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Had an amazing time hiking Old Rag. Did it with a group and the trip up and down totaled about 9 hours. Steady incline throughout until the last mile or so and you really being rock climbing. It was quite exhilarating sliding between boulders to get to the next part of the trail. The views at the top were like no other. I love Old Rag and look forward to going back soon!

great lower body workout! ((positive thinking will make you push forward and up

Hiked this on 1/15/19. Cold day - 10F at bottom at start, with 15-25F mph wind forecast. Started up Falling Waters route based on advice. Due to previous cold weather the streams were low and not a factor. Waterfalls were frozen over in veils of ice, like bells - but neither of our phones worked due to cold temps, so no pictures. Hike to Little Haystack is challenging and steep, lots of switchbacks and was fully snow or ice covered. Off the packed part of trail in snowy areas you can post-hole up to mid-thigh. Ridge hike that day was tough - wind gusts to 50-60MPH or so and steady at 30-40, and hard to stay on trail! We pretty much flew through the ridge - very brutal and exposed in those conditions. We were layering up right below treeline on the way up and two hikers passed us. They came back 5 minutes lighter with wide eyes and started layering up!! Trail is very well marked along ridge - with rocks on either side or frequent cairns. After Lafayette on the way down we did have a little difficulty keeping track of the trail and got a little off the path for a while a couple times - be very careful. It was like being on the moon that day - above treeline was a whole different environment. Once we got below treeline on Bridle Path the hike down was quick and easy - clear and calm conditions. It took us 6 hours without much stopping - just snacks, water, etc. No time wasted on the Ridge Trail - so on a clear day with time for gawking I'd budget 7 hours. Micro spikes were essential and worn from lot to lot. Great hike, quite challenging - my dogs are barking today.

This is an interesting trail with impressive views at the top. Camping is not allowed once you reach a certain elevation (closer to the top, and signs will be posted.) When you reach the trailhead, taking a left will put you through the most difficult half of the trail. The second half is much easier. It was a very beautiful place at the top of the mountain to see the watch the sunset and sunrise.

hiking
6 days ago

Breathtaking view from the top. Very very hard hike. Straight up. Was April but still felt like 100 degrees.

hiking
7 days ago

Lovely hike! I found it to be a bit easier than Flat Top, next door. Trail is in good condition (for now; snow storms this weekend will change that), despite the lapse in appropriations due to the government shutdown. I did, however, pick up a lot of litter. Please remember that even biodegradable items like citrus peels are trash on the trail. Check it out: https://lnt.org/about/faq/can-i-leave-biodegradable-waste-eg-apple-core-or-banana-peel-woods-long-i-hide-or-burry-it. If you have the energy, consider bringing a trash bag to pack out trash during the shutdown to minimize our impact on these great resources. Bathrooms are closed now, but the Blue Ridge Parkway approaching Peaks of Otter from the South is still open. The parkway is closed just North of this area. Be sure to check out Buzzard Roost while you're there; just a quick jaunt to your right once you reach the ridge (you might see this rock outcropping to your right on your ascent and think it's Sharp Top). Sharp Top itself has many "false summits," as you approach, but you'll know you're there when you see the building/signs. Excellent, unobstructed views. Highly recommended!

Stats (all including Buzzard Roost)
3.30 miles RT
1438 ft. elevation gain
1:30 hours RT

As others have said, this is also one of my all time favorite loops summer or winter.

Please take note that sometimes the streams on Falling waters trail can be very treacherous and sometimes raging so much that you cannot, or should not cross.

In the winter if you're planning on doing a loop, I would suggest starting up Falling waters so you can choose to turn around if the streams are too much. Either that or hike for 8+ miles up Bridal, down falling waters only to have to bushwack to the highway to get over the last stream and back to your car.

I hiked this about a month ago and stream crossings were not possible due to heavy snow/rain/melt so we went up and down bridal path which is not ideal but still fun.

This is one of my all-time favorite loops in New England, White Mountains. I approached from the Falling Waters/ Haystack side, walked the ridgeline over Lincoln, and Lafayette. Don't get half way to Garfield before realizing that the Greenleaf Hut Trail goes down the front face of Lafayette.

There are a couple of risky river crossings with minimal markings on the approach. Nice steady climb up with some steep stuff in the last 3/4 mile to Haystack. Once on the ridgeline, there no little to no cover as you are above the trees for the entire time your hiking over Lafayette and even .6 miles down the face. Winds can pick-up out of nowhere so be prepared for anything.

At the Greenleaf Hut going down, starts the gradual incline picking up to some steep sections .7-1.0 mile down. Near vertical rockfaces are frozen with ice in the winter so microspikes/ crampons are necessary in areas, during the winter. The rest of the movement down is at a moderate grade.

