Old Rag Mountain Loop Trail

HARD 666 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.

1 hour ago

Can be tough. It's a rock scramble. mostly easy but can be challenging. At least in 2 places you need to be able to pull yourself up. you need upper body strength, we had a guy helping us girls out so wasn't too bad.

hiking
16 hours ago

Awesome rock scramble!

hiking
16 hours ago

Fun rock scrambles

20 hours ago

Ol Rag is the best trail/climb in the area! Go early or in off season to avoid the crowds.

hiking
20 hours ago

Started at 2am with headlamps so we could reach the summit by sunrise. A lot of challenging scrambling up and lowering yourself into crevices. You are definitely rewarded with some spectacular views. We were on our way out by 1000 and the parking lot was packed! Get there early.

2 days ago

It is a challenging trail. It is appropriate for more experienced hikers as it involves a lot of rock scrambling on the way up to the summit. Definitely not a hike to be done with children under the age of 12. I don't believe pets are allowed on this trail and rightfully so. If you love your dog don't bring her/him on this hike.

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike! Honestly, I wouldn't label this as "difficult" if you have any hiking experience and in mediocre shape. However, if you are not experienced in minor rock scrambling and having to lift yourself up and crawl/climb onto larger rocks then this probably is a hike you would want to work up to. My friend and I helped plenty of people trying to maneuver through the hike on Sunday and it added over an 1 hour to climb time - cant complain though because we love the view and want everyone to have a safe great experience! I could just tell that those we helped were very very nervous but I think at the end of it all they were pretty proud to have reached the summit!

hiking
2 days ago

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4 days ago

7 days ago

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

hiking
9 days ago

Always great, always crowded

hiking
10 days ago

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10 days ago

11 days ago

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

hiking
12 days ago

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

hiking
13 days ago

14 days ago

Awesome trail. Great views with some technical areas.

hiking
14 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.

14 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.