Explore the most popular river trails in Shenandoah National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike. We did get lost at one point extending the hike by a mile or too; saw a bear (who wasn't very afraid) and at one point had trouble passing a very large hornet's nest handing mid trail. Made it all the more exciting however!

Beautiful falls!! Good air. Worth it!

Had a great time on this trail!

Intense hike that will have you scaling boulders.... and crawling on hands and knees at times. The view at the top was pretty magnificent though...

Fantastic hike, this is not a hike if you are not somewhat fit - the rock scrambling can be difficult, lifting your body weight and sliding between rocks. I suggest bringing gloves for the rock scramble, as the granite can eventually start to hurt your palms. Views are worth the climb! IF you are unsure about doing the rock scramble, you can always take the fire road up to the top, it's a lot easier than the switchbacks and rock scramble.

This is an absolutely amazing, challenging hike! Not for the weak in heart!

So far the hardest trail I’ve hiked, but so worth it! The views are incredible!
It was a bit muddy and wet; but teamwork got my family and I through.

This was my first real hike! Before, it had pretty much been all flat trails or minimal elevations and definitely not as long. Needless to say, this one kicked my tail. I've since been back and faired a lot better and as of now Old Rag is by far my favorite hike.

The trail is listed at 9 miles but you can probably add another mile on each end since you have to walk to the trailhead from the parking lot. I also recommend heading up clockwise and doing the scramble on the way up as opposed to doing the opposite. The first half of the climb is mainly elevations, obviously, and switchbacks. Just when it gets pretty exhausting, you come up on the rock scramble and for the most part switch from using your legs to a mixture of upper body which gives you a nice break from exhausted legs. The summit is beautiful and well worth waiting for to take your lunch break and enjoy the views. The hike down can be a bit rocky and fast-paced. Eventually you'll get to a long flat road that makes up a majority of your walk back to the parking lot if not more than half. I think right many people actually take this way up and back to avoid the rock scramble. Personally, I think it's worth doing the scramble so you can get the most out of Old Rag. It's definitely a challenge and well worth the hard rating.

Recommendations:
- 3 of 4 liters of water.
- Snack food and/or lunch.
- Hiking boots with ankle protection as opposed to low tops, mainly due to the quick pace of the hike downhill and the rocky terrain. Waterproofing isn't much of a need on this hike.
- I also suggest leaving your "paid for" walking stick and maybe just taking up a makeshift stick for your initial climb. Once you get to the rock scramble it's kind of in your way and annoying, so you could throw it away at that point.

backpacking
9 days ago

TICKS! Ticks, ticks, ticks, ticks, ticks. Admittedly went in to this trek ignorant to the prevalence of ticks in Virginia, especially as it relates to spring, but my goodness were they everywhere. They unfortunately consumed a lot of our time - fighting them off, checking each other, keeping bags off the ground, etc. We couldn't even sit at our backcountry camp site, as within minutes there'd be 2-3 crawling up your boot.

This was a combination of lack of preparedness by us (i'll never go in the woods without premethrine spray and /or treated clothes again) and negligence by the welcome center of Shenandoah National Park. We spent 30 minutes discussing possible treks with a Ranger there, going over every little detail including what to look out for. That ticks never came up, knowing how unbelievably prevalent they are there, was ridiculous. You have families and newbie backpackers coming in oblivious, and you don't even mention it? Whatever with the bears ....TICKS! One ended up getting me, and I'm not happy about it.

Regarding the actual trek, it was nice. The stream/river was beautiful and we set up camp about 30 yards off of it. Provided beautiful sounds all day and night. Had a day hike up Neighbor's Mountain (2400 feet) which was cool. Nothing amazing, just a bunch of pretty vistas at the peak. On your way down Jeremy's Run to start the ascent of Neighbor Mountain, you'll come across a pretty water fall. Nothing monstrous, but decent size and power. Adjacent to that waterfall is an ideal camping spot. I'm guessing it's very popular and it had a lot of signs of use. Yet another thing that should've been mentioned by the Ranger. I would target this as a camp spot for overnighters. Spacious and you're right on the waterfall. You'll see stone steps going up to the area across the stream near the waterfall.

All in all, good not great. Take a bath in permetrhine before you go! Kidding of course, it goes on clothes and gear only.

EDIT: I failed to mention that along Jeremy's Run you'll have to cross the stream/river about 15 times. When we went the water was very low, making crossing easy.

This was probably the best ones I’ve been to in awhile. It is taxing on you so be prepared to take breaks as you go. A few downed trees were in our path due to a storm we had had there recently, but it wasn’t a big deal as we went through it.

3/5 stars for the terrible crowds if you go on a weekend.

10/5 stars if you hike up in the dark and watch the sunrise. We've hiked up Old Rag a few times at night to watch meteor showers and catch epic sunrises. The trail up to the ridge is easy to follow with a headlamp. If you aren't comfortable scrambling in the dark, the first overlook is easy to get to. Nothing beats an Old Rag sunrise in the fall!

One caution: if you hike up in the dark during the summer, you WILL see snakes. They are only active at night when it's cool, and you will see a lot of them.

hiking
12 days ago

What a way to spend my 60th Birthday. Beautiful scenery and a challenge scrambling up the rocks on our way back up to the parking lot. Trail is not for a novice!

