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

What an amazing trail

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.

Definitely one of the best hikes I've ever done. Falls were amazing and scrambling up the rocks was a lot of fun.

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.

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.

AMAZING wish I lived closer. The falls are beautiful. Scrambling is a little tough but I was able to do it with my dog on a lead. Highly recommend.

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.

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!

This hike is NOT 7.7 miles as listed. It is 9.6 so plan additional time for the extra two miles. Also be forewarned that the downhill section through Cedar Run is quite rocky and steep which can make for slow going, especially if it’s wet. Both the uphill through White Oak and the downhill through Cedar Run are ruggedly beautiful areas. There are no real views on this hike other than the dramatic waterfalls and rushing water. Several opportunities to swim or slide. White Oak is much more heavily trafficked than Cedar Run. Cedar Run feels more like walking in wilderness. The stretch on the fire road is fairly boring. It’s longer than you think and uphill almost to Skyline Drive. If you’re in good shape it’s more in the moderate range than Hard but the rocks and rough terrain can make it more difficult. It is fairly steep up and down either way you go. It a harder hike than Old Rag but the effort is rewarded. Bring a pair of sturdy, waterproof trail shoes. Sneakers not recommended.

Gets a tad crowded during beautiful days

Solid hike! I did this loop in about 3 hours, we took our time looking at the falls/outlooks. The waterfalls are quite steep and can be slippery, hiking shoes are best. I would not suggest going down on the falls side! Some parts of the trail are not well marked, so pay close attention once you get to the top of the falls.

This is one of my favorite day hikes period. Waterfalls, waterfalls, waterfalls. At the top , you are feet from skyline drive and have great views to the east in a few spots. It is hard. Steep up and steep down. If you want one of the hardest day hikes in the area; add a summit of Hawksbill with an incredible view of the Shenandoah Valley.

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
12 days ago

Fun Hike! Great for kids.

hiking
12 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.

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.

A beautiful trail on a beautiful fall day! Plenty of waterfalls and rock outcroppings to enjoy during your breaks. I benefitted from having hiking poles, but they aren’t strictly necessary. Good shoes, however, are!

Well maintained trail! Beautiful views!

Wow! Stunning yellows here right now. The falls are gorgeous, pictures don't do it justice. I'm so glad I took th loop clockwise like someone on this app suggested. It would have been much more difficult coming down on the falls side. I wouldn't suggest doing this in the rain as wet rock scrambling here could be dangerous. The overlook was awesome, don't miss this trail!

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!

This was a fantastic hike. Very Scenic and very challenging. Highly recommended. if I were to do it again I would not take the back half of the loop though. Much better to stay along the falls and out along the ridge of the Gorge.

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.

Not on a rainy day.

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