Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 621 reviews
#1 of 117 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.

38 minutes ago

Best views in VA

14 hours ago

hiking
1 day ago

Challenging, but awesome hike. Spectacular views.

hiking
2 days ago

Excellent hike with some good rock scrambles

2 days ago

3 days ago

wonderful rock scrambles!

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike, can seem a bit longer due to slower pace through the rock scramble, but some great views.

4 days ago

amazing hike in the snow on 1/26/15

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Awesome hike! I've done it three times.

Today was the first time I've done a "sunrise" hike. We started at 3:45am and reached the first summit at 5am giving us about an hour to star gaze and completely watch the sunrise. The first false summit is the best for sunrise views as it directly overlooks the east. The second false summit over looks the west and the very top is a far ways to get to in the pitch black- as well as it is difficult to rock scramble while trying to hold flash lights! Viewing the sunrise at the first summit is a nice resting point as it divides the trail into about equal halves. The first summit is just after the rock scramble begins but before the large rocks and crevasses that you have to climb over and through.

There's was virtually no traffic on the trail when we started at 3:45am. We saw 4 other people while watching the sunrise how ever they viewed it from a different point along the trail. We did not pass anyone else until our descent around 8am. The trail was beginning to get heavily trafficked as we reached the bottom around 9am!

Make sure to wear hiking boots for the ankle support. Bring LOTS of water.

hiking
5 days ago

Delightful hike - steady ascent, exciting rock scramble, multiple opportunities to take in genuinely rewarding views. Worth timing your hike to avoid crowds - hiker logjams can be an issue at various rock features.

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5 days ago

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10 days ago

A friend and I did this hike on Saturday. It was nothing short of awesome. If you're taking the main trail you don't need to know anything prior to arrival. Just get to the lot and follow the signs..and several people.
All the reviews I read say you should get there early, but we arrived at around 9AM and had no issues. The lot was nearly full, but that was fine because the majority of people were already up on the trail. It was $20 for the both of us.
We started at 9:30 and finished in about 5.5 hours WITH 2 breaks. It was a very impressive hike to the summit with many little areas to stop and see the view. The way up may challenge your legs if you haven't hiked in a while. Do it at your own pace and just enjoy the environment.
The rock scramble area was very cool. At times we were literally crawling through cracks and small caves. Granted we took a shortcut...;)
At the summit there are many rock areas where you can sit and see 360 degrees for miles. Truly amazing view. I can't really say that enough. We took a break for pics and stuff at the top and then went down.
The fire road at the end is deceivingly long... There is a medium sized creek towards the end of it. I would highly recommend taking a dip. I had some compression shorts on and I just jumped right in there! Water was chilled and so good after that hike. Chilled out in the creek by a small waterfall for about 30 minutes before the short hike back to the lot.
Overall I truly enjoyed this hike and I can't wait to do it again with the wife (if she actually signs on for a 5.5 hour hike lol).

DO IT.

10 days ago

Did this hike last week. A bit frightening on the rock scramble. Started the hike at 8 A.M. Took 5.5 hours. I only saw 10 people and great wildlife (black bears)!!! Bring lots of water. My friend and I ran out of water at the top of the mountain. Very fun and difficult. Bring hiking boots. You need them for ankle support.

hiking
10 days ago

Great little Family Jaunt! We took one of the lesser known trail legs which I promised one of the local hikers I would keep secret. Saw many Black Bear and be careful, there are rattlesnakes!!!!
Summtted and returned to where we parked in just under 4 hrs. Took lunch with us (double bagged!) and enjoyed a nice little break at the top.
Have a 4year old. So I tethered him to me with a piece of long webbing a littles Swiss-harness-ish configuration. If you don't know ropes don't try it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Best Family Hike Ever

10 days ago

One of Virginia's best for a reason!