Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 797 reviews
#1 of 120 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




nature trips

rock climbing

trail running





wild flowers




no dogs

This hike is one of the most popular hikes in Shenandoah National Park. It is a challenging hike, but when you make it about 3/4 of the way up, you will then 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 area (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. When hiking Old Rag Mountain, each time you think you’ve reached the summit – you haven’t! This mountain has several false summits. You’ll know that you’ve reached the Old Rag Summit when you see the Old Rag Mountain brown elevation sign. Find a lovely rock with a fabulous 360 degree 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.

7 hours ago

two families set out with 5 kids, ages 9, 13, 11, 10 and 17. not knowing what to expect. we finished the loop, feeling the same way. What an awesome experience we had. If you have not done this with your family. it is a must. be prepared to stretch, crawl and climb your way through the scramble, you will hear laughter and ouches. but the view at the top is worth it. enjoy and hope you feel the same we do.

15 hours ago

First time doing Old Rag. I started at 6am and got back to my car 5 1/2 hours laters. I thought I reached the Summit before I reached the Summit maybe because my body was ready to head back down. lol
I reached the Summit after 3 1/2 hours. The hike was a challenge but I was able to do it alone with minor scratches. The two most important items were gloves (to grip rocks) and my boots. I’m also glad for my long pants as I had to crawl under and slide down rocks. My mistake was not drinking and eating appropriately as I started to cramp from the knees down, but I rested and kept going. I’ve been hiking for two years but this one was by far my most challenging. Would do it all over again!

18 hours ago

I wish there was more going on for the fire road, but still a 5 because the rock scramble is a 10.

21 hours ago

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5 days ago

I’ve hiked old rag for the passed two years with my cross country team, and i absolutely love it. One of my favorite hikes!

5 days ago

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6 days ago

7 days ago

Awesome hike! Is tough in parts but a lot fun even in 34 degree weather. Views are amazing

8 days ago

Hiked this beaut today on a warm 18degree morning. Got here around 7am to avoid the crowds and after an amazing climb reached the summit in about two hours. Explored the top for a bit and enjoyed the awesome views. Rock scrambling was enjoyed throughout. Made our way back down and gradually walked the remaining 2.5 mile fire road to the end. Took us about 4.5 hours. Great day hike but get here early before the crowds swarm in.

9 days ago

The trail is a bit challenging for some people, but it is worth getting all the way on top of those rocks. Therefore, please wear proper hiking shoes and gloves!!! That's because some rocks can be slippery than the others. Take your time going up and you might need to make some strategic decisions on which rock you would like to hop in order to get to the top. Enjoy the view!!

10 days ago

11 days ago

12 days ago

13 days ago

It was a challenging hike for my first. The rock scramble was tough and I took several breaks along the way up. The view at the top was amazing!!! I will be doing it again in the early summer.

14 days ago

14 days ago

Beginning and end of trail is easy through beautiful trees (great fall colors late October 2017). The scramble before the peak was fun, cold, and at times mildly treacherous. It was generally well-marked with light blue blazes. I recommend carrying a small backpack and bringing gloves for the scramble. Trekking poles get in the way. It was helpful to have a second person at times for that extra boost up huge rocks. We started the hike around 7am on a weekday and shared the peak with only one couple. On our way back to the old rag parking lot, we noticed people coming up from the Berry Hollow Parking, which cuts the hike to 5.4mi RT and takes out the scramble.

15 days ago

vigorous and amazing trail. It's about 9 miles but of you include to and from parking it's closer to 11. If you're short you will need help on some parts!