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This hike is so much fun! You start by climbing up the mountain in a beautiful shaded area then once you get close to the summit the rock scramble starts. Keep in mind that the rock scramble is mostly bare so bring sunscreen. There are about three or four false summits before getting to old rag and the rock scrambling is pretty difficult. We brought 3 liters of water for two people and snacks which was just enough. Only do this hike if you are comfortable climbing lots of rocks because the scrambling is intense but again so much fun!!

fun trail, easy enough for kids too.

Park is beautiful but the lack of adequate blazes and trail markers sadly makes me rate this loop 2 stars.

Lots of incline/decline both ways and very rocky. Trekking poles are very useful. Make sure to bring enough water on hot days. The view is worth it.

i adore this hike! my favorite part is the rock scrambles at the top! definitely allow yourself some time to play when you get up there! beautiful all year round! (where shoes appropriate for steep hikes -ankle support- and good grips for the rock climbing, maybe gloves too if your hands are sensitive) *if you start the hike later in the day bring a flashlight just in case!*

Easy hike it’s a bit too close to roads and civilization for a true hike. The trail is very well kept.

the trails get poorly marked as you go further in. we completely missed a turn off for the blue trail and wasted a lot of time. it was disappointing not being able to do the full loop as originally planned. we might try another day

7 days ago

A great way to escape Maryland's liberal bullshit.

This is a great difficult mountain to hike. There are a bunch of difficult spots that you have to climb up or squeeze through. Definitely need to be ready to pull yourself up some ledges and wedge yourself up some gaps.
I made a mistake and thought it would be a good idea to go backpack camping for this trip. I planned to check in at the parking and backcountry camp station on the East side and then camp at the junction on the west side. I didn’t understand that with at least a 40lb bag this gets difficult in a lot of ways. You need to squeeze and crawl through gaps, so I was dragging and pushing my bag. You have to climb up steep and areas that don’t have much head room, where you have to throw your bag up. You have to walk along steep ledges, where if your backpack gets caught or unbalanced.... Anyway, I had a lot of fun and the views were gorgeous. There was one area where you had to crawl through where someone took a duke that was disgusting but other than that the hike itself was great. I went during the week and there weren’t too many people. Probably ran into around 40 people during the whole hike.
This hike extremely tired me out with the backpack so by the time that I got to the junction, where I found a backcountry camp site, I set up my tent, ate a bite, bear safed my food, and went straight to sleep. I emphasize to Bear Safe Your Food, because that night a bear was trying to get my food, which I hung on a tree right outside my tent...
In short, I don’t suggest backpacking unless you are very muscular, have a light pack, or you set up at the bottom of the mountain early in the day (10 am latest). It is a very fun and difficult climb and has great views. Make sure to pay attention to trail markers!

There’s a reason this hike is rated #1 in Shenandoah area! What an unbelievable hike! We decided to do the full 9 mile circuit trail. The ascent (3.8 miles) is full of excitement and a ton of rock scrambles. It is definitely challenging! In order to complete this hike you must be able to get through rock scrambles and hoist yourself up on boulders. The summit is incredible (360 degree views!), with great views and options to rest along the way. The descent is 5.2 miles but goes by very quickly due to the decrease in difficulty and the constant changing of scenery. It is a beautiful serene place. Make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks! As an experienced hiker I completed this hike in 4 hours with one break. Would suggest this hike 100%, incredible experience an a ton of fun! Would suggest getting there early to beat the crowd. There is a 15 dollar park entry fee.

I have done this multiple times and it is probably one of the best mid-Atlantic hikes. It is an all day affair and can be rather hard. Make sure you have good weather! The views make the hard climb worth it.

Overall a really great hike! Well maintained trails and pretty good views at top. One problem is that it's so popular, you'll definitely get into traffic jams near the top if you go on a weekend

I would definitely do this hike again. There are a few things that you might want to know, and some of the other reviews back me up on these:
Get there early, especially on weekends. We got there at 6:30 am and there were already a two cars there.
I recommend not parking in the back of the parking lot, just because it gets crowded in the small space soon.
Since the elevation rises and drops, the temperature varies kind of quickly. Also, it isn’t just up one way and down another, like the elevation chart shows. It was challenging because the steepness was intense at points.
It’s completely under trees, except for the overlook.
There are many rocks on the trail, so trail boots help; I don’t have any, I wear tennis shoes, and I could feel the ridges of the rocks through my shoes.
I rated it 4 stars only because the overlook was pretty, but not exactly breathtaking (I’m spoiled on overlooks). However, the trail is challenging, fun, and I would definitely do it again.

