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Went their in the middle of October amazing views the walk would’ve been easy if I was in shape but the views at the end were totally worth it. Just take your time coming up the mountain. We came on a Friday and it was packed their was no where to park in the parking lot so we parked about a 1/2 mile down the road because that’s where most people were parking so be aware it gets busy lol but totally worth it

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!

Beautiful, only able to get to Williams lake due to heavy snow in the past month. Trail is easy to follow and packed down good to the lake (very popular hike) I tried going up to wheeler but it’s still soft and deep snow. Not many people summiting anymore. A hiker coming down informed me the trail disappears after timberline so it looks like next year will be my summiting chance.

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

Summited 2009-08-01, with my lovely wife. We camped at half moon and then left right at dawn. It snowed the night before on the upper reaches. This is an easy Class I hike but still can be an ass-kicker. Poles are helpful. Exposure above tree line at 11k means you gotta be aware of the incoming afternoon storms in the spring and summer - you still have 3k vertical to go when you leave the forest. This hike will also throw you a few false summits, hahaha. Keep on trucking because the views up top are amazingly worth it.

hiking
6 days ago

There is a paved steep pathway to the observation deck. Not far but steep. Beautiful view from the top. Take the clingmans dome bypass trail back down to the parking lots it’s worth it. I wish I knew there was an adjacent trail before I saw the ranger at the deck.

Great hike. A lot of scrambling and very steep climbing in first leg. Whole thing took 2:20. Great views. Would not try if snow and ice on ground. First third is very well marked. Last two thirds are basically flat. Overall great hike.

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.

The hike to the top is very steep but the views are amazing and so worth it! Parking is a challenge.

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

I have done this trail twice and it is amazing! looking forward to doing it again. You can't beat the views. bringots of water and snacks. It takes a while to do and you will need the energy!

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!

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.

While we had no view at the top due to weather, the drive up was beautiful! The hike is an asphalt path which was fine for footing. Saw many people in street shoes as opposed to hiking shoes. Be aware on a wet day it might be slick coming down in street shoes. I’d do this again on a clear day.

Not too strenuous of a hike, except for the quick incline. Go early morning and you’ll be the only ones up there!

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!

Loved this hot spring!! I thought I was gonna die on the trail, especially towards the end, lol but I made it and it was totally worth it. My boyfriend and I did this in August- watched the sunset and hiked back with our flashlights. The stars were amazing.

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.

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