Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 451 reviews
#1 of 110 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.

9.0 miles 2493 feet Loop




nature trips

rock climbing





wild flowers




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.

trail running
1 day ago

Great trail run. 3 hours and 18 minutes is my best time. Saw a baby black bear last time I ran it. Great views and scrambles at the top.

2 days ago

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7 days ago

Amazing hike, 8/10 difficulty, bouldering is challenging-definitely not for people out of shape or weak.

8 days ago

Arguably the best hike in Virginia. Great winding trail through the forest/side of the mountain, very suddenly turns into a challenging rock scramble till you hit the summit. Unbeatable panoramic views once you get there. Very windy as you get closer to the top. Not for the faint of heart, definitely requires commitment. Truly rewarding hike all in all.

8 days ago

Went up there again last weekend and there was about 3 inches of snow that fell overnight. The trail part wasn't too bad with the snow but it exerted a lot of energy trying to stabilize each step moving up and both down the mountain. The truly horrifying part was the rock scramble with a great mixture of snow and ice covering nearly every challenging part. It amplified the difficultly tremendously and I wouldn't suggest trying this under these conditions unless you are prepared to take extra time. Some parts the snow help gain some grip, but mostly it made areas normally not too challenging extremely dangerous. We got to trail at about 730am and there were only 4 other cars in the parking lot. But the time we got back around 1:30 the parking lot was completely full. That's a Saturday on Old Rag i suppose. Prepare for it to get even worse come full spring and summer. We also went up the trail that gets to the scramble by about mile 3 and then after the summit it's a 5.2 mile bike back to the car. Overall a fun experience for me, but challenging for a first timer that was with me. I highly suggest staying away from this under snowy conditions especially if you're with someone trying this for their first time. Scenery though was amazing and even with the snow we were hot with just a hoodie and jacket.

14 days ago

Tough, difficult hike at times, but awesome views and neat environment!

17 days ago

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23 days ago

This was a great hike! It was difficult enough to feel challenged, but pretty enough to still enjoy it. There were several "false summits" and the blue markers get a little hard to follow close to the summit, but other than that the trail is very well maintained. There were stunning views pretty much the entire way I already want to hike it again!

24 days ago

Very nice day!

25 days ago

Challenging with some great rock scrambles, which means you will be pulling yourself up, over, and between the rocks. From parking lot, around 9.7 miles loop completed in around 4hrs 50 mins with few stops for pics and snack break at the top of the mountain.

26 days ago

Amazing hike! Even got caught in a hail/lightning storm during the rock scramble. Still worth it!

29 days ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

The effort is definitely worth it with an amazing view!! Great for sunsets!