Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 656 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.

15 minutes ago

2 days ago

Super fun, don't suggest camping on it but to see the sunrise it's literally the best.

hiking
4 days ago

Always great, always crowded

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

6 days ago

Challenging, fun trail with incredible views for the payoff. It is crowded.

hiking
7 days ago

Great Experience. So many amazing views and a fun hike!!

hiking
9 days ago

9 days ago

Awesome trail. Great views with some technical areas.

hiking
9 days ago

Ends up being more like 11 miles when you account for walking to and from the parking area. Nice rock scrambling. Super fun. Very technical hike. Definitely my favorite hike I've done so far. Great people on the trail. View from the summit is second to none and plenty of great stops along the way up. Saw a black bear cub right at the start of the trail. Fire road on the way down feels endless. You will absolutely lose cell service before getting anywhere close to the mountain so save your cell battery and have your route back home plugged in. Bring plenty of water. Go during the middle of the week if you can and avoid the crowds.

9 days ago

Took about 4:15 with a few short breaks, and a 15minute lunch at the top. The initial ascent is moderately difficult. The final scramble was more challenging than I expected (lots of challenging hoists, shimmying between boulders, slides, etc). The way down is easy once you hit the fire road. Saw two black bears near the summit.

9 days ago

Loved the trail, but it ends up being a 12 mile hike - add in 1.5 walk to parking lot to start and finish. We hiked overnight with headlamps and watched the sun rise and caught some shooting stars. Got out of there by 1030, place was packed. And it's only a Wednesday. Also, all agreed, easily our hardest hike ever!

10 days ago

Best hike in the area, also one of the more technical. Do this on off days, or as a night hike. Ended up with around 12 miles round-trip once I had explored the summit a bit.

hiking
10 days ago

Great climb up and run down. Very crowded though. Beautiful vistas towards the top, but recommend in the fall.

hiking
12 days ago

Great hike!! Loved the challenge in some spots of the rock scramble. Definitely not a beginner hike, but I had a blast.

hiking
13 days ago

13 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Probably is and will be one of my top 3 hikes of all time. Great workout, great views, and great adventure for those who are a bit more daring. Massive boulders atop a peak with great views that serve as an adult playground. Recommend 100% if you're physically capable of the strenuous hike.

hiking
13 days ago

We went with a group of 5 in February, started hiking up around 8am, we were finished by 3ish! Only took us about 7 hours and that was with stopping a few times to catch our breath, and once for about 30 minutes to eat lunch at the top! It was an amazing hike! Be careful around February though for ice on the rocks, we kept having to pull each other up some rocks that you had to club because of the ice. Otherwise it was amazing ! We listened to a podcast the first 4.5 miles until we got to the rock scramble which helped time pass ! I added some pictures as well! Hoping they will be posted soon!

hiking
14 days ago