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

VA Trails Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Scattering was a blast

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!

hiking
2 days ago

Hiked this trail as part of a training session for an upcoming long distance backpacking hike. I walked the loop as depicted. About 6.8 miles if you believe my GPS. Definitely not Easy. I would rate it as moderate. Very few level stretches and about 90 percent up or down in the first 80 percent of the trail. Definitely need bug spray in mid August. Parallels a nice stream for about a mile or so in the second half. Lots of trees. Bet it would be very pretty in the Fall. Bring lots of water.

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.

I loved this loop, there was the perfect mix of rock scrambles and easy trail hikes that I never got tired. Beautiful things to see and for going on a Sunday afternoon it really wasn't too crowded. Great hike!

it is more of a walk. when sunny, it is very crowded.

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.

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.

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 Bull Run Trail

hiking
9 days ago

This is a great day trail to take kids and pets on. Its fun and easy. And its beautiful.

10 days ago

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!

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

Awesome trail one of the best in the Fredericksburg area. Lots of different terrain and wildlife. Would be great for mountain biking. Long enough to give you a great work out yet easy enough to keep it fun.

My son (11) and I enjoyed this trail. We got a little mixed up and ended up on the bike only bit (Lake View Loop) but gutted it out until we regained the hiking trail. We clocked in a little over 7 miles total in 3 hours with a pause for lunch in there at the halfway mark.

Definitely will come back and maybe bring the bike out!

birding
17 days ago

Great trail but trailhead not where depicted in All Trails.

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.

Great trail. We did this trail last month and only saw a few other people hiking it as well. Great views at the top. Added bonus was seeing a black bear on the trail near the parking lot.

Love the rock scrambles. Easy enough for novice hikers that are relatively active, as well as our small dog. Started on the river trail which had the most of the scrambles, then to the ridge trail, then swamp. I think we were on the Difficult Run Trail as well at some point.

Started a little late in the day and hauled butt and got back before dark. Took exactly 3 hours. Now I know why they call it the roller coaster! Make sure you bring water and a snack. Awesome hike!!

Load More