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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.

good variety of views and landscape. mix of steep hills and flat areas. trail is narrow with drop offs for most of the way, so be careful

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.

Amazing hike, we hiked it on a rainy day but it was still a great time. I highly recommend for everyone!

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

This trail has a lot of steps.

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.

love the views and cliffs. much wild life

Not for the weak! Plenty of camping areas along the way. 3 of us backpacks up there taking our time and hammock camped. Source of water was endless if you have a filtration system.

It’s a nice trail, mostly shaded. Only hiked in about a mile. Watch out for ground hornets on the trail probably around 1/3 of a mile in. We got stung and it still hurts 2 days later.

Great hike on a short loop. I went right first to Tolliver falls which is small but has a little beach and pool area if u want to cool off. Then upper falls that you can go on and has a nice vista view down river and a little down the river a nice view back upstream at it. Lower falls after that then nice rocky hike to muddy creek falls the biggest of the group.

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!

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!

hiking
10 days ago

Open 2track trail/road 1.1 mile incline to summit featuring a lookout forest tower and a very cool rock out cropping. Awesome vista. Great pics. Return trip far easier.

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.

walking
12 days ago

As of today Trails A and B are closed but the trail to Great Falls overlook is great. It’s flat, smooth, small pebbles; easy for walking or biking. The overlook is incredible.

Very well-maintained and challenging trail. We (three 50+ year-old ladies) hiked GFM Trail yesterday; started at the parking lot for the swinging bridge, climbed to McCraes Peak, then on the advice of other hikers took Underwood Trail back to GFM Trail to return to our car. We are regular exercisers who are training for a Grand Canyon hike in October, and only hike occasionally. Although challenging mentally and physically (we climbed 10 ladders total, I believe, and relied on cables to pull ourselves along a few slippery spots), we had good hiking shoes with good tread (essential), plenty of water and comfortable backpacks. Conditions were very wet yesterday and a thunderstorm was predicted in the afternoon. We had intended to climb to Calloway Peak but decided to shorten our hike due to the storm. The trail took much longer than we expected, since rocks were slippery. Took us 4 hours. We will be back to accomplish this one in better conditions! Be prepared to pay $20 per person (ouch!) to enter the park on the side where the swinging bridge is, otherwise do the Profile trail to park for free (a longer hike). I think there were 7 or 8 ladders going up the way we did, but only 2 going down since we used Underwood Trail to return. Best hike yet and amazing views!

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.

hiking
13 days ago

First time hiking the trail, will definitely do this again

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.

hiking
16 days ago

I considered this more of a walk than a hike. The falls are pretty. You can connect with other trails to see a total of three waterfalls.

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!

I only spent 3 months living in North Carolina, but as a native westerner, I was impressed at the natural terrain I found in this part of the Appalachians. Grandfather mountain comes close, in a few ways , to the foothill type peaks I have around my home in North Idaho, but with even more lush and green scenery surrounding it. Being very developed, the trail head is easy to find, and the main challenges are steepness of the ascent and (certain times of year) slippery rocks and exposed roots. This is not a trail area for out of shape people, but with proper pacing, it can be done. Prepare for some scrambling in sections, but a benefit is that there are many potential view points once you get up top. In September, when I visited, it was misty and moist, but not cold, which made for some great hiking weather, but less than ideal under foot conditions. Heartily reccomend this trail.

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