Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 557 reviews
#1 of 115 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.

19 hours ago

The first third of this trail is the most difficult. The rock scramble was awesome and made the hike worthwhile - the views were nice also! We tackled the scramble on the way up and took the fire road back down. I would recommend going back down the scramble and omitting the fire road altogether because it left a lot to be desired after the great views and adventure at the summit. Bring lots of water - took us right at 6 hours including lunch and breaks. We went on a Tuesday and saw maybe 20 people the whole time. I would definitely do this hike again!

4 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

6 days ago

The hike was great and the views were amazing! The hike down seemed to take forever. Saw a bear and deer along with Ravens at the top!

hiking
6 days ago

This hike is like stairmaster on steroids. But the views are amazing. Bring lots of water!

7 days ago

7 days ago

Still recovering from this 7 hr hike. Scramble was very real. Great views of beautiful mountains and later great views of multiple blisters on my feet. We needed 3 qts of liquid each. Go prepared!

11 days ago

Good rock climb! Nice work out, beautiful view!

12 days ago

Real deal one of the best hikes I've ever done. Rock scramble was no joke. We went when it was rainy so we were literally in the clouds when we got to the top. Definitely going back!!!!

13 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Awesome trail. The views are spectacular, make sure you wear hiking boots because of the slippery rocks, carry lots of water and insect repellent to keep the ticks away.

13 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Challenging. Combination of rocky path and tree covered areas.

13 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Incredible climb. Rock scramble is challenging but worth the reward.
Bring lots of water and make sure you have enough electrolytes (I know everyone is saying it but it's important)
The map says it's a 7 hour hike but I was up at the top in 2 hrs 10 min and down in 1 hr 50 min.
A lot of the time up was spent in lines, so it can easily be done in under 2 hours on a weekday.
To sum it up, hard climb, worth the reward

14 days ago

Fun trail! Great Views.

hiking
14 days ago

Difficult but great hike especially the rock scrambler right before the summit. Make sure you take enough water and electrolytes.

15 days ago

excellent trail for wide variety of experiences. fairly well maintained for rough Terrain . suggest taking latex coated gloves for extra grip for the rock scramble at the top. start early to avoid the crowds or go midweek. amazing views from the top. well worth the solid seven to eight hours if you take your time. full loop is very rigorous at times.