Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 842 reviews
#1 of 135 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
2355 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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.

hiking
8 hours ago

Love this trail! Awesome rock scramble at the top.

hiking
12 days ago

Great feeling of accomplishment after this hike. Difficult but well with the effort! Some of the most beautiful views I've seen.

hiking
22 days ago

Wonderful trail! I forgot how awesome the scenery was along the way. I had been here a few years ago and forgot how challenging some of the parts were. We did the loop backwards, ending with the rock scramble. We avoided the rain until we got almost to the summit. Remember to follow the blue marks, as we got off trail for a mile and a half.

hiking
1 month ago

I’m a novice hiker, but LOVED this trail!

I went in December, not expecting it to be snowy, boy was I wrong! The trail was extremely icy and slippery until the rock scramble, but the views were well worth it. This was my first time ever experiencing a ‘rock scramble’ and it was definitely exciting! There were a few tricky places and I definitely recommend going with someone who has already been before as I would have been lost by myself towards the summit.

DO NOT BRING A BULKY BACKPACK as you will be squeezing between rocks quite often. Do wear rough pants as it was easier in some places to slide down rocks instead of risking breaking an ankle.

We hiked about 11 miles from 8a-2p.

hiking
1 month ago

Breathtaking sights, and a great workout.

hiking
1 month ago

This was an amazing hike that me and a few friends did in the spring and the fall, both times were beautiful! The leaves at the summit are breath taking and the rock scramble was the best part!

hiking
1 month ago

she is called a old rag for a reason. But a good scramble

hiking
1 month ago

My favorite so far

hiking
1 month ago

I’ve hiked this trail many times and each I never get bored hiking this trail!! Make sure to plan a lunch and enough water for all day.

hiking
1 month ago

Very busy at certain times of the year, so try to go on weekdays if possible. This is my favorite hikes in the area. I would recommend it to everyone I believed was fit and agile enough to do so. Much of the hold up on weekends is due to people who are not comfortable scrambling.

hiking
1 month ago

This is an incredibly fun trail. I recommend ascending the ridge trail and descending the weakley hollow fire road. There is a privy shortly after the peak and two shelters in case of surprise weather. I brought my trekking poles which was nice for about 2 miles at the beginning and then the boulder scramble needed both hands. Definitely a challenging scramble but so much fun! The view is also amazing, duh. But obviously go in the green season! The only negative was how busy it was. So many people!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this back in August, by far my favorite! The rock scramble is a lot of fun and the views are wonderful on the way up. It’s more like an 11 mile than a 9 mile hike because the parking lot is a mile from the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked the trail on a sunny day, average of 45 degrees F. Make sure to layer and bring warm hat and thin gloves. You'll be hot first, then once you climb boulders until almost to the end of the loop depending on your pace you'll be cold. Started a little before 11 in the morning and finished the 9.5 mile loop in about 4:45. This included about 20 minutes to eat lunch at the summit. Beautiful views and fun rocks to climb over and through. Don't let the Hard difficulty rating deter you and your family.

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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!

hiking
2 months 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!

hiking
2 months ago

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

2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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!!

hiking
2 months 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.

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