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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!

hiking
22 hours ago

Tons of falls and trail. A nice 6.5 in out. Great woodland views. Water all along the mileage.

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.

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.

on Rose River Trail

hiking
3 days ago

Go clockwise. Great trail.

hiking
4 days ago

Hiked clockwise from Fisher’s Gap Overlook parking. Dense forest but not too much understory to impede forest views. Initially the surface was good gravel with few obstructions and a comfortable downhill. At 1.1 miles the trail becomes rockier, more narrow and a little steeper downhill. And some not-too-challenging roots. With denser understory. And the sounds of the creek. About 50 yards further down the trail joins the noisy creek in a very picturesque ravine. Dappled sunlight filtering down on the understory. At 1.4 miles the creek becomes a “river”. Soon, at the upper falls Overlook we scramble down large boulders about 20 or 30 feet to get a good base view. Good placement of rock steps around falls. At 1.9 miles we re-join the creek after separating for a bit. Then quickly the creek we head south southeast and the trail turns west southwest. Starting a gradual easy rise. As we proceed slowly uphill Hogcamp creek appears on our left below us and heading counter to our hike. We come up on the weathered concrete compressor foundation from the old abandoned copper mine. Creek Crossing on large stones. Then we come to a foot bridge about 50 feet long, arched. With hog camp branch Creek on our right we enjoy numerous lovely small cascades as we hike up. After the bridge the trail becomes rockier, a bit of a scramble. But the lovely small and noisy heavy running cascades continue, seemingly without end. On and on, the cascades continue getting progressively smaller but no less noisy. We arrive at the fire road bridge across the creek. At this point we chose to add Dark Hollow Falls, a 1/2 mile total, steep, but well-groomed climb. This is where the large crowds are, having hiked the short trail down from Dark Hollow Falls parking. Hiking up the last run to the falls we encounter more crowds. Dark Hollow Falls were active, an unusually wet summer. start Back down to the fire road bridge and an easy uphill hike out on the fully gravel, nicely graded fire road completes a memorable hike. For us, better than the Two sets of falls were the numerous, lovely and heavily flowing and noisy, smaller cascades of Hog Camp Creek.

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.

Great hike, even though it downpours on our return. Amazing views, beautiful flowers, somewhat challenging terrain on the salamander trail coming back to the parking lot. Be sure to return on Salamander Trail or you will end up at the wrong parking lot and have to walk a mile on skyline drive. We caught the error before we had gone too far and climbed back up.Dog friendly hike.

hiking
6 days ago

After many weeks of good solid rain storms the river and falls were spectacular. Hiked down on to the falls and looked back to the fire road. Strenuous up and down but next to the river, so lots of opportunities to stop and let our dog cook off in the pools under each waterfall. Moderate traffic, fire road is easy level terrain. In 2 days we saw3 bears, and heard we missed 11 others within minutes. All were Momas with cubs, so stay alert.

REI picks this trail as one of ‘thee’ best hikes in SNP, and I agree! Experienced torrential down pour for most of the hike, even without that I would recommend a hiking waterproof sandal that is durable with great traction... lots of wet rocks and with parts of the river overflowing you cross ‘rapid’ like waters. Wanted to challenge myself so went down Jones Run and up Doyles River... it is a steep incline!! Trail clearly warns of black bears. Don’t forget your bear bell... I didn’t see any but I hope it’s cause they heard me coming!

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.

Amazing trail! Very rewarding with the views on the summit. Recommended.

on Rose River Trail

hiking
8 days ago

I love this hike. Its a bit of a walk, but you hike right next to rose river and the scenery is just beautiful. Recommend sometime in spring or fall.

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!

Great hike. Be prepared for. Rocky path.

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!

easy short hike. Spectacular views from the summit. Lots of hawks riding the thermals.

hiking
12 days ago

Amazing trail, almost everywhere you look a postcard photo along the rivers and waterfalls

We connected to this trail from Limberlost. It is an uphill trail but not difficult. The trail will terminate at Skyline Drive but if you cross the road you will be at the Cresent Rock Overlook parking lot and you can enjoy the view before making your way back down.

One of my favorite hikes! Went counterclockwise, (AT | Salamander | peak | Lower Hawksbill Trail). Perfect balance of great terrain, elevation and some of the best panoramic views. On the trail, you’ll cross over rock fields in the middle of the trail. To note... From this direction, you’ll come to a fork in the road. There is a wooden pole with an arrow spray-painted on it that points right. Going that way will continue on Appalachian Trail to Rock Spring Hut. To complete the loop (to Salamander), go left (opposite of the arrow). I went about .5 miles before realizing and having to backtrack. On course... great climb to the highest peak in SNP!

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.

Great hike. not sure I agree with distance. think it is closer to 8.5. this has to be one of my favorite hikes ever. they say there are only three waterfalls but you follow the river for more then half the hike and see countless small waterfalls. took family of 6 with kids 10 to 17 and they had no issues. we are in shape and need to old the youngest hands in a couple of spots. we choose to take shoes off on couple of river crossings as rocks looked more difficult. would definitely recommend.

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

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