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Great trail with kids and dog. I would rate this closer to moderate than hard. Definitely do this counterclockwise like other reviewers have said! And definitely take the small detour down to the observation point. Much better views of the falls. Really nice starter trail for the family before trying longer ones. Just the perfect length.

Great views and rewarding hike. But if you’re looking for seclusion you will not find it here.

Parking lot is easy to find via directions through the app. There is plenty of parking, but can fill up as the day goes on. When we got there at 8am, it was pretty empty, but by the time we left 1:30, it was pretty full. There are multiple portajohns, which is nice to have at the end/beginning of your hike.

We did the loop starting with the ridge trail, which starts about a .5 mile up the road from the parking lot. The first quarter of the hike was moderate, rocky but not too steep and quite lovely. The rock scramble was our first real experience with a real rock scramble and although a few places were a bit difficult to navigate, it was doable and kind of fun! There are a few spots where you really have to become intimate with the rocks around you. That said, there were a few spots along the way with some spectacular views!

I believe it was a little under 4 miles to get to the summit and man is the climb worth it!

After a much more moderate descent down the saddle trail, there is a shelter with a bathroom, but no water. Past that, you walk on the fire road back to the parking lot with not much to see except the river in some spots. However, it is a nice, easy descent after all that hard climbing.

It is worth noting that there is no cell service at the parking lot or any area around it, so have an idea of how to get back!

I’ve hiked Old Rag many times. Today I saw 5 bears. Two on the actual path. I was nervous to walk by, so just waited until he moved.

This humbled me! Totally worth it though. Rose River Falls was the hardest in my opinion. Definitely take advantage of the oppurtunity to rest at the bottom of Dark Hollow.

One of the bests hikes we have been on, the scrambles were a lot fun. The walk back down the fire road a little boring, but not a big deal.

Went with a group of 8. Stopped quite a bit for food/water and overlooks on the way up. About 2-3 miles up to the summit which took about 2.5 hours and then about 5 miles down which another 2.5 miles. Bring about 2L of water per person. You'll spend about 5 hours hiking, but worth every effort.

Awesome trail. I did it with my wife and 3 teenage daughters we all had a great time.

I loved that place to walk. It is a good place to go with friends and family. Amazing.

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.

hiking
5 days ago

Lewis Falls trail is a loop and we did the full loop, but if you don’t think you are up for a steep climb then head to the falls by starting out to the left from Black Rock and then return the same way. It will keep this trail at a moderate level for you because the steeper elevation climb is on the other half of the trail. We did the whole loop at went up the steepest part (not down...last time I trust a tip from some guy in the parking lot). There wasn’t anything magnificent to see on that steep side so if you decide to double back to make the trail easier you won’t be missing anything exciting. When you are at Lewis Falls you will see hikers at the upper falls to your right, but do yourself a favor and go left. There is a trail marker near the water. Cross over and there is a very short trail that will take you down to an observation point for the lower falls. It’s worth the few minutes it takes to see a different view of the falls.

It was a good hike definately some big climbs, but water was available, well marked, pretty challenging climbing up to the blue ridge parkway, views would have been better without the fog and rain but it was great.

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!

If you go now, the water levels are as high as they have ever been in a long time and it is amazing. bring water shoes or prep to get wet. went yesterday from the cedar run lot to the byrds nest lookout past skyline, and back again.

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.

Completed 8/6 going counterclockwise- not the hardest hike in Shenandoah but nothing to laugh at, probably earns its “hard” rating. Very entertaining hike- the water on this this trail does not disappoint. The 6 or so waterfalls that range in size and look often have space to explore underneath and appreciate the view if you desire. Basically 7 out of the 8 miles on the loop are following one of the 2 rivers- switching from swift running waterfalls and rapids to slow moving, deep green pools.

Took me about 6 hours to complete, taking my time and going for a short swim in one of the natural pools (would highly recommend.) This loop can easily be done quicker if you’re in decent shape and not stopping frequently.

Side note: the waterfalls and pools are popular and attract a decent crowd on a nice summer day. It’s not overcrowded, but if you’re looking for solitude this is probably not the hike. That being said this is one of my favorite I’ve done in Shenandoah and has some of the best water features & scenery in the park. Definitely should be on everybody’s Shenandoah to-do list.

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!

I don't know if there's been a recent rockslide since the people who claimed this was only a "moderate" trail, but there were parts that didn't even look like a trail anymore when we went today. We also went counter clockwise and glad for that choice as the worst parts were definitely on the northern tract. Good cardio workout on the climb back up, wouldn't push it if you're not in somewhat good shape

This was a beautiful trail. There are waterfalls and swimming holes everywhere and the water is very clear. There was a big rattlesnake along the path on the rocks (posted a picture) so keep an eye out. This was strenuous, but worth it. This states pets allowed, but it should state not recommended. I have a jack Russell that hikes long hikes with me, but this was way too rocky for her. We carried her most of the way and her paws are still irritated.

Great Hike. Did it counter clockwise and highly recommend that. Slide on way down was awesome. Must do! Elevation is a lot but once you hit the fire road it is a gentle climb. would highly recommend. Did with 4 kids 17-10 in age and had no issues. You will get wet on this hike. We took our time started at 9am and finished 4:30. Lots of swimming and eat lunch.

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.

This is a good introductory trail to SNP. It’s pretty short but heavy on the elevation change, with really nice views at the end. You’ll never find yourself alone at the top on a nice day, but there are some small, quiet outcroppings below the peak that are nice for lunch. However, I do love seeing people getting out and enjoying our national parks!

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.

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
20 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.

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