Stick with it to the end. It is worth the trek

hiking
9 days ago

This is a great hike close to home. The trail is not cleaned up of branches and fallen trees regularly but I don’t mind. The lake is beautiful.

Fun 4.6 mile trail. The swamp and ridge part of trail has a lot of tree cover and stays cooler even during summer days. The river side of the trail is rugged and can get hot due to comparatively less tree cover.

Did The A & C trails (B was closed). Was around 10.5 miles start to finish. Trail A is the most popular because of the rock scrambling (which is fun!), but I also really enjoyed Trail C because of how close to the water the trail takes you. It’s also much quieter with fewer people.

Good trail but you can easily add more distance by adding additional trails. The swamp trail is nice because I rarely see anyone else on it. It is perfect for avoiding all the crowds of the towpaths.

I have done B & C several times with my dogs. Go early to avoid all the stupid people who think they know how to “hike”. I have had to render first aid on these trails because people hike in flip flops. Both of my dogs love these trails for rock and creek time. A trail is closed to dogs so I have not done that section. Trails are rocky and well traveled.

I done it round trip. It worth view on the top! I like it and hope to go back again:)

road biking
11 days ago

First bit of advice: BE CAREFUL! This is a nice trail, but if you use the section that’s closer to George Washington’s home, there are a lot of narrow, steep, and blind curves.

My first outing on it was eventful, to say the least...I was coming around a narrow and steep curve on my bike, and caught my tire on something. Wiped out, hit my head, and wound up with 6 staples (yes, even while wearing a helmet). Apparently, crashes are pretty common on the trail, especially in the area where I was (per another cyclist who frequents it).

It was pretty crowded on our way back to the car (I crashed with only a few miles left on the ride), but when we got on it at opening (6am), it was pretty clear. Early in the morning is best when it’s nice out. Otherwise, it seems like can get pretty dicey when having to deal with steep, blind curves and crowds.

I will say that if you do have an issue, the other cyclists on the trail are very nice and are willing to help. My husband was about 1/2 a mile behind me when I crashed and before he got to me, three cyclists had already stopped and were waiting with me. One went on his way after my husband caught up after making sure I could walk. The other two stayed with me while my husband rode the rest of the trail back to the car to come and get me. I am thankful for such caring people.

All in all, this trail is worth a go. It is nice and the people on the trail are great. But again, whether you’re a cyclist, runner etc...be very careful.

✌️

-Allison

This is the place where lot of marathon runners train.

Great hike!!!

Came and did this trail on a week trip from Utah. Pretty easy for anyone in good health and marked very well.

I love this trail and all the scrambling you get to do on it. It gets very busy on the weekends, so try to avoid going on Saturday or Sunday if at all possible or you may get stuck standing in line to get through the difficult areas on the trail.

I did this hike today, it was also my first hike in Virginia. It was a good way to spend the day, and I did enjoy it. Though, I wouldn’t call this a hard hike for the experienced person. It’s more of a moderate hike for anyone that does this on a regular basis. There are some challenging parts, but nothing too crazy. But, if you are new to the hiking game, or not comfortable on rocks I would take it slow, especially through the rocky area. The trail is well marked and well-traveled, it is also kind of busy at times. But if you just keep pushing on and following the blue marks you’ll eventually end up at the summit for a decent view. I did the full loop in about 4 1/2 hours, and the way down wasn’t bad. It was probably the easiest descent I have ever done, mostly because the last few miles are on the fire road. Being form AZ I did feel the humidity, so if you’re not used to that I would definitely bring a little bit of extra water just to be safe.

Fantastic trail for the hiker, trail runner, rock climber...literally anyone looking for an adventure quencher. If you’re considering taking kids, they will need to be little brave ninjas for the rock climbing, rock heights and the need to problem solve on the rocks. It’s a gorgeous trail. We are fortunate to have it available to us. It is a well maintained and well traveled trail. Enjoy!!

Very challenging hike, with some views that are well worth the effort. The scrambling portion definitely adds a nice change of pace and gives you a chance to use your arms a bit and give your legs a break

Completed in just over 5 hours. Is it difficult? Absolutely. Worth it? Absolutely. Biggest advice is to do this as early as possible to avoid crowds and to bring more water than you think. Surprisingly ran out of water with 4 miles to go. Lastly, some people complain about the 5.2 miles back to the parking lot as boring but it honestly isn’t. You see some nice water features and the terrain change after the rock scrambling is very welcome.

backpacking
16 days ago

i did a one night back country camping at old rag. it was wonderful. the peak was beautiful. there are small shelters when on your way down the mountain that was extremely helpful when it rained. great trip.

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