Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 706 reviews
#1 of 118 trails in

Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail is a 9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2493 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

This hike is considered to be THE best in Shenandoah National Park. It is pretty hard climb, but when you make it about 3/4 of the way up, then you have some rock scrambling that makes your pace a little slower. There are alot of switchbacks, so you will not be going straight up, but the trails are still at a steep grade. The descent, which is a longer distance than the ascent, is a much more gradual grade, ending on a fire trail. This hike begins with a one-mile walk up the road to the original Old Rag Parking lot (port-a-pots here.) Turn left onto the Ridge Trail and begin your approximate two mile ascent with switchbacks before reaching the boulder scramble section. There are handwritten numbers below the blue trail blazes throughout the trail. You’ll be going up, down, in between, around, and underneath granite boulders throughout the scramble. While going through the boulder scramble, keep your eyes open for the blue blazes, as sometimes they are in the strangest places. If you have a fear of heights, or jumping across crevasses, this will challenge you and encourage you to overcome your fears. Each time you think you’ve reached the summit – you haven’t! This mountain likes to play with you and has several false summits. You’ll know that you’ve reached the top when you see the Old Rag Mountain brown elevation sign. Find a lovely rock with a fabulous view for your lunch spot here, before starting your descent on the back of the mountain by way of the Saddle Trail. Rock hopping down, you’ll pass two shelters. First the Byrds Nest Shelter, then the Old Rag Shelter (privy here) before hitting a cross-roads. Stay to your right to continue back on the Weakley Hollow Fire Road for about four miles to return to the parking lot. This section can seem like it’ll last forever. You will pass through beautiful forests and see Brokenback Run that leads into the Hughes River.

hiking
13 hours ago

hiking
1 day ago

I really liked this trail. It took us totally around 7 hours. Some parts of the trail can be difficult for some people because you have to climb or slide the rocks or jump. Also some parts are tight that only one person could fit there so there was a line of people waiting which took us almost 20mins. We also took a breaks during way up and had a lunch on the top of the rock. Way down is kinda easy, just slippery. Me and my husband are not professionals but we really enjoyed our day there!

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7 days ago

it was amazing

hiking
7 days ago

A great day hike with spouse and friends. Old Rag is always a lot of fun, regardless of when you go. The weather was great (80 degrees and sunny) so the crowds were out, but the scramble didn't get too backed up in most sections. Beware of the flood of insects currently residing at the summit (they drove a lot of people off the summit during lunch hour). Also, the park rangers advised that although it might have seemed like a busy day, it was only moderately packed and that October is when this trail gets really jammed with leaf peepers. Worth knowing if you're planning a trip in the next month. They advised that the parking area would be completely full by 8:30 a.m. during the peak fall foliage season.

My best recommendation would be to get on this trail EARLY if you're looking for any degree of solitude and unobstructed scrambling at your own pace without blockages. But again, Old Rag is always a fun time, regardless of when and how you approach it. Not to be missed.

hiking
7 days ago

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11 days ago

13 days ago

Loved this trail and the scramble up is definitely for folks in at least decent shape. The view at the top makes the work getting up worth it. Took our group about 6 hours with some stops and an extended lunch break.

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful weather and great hike. Did need a helpful push or pull up on a few of the rock scrambles but made it to the top and enjoyed the beautiful view. My backpack was jutting out a little too much for some of the tighter squeezes through the rocks so make sure you have a light low profile backpack. Only needed about 24 oz of water since a cooler day. Took us 7 hours from leaving car to returning to car. Farthest and hardest hike I have ever done and hope to do it again. Got too close to a yellow jackets nest at the base of a tree on the right side of the path about 0.5 miles from the start and was stung by four of them. My hiking buddy also got stung once. If you see a hole near the base of a tree- stay away.

13 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

This was a truly amazing hike. It's 9 miles of which 4 are all up hill, involve some switchbacks and LOTS of rock climbing and scrambling and crawling. The views are spectacular and while there were a few backups at some of the more difficult rock maneuver areas, overall this hike is well with the time and difficulty level. The first two miles after the summit are all down hill over somewhat rough terrain. After that remainder of the hike is on the fire trail which is occasionally flat and sometimes down hill. The trail was heavily trafficked but we encountered only nice, pleasant hikers.

hiking
14 days ago