Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 512 reviews
#1 of 112 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

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.

geocaching
7 minutes ago

Hike was difficult but was worth the view! The best view I've ever hiked.

hiking
1 day ago

Gorgeous views, hard rock scramble

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike. The rock scramble was no joke. Harder than expected but nothing you can't conquer as a typical hiker or in a good group.

hiking
3 days ago

3 days ago

5 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

The scramble is great, plan on at least 6 hours.

hiking
9 days ago

Very challenging! Can get a bit crowded on the weekends. You need to be a pretty hearty scrambler. Beautiful views... it really does take most of the day so pack accordingly!

hiking
10 days ago

This was a fun challenging hike with great views! We got to the lot at 8 and it was already half full and by the time we finished five hours later, it was all the way full, so plan to come early. The rock scrambles were actually a real challenge on this hike, so if you plan to do the full loop, leave your dog and children at home. The way down from the summit using the fire road was a much more typical hike, so if you have a dog or kids, doing an out and back hike on that route is a much better idea.

11 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

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17 days ago

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18 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

I was on a return trip from DC and wanted to break up the long drive home. I chose this for its reputation and I was not disappointed. The hike starts out like any other uphill east coast hike Appalachian mountain chain hike. However, a few miles in and the boulders start. From there it is a lot of scrambling, lift ups and drop downs among the boulder field. I can see why so many people get in trouble on the trail. The average Joe/Jane is probably starting to feel the hike in their legs about the time they reach the boulder field and gets totally gassed out somewhere on the way to the summit, bad news though, you gotta go through it again. The summit is awesome and worth it. Even if you have the legs to make it up, make sure you have the arms for the boulder field. One of the hardest day hikes I have done on the east coast for its length and elevation.

19 days ago

Very hard hiking beauty place maybe 2 or 3 hours only to climb and reach the top many stones on the road is ideal to wear gloves.

hiking
19 days ago

Frat as fuck

Craziest rock scramble ive ever done.

20 days ago

Such a fulfilling hike. The view from the summit is unparalleled. I will say I left the mountain with a few scrapes. I can't wait to go back!