This trail is super fun in the winter, just be prepared. Its not easy, and anything can happen.

lovely day hike. did on 1/5/18. definitely watch out for the upper section of old bridle, super icy in a few spots. broke out my crampons for that. fantastic views. I did the loop clockwise, which i would reccomend, although I think it would be great either direction!

I went to Old Rag twice I love the heights and big boulder and so much fun along the way. I will come back to it.

hiking
11 days ago

Gorgeous scenic overlook. The beginning is straight uphill, and fairly demanding. It’s not an easy hike. The scenic overlook is amazing. Spectacular view of Harpers Ferry. This is a “must do” hike for everyone!

This is my favorite hike in Virginia (so far). It’s got amazing views and the rock scramble is so much fun! Bring enough water and take your time! The false summits have great views to rest at if you need them.

Heads up - the parking lot and the surrounding ~5 miles have no cell phone service. There is some sparse service at the summit. Try not to lose your car keys or anything

Great winter hike for hikers of all abilities. However this mountain requires traction (microspikes, Trail crampons) in winter months; without traction, the slopes near the summit would be treacherous (quite a bit of ice). With traction, the whole loop is enjoyable, easy-to-moderate, and can be completed in 2-2.5 hours. Enjoy!

It’s definitely a challenging ascent but well worth it once you make it to the overlook. We watched the sunset and it was spectacular. Highly recommend

One of the best hikes of my life. Loved the wild pony’s!

hiking
13 days ago

Clean trail, not overpopulated, amazing view!!

Fun hike with beautiful views!

Went out hiking today and section A of the Billy Goat Trail is closed due to flooding. Hoping to come back this summer and experience the full trail as we were looking forward to climbing over the rocks in that section.

One of my all time favorites to hike any time of the year! More than the 8.6 miles listed if you hike from the parking lot and down fire trail back. The rock scramble is awesome and there’s normally people up there if you need assistance or get stuck that will help you! Beautiful view at the top, normally not that crowded. Can have some congestion at certain parts of rock climb depending on how busy the summer/spring/fall days are. (Fee free weekends get packed) Make sure you have tons of water and snacks! Takes about 4-5 hours with frequent stopping depending on how long you stay at the top. You’ll think you’re at the top 3 different times before you actually are!

hiking
14 days ago

Hill in the beginning is NO joke. Beautiful view and so worth it. Watch out for the runners. Parking is a pain but I scored a spot right at the opening. Tow path isn’t really marked that well so if you don’t park in town make sure you ask someone on the trail what they saw on the last mile marker.

hiking
14 days ago

Went in July with friends. Did it’s backwards beginning with C. B was the best part because it wasn’t as clogged as A with a bottle neck effect occurring at the steep rock face.

Great hike. Great view. Nice area at the top to do lunch and take it all in before the descent. Highly recommended.

Beautiful hike! The road to Monarch Lake is closed for the season, so know you'll have about an extra mile each way. We saw a family of moose close to the trailhead, lots of animal prints around Monarch Lake so be aware. Snow was well packed for most of the trail, but once you reach the switchbacks after Monarch Lake you'll probably want snowshoes, as XC skiers don't go there. We only made it to Cascade Falls and the trip took about 6 hours RT. Anyone else trying it out in the winter - good luck!

challenging hike but definitely worth it when you get to the top. the views are Great

Started late with my friend at 9:30AM and wasted a lot of time taking pictures. Wouldn't mind doing that again, mad views. The ice was pretty thick and the microspikes were not really holding on at some places. Would definitely advise crampons. Went up falling waters and down old bridle, but old bridle IS REALLY ICY at some places. So climb up that rather climb down.

Anyways had a beautiful sunset at Lafayette, and descended in the dark. Was fun.

This was my third visit to Sharp Top. 61° at the base parking on New year's day. Legs burnnin a third of the way up. Too many stone steps to count but a great workout! The view is wonderful! Unfortunately it was blowin a Gale on the summit decided not to do Buzzards Roost. Definitely do this one!

A great New Years Day hike with my 17 & 15 year old sons. The rock scrambles were no joke! We had a blast. And this map was super helpful in helping us keep track of our progress.

Epic hike! Hiked on 12.27 solo and took 3:57 for the entire loop. Other reviews recommended to go at it counter clockwise so I went up Falling Water and then down Bridle. Microspikes were definitely essential. The cold killed my phone while I was taking pictures before Lafayette so I must come back! I regret not bringing goggles because it was so bright with sun/snow and the wind.

Falling Waters - good workout, be careful at the first water crossing. Looks a little sketchy and the ice isn’t too thick in some places. Take your time to cross.

Little Haystack to Lincoln - gorgeous views, super windy when you make it out of the tree line.

Lafayette to Hut - follow the cairns! With all the wind and snow there’s no telling where the trail is and not much footprints to follow. Look for the cairns to guide you.

Greenleaf - all down hill from there!

17 days ago

Forever my favorite! It’s a all day affair between driving there and hiking but the hike itself is a challenge but it’s worth it

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