the surrounding nature. Everyone goes for the iconic overlook photo (which of course, I did too), but there were way too many people to actually enjoy the view. This trail is rated as “hard” but I’ve done harder sections of the AT that are rated as “moderate” on this app. I feel the difficulty rating on this trail is a little off.

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!

Gets a tad crowded during beautiful days

This is obviously a great hike, though it can be crowded at times. Awesome falls just about the entire hike. It took us about 4 hours to do the loop on a less crowded day. It can be slippery so use caution. Must do hike and IMHO late October early November is the best time.

There’s a super rewarding view for such a tough incline 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 love the difficulty and variety of the A loop- I think it’s one of the most challenging hikes in the DMV area. Pretty high trafficked route.

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
14 days ago

Fun Hike! Great for kids.

hiking
14 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.

Trail is beautiful! Falls vary in size but all are great. Just hiked today and leaves made for slippery rocks and trails but the scenery was perfect! Great fall hike for sure. I will definitely return. My German Shepherd who is almost 11 years old pretty much ran this whole trail which means I did as well. Also lots of detours into the water for fun! Great trail for dogs (if larger in size and in good shape) lots of well marked trails and plenty of spots to step aside to let people pass. Highly recommend this trail! Experience it because it's worth it!

This trail is great. Very hilly though

We walked counter-clockwise from the visitors center and saw the falls first, then hog rock, and then we turned south on the yellow trail before reaching thurmont. We had a 2 and 3 yr old with us and were taking our time. We recorded 5.7 mi on the yellow loop. It was a very nice hike with beautiful views and fall colors.

hiking
16 days ago

fall is a great time to come here..also, I have always done this trail counter-clockwise. I prefer to end with the " thrill" instead of starting with it.

Well maintained trail! Beautiful views!

hiking
17 days ago

Has anyone tried this hike from Sandy Hook?

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!

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