Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 737 reviews
#1 of 119 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
1 day ago

hiking
1 day ago

It is absolutely worth it, but also strange waiting in a line of hikers to go through some of the narrow scrambles.

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
2 days ago

too many people! impossible to finish the hike. we had to turn around because it was a real human jam!

3 days ago

Very streneous trail but totally worth it.

3 days ago

3 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

this was an amazing hike !!, the climb up is legit so make sure you have comfortable shoes/boots and don't carry a ton of weight . the views were unreal , spent about 6 hours exploring with a small group, I will definitely hike this again.

hiking
4 days ago

4 days ago

Well worth it

5 days ago

An absolute must do.

hiking
5 days ago

6 days ago

WOWOWOW GLORY SAUCE

hiking
6 days ago

Great hike! You can do it in either direction of travel which changes the challenges of the rock sections. If hiking later in the day a head lamp is a must if there’s the slightest chance you might get caught after dark in the rocks during your down climb. Enjoy!!

7 days ago

Beautiful breathtaking views, especially enjoyed the fall colors.

hiking
7 days ago

7 days ago

This hike was amazing!

7 days ago

fun hike, very pretty, go early, traffic is annoying. Avoid weekends and holidays.

8 days ago

Did this trail over Columbus Day weekend and took our two 8 year olds. Did the full loop and it was def strenuous, but well worth it. Out boys loved all the rock climbing and narrow pathways. They did amazing, but they are seasoned hikers since they were 2 1/2.

We had to wait 30 min in line, yes you read this correctly, in line, just to get thru some of the narrow rock paths. I guess bc of the holiday weekend and trail popularity this was expected. The 5 mile hike down from the summit was easy, but at that point our legs were toast!! Views were amazing. Liked that the trail had plenty of shade. Bring LOTS of water and snacks as there are plenty of killer spots to chill with a view!