The beauty of this trail is unsurpassed. You hike through a forest with the river by your side. There are 3 river crossings. The third one was high (due to recent rains) so we removed our boots. The waterfall at the end of this hike was spectacular.

hiking
13 days ago

Fantastic hike! Two-thirds of this loop follows cascading creeks/falls, easily walkable trail. Took our miniature dachshund and he loved it. Easily one of our favorites in Shenandoah NP!

this trail is not for the faint of heart. but this trail also has the most amazing views of the gorgeous Shenandoah. prepare for some bouldering near the top of the trail.

A wonderful, fun hike.

Awesome hike

This hike is pretty difficult but nothing crazy imo, a little rock scrambling here and there, but to be named the most dangerous hike in VA, now that's crazy! But then again I haven't hiked much in VA and this hike is probably the hardest day hike in the Shenandoah, I'll give it that. It is a great hike with plenty of views of rolling mountains. Parking fills up fast, I went in December which is off season and the parking lot was still full, so as you can imagine this hike gets crowded! So if possible go on a weekday and enjoy the amazing views!

the majority of the trail is a moderately inclined hike but the bouldering field will be the true test for anyone taking on old rag. Be prepared for a strenuous and long bouldering session after a few miles of good hiking. give yourself an honest evaluation of your physical ability before attempting this trail. not doing so could put you and rescue personnel in harms way.

This was an awesome hike that I did as a 2 day 1 overnight backpacking trip. Following is some information that I hope is helpful. I would recommend doing it clockwise so you get to go up the boulders of Old Rag and end on the Fire roads. Note the bouldering is difficult with a full pack, I had to take it off about 10 times to go around, over, under, through the boulders. I was very lucky that I had awesome people around me that helped me lift my pack up a few times on some more challenging sections. Still possible alone, but definitely saves time. Very fun!
Water: There's lots of water along Cedar Run Trail and some fun river crossings until you get to Skyline drive. Then there's not a lot of water until you get to the bottom of Nicholson Hollow Trail. There's a nice stream there you cross 2x. There are also a lot smaller streams after you make the climb up Indian Run Trail, but I'm not sure how consistent they are during dry spells (it rained the day before I went). There's lots of water again along Corbin Hollow Trail.
Camping: I hiked about 14 miles day one, 10 miles day two. You may be able to camp at Corbin Cabin, I think that cabin is more than just day use but not positive. There were a bunch of camping spots on Indian Run Trail. I camped at a great spot just a little before Old Rag Fire Road. There may have also been some spots that followed back country camping rules at the beginning of Corbin Hollow Trail and off of Weakley Hollow Fire Road.
Note, at least this weekend there were a lot of people along the whole trail except for Nicholson Hollow Trail until I got closer to the Old Rag Parking area.
An amazing hike! I think next time I want to hike up Old Rag without a pack! :) ENJOY and Happy Trails!!

hiking
20 days ago

Best hike in the Shenandoah! Perfect day. Light wind to keep away the bugs and beautiful blue sky. Lots of stream crossing throughout the hike. Definitely a challenging, strenuous hike but SO worth it! Recommend high-top, waterproof, non-skid hiking boots, as there is a lot of tricky stream crossing and rock scrambling.

Hiked this on 4/29 with both my 9 and 5 yr old boys. We only hiked out to the concrete waterfall lookout area and back which was about 3 miles total. This was by far the most challenging hike I've done with them so far. The hike back is all uphill, and some of the rocky areas could get dangerous if you're not aware of your children's abilities and experience hiking. Great hike overall, quite a few beautiful spots to sit and enjoy the sounds of the water. I'm sure I could enjoy it even more if I wasn't concerned about fishing my kids out of the water

Very enjoyable trail We take our kids (5 and 7) moderate ratings are usually okay for them Just a little advise do not split left at the first split trail option We did not go that way and I ran into another hiker that did and it is very steep

backpacking
21 days ago

This was a fun hike. The bouldering before Old Rag was fun. We had packs so it was hard in some areas to fit through the rocks, but it would’ve definitely been more enjoyable without a larger pack. The rock scramble took a while, so plan for that. The rest of the hiking is easy. The first 0.8 mile is a road, which kinda stinks especially at the end when your feet hurt.

My first hike. This was amazing. Definitely challenging but well worth every sore muscle and bruised knee.

hiking
21 days ago

Great waterfall views and it was nice to do the majority of this hike next to water. It was National Park Week when we did this, so I think the trail was a little more crowded than usual because we crossed paths with about 40 people.

We stayed along the Graves Mill trail this time which runs along the river. I can’t find a entry for that trail so posting on here instead. But Graves Mill connects to the Staunton River Trail. It stays along the river; it’s a nice easy hike with a couple river crossings. The water is pretty high right now so crossing with our two dogs was a fun adventure!

Incredible trail. Can be done by novice hikers, but be prepared for a very long, tiring walk. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Fantastic views and great sense of accomplishment when you’re finished.

Done this a dozen times. It never gets old.

There is a good reason why this hike is rated as #1 here - it is great fun and the views are absolutely phenomenal.
You start with a fairly pleasant walk in the woods that gradually transforms into a rock/boulder scramble with great views along the way. You have to squeeze through some narrow gaps and get down on all four every once in a while, but I don't think that the hike is too hard if you're in a reasonable shape. After reaching the summit, the descent and return can get a bit monotonous I guess, although when we visited, the foliage was at its peak, so there was always something to look at. If you're in Shenandoah, this hike is a must. I really can't recommend it highly enough.

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