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Old Rag Mountain Loop

Etlan, Virginia

based on 32 reviews



8.95 miles

Elevation Gain

2510 ft

Route Type



Added by Susan Billings

Old Rag mountain is a beautiful hiking destination, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah National Park. This 9 mile circuit offers breathtaking panoramic views the entire way and is a favorite trail of many hikers. Sorry no pets.

Be prepared to deal with crowds, especially on the rock scrambles, which tend to cause a bottle neck on this trail in Shenandoah National Park. I would recommend starting out early on this loop hike, around 6 or 7 am to avoid the crowds. Definitely arrive no later than 9:30am, as the parking lot fills up quickly.

From the Old Rag parking area, walk about a mile up SR600 following it as it veers left. From there you will be at the beginning of the park boundary. Look for a post with a blue blazes marking the Ridge trail. This trail has a slightly steep incline and will lead you through a green luscious forest. About 2 miles in, you will reach your first view point. Be sure to have your camera ready! From there, the trail gradually becomes more rocky and the last mile before the summit is a challenging, but very fun, rock scramble.The trail during the scramble tends to get backed up because there are some narrow and tight spots that can only fit one person at a time. However, you can take advantage of your waiting time by snapping some great photos of the 360 degree view. When you reach the summit, you will realize why you hiked and scrambled 4+ miles to get to the top – IT’S BEAUTIFUL! I would suggest packing a lunch for the summit, so you can sit back, relax, eat your sandwich and enjoy the scenery. If you ever get lost or are unsure of which way the trail goes, just keep an eye out for the blue marks that line the trail.

To finish the circuit, follow the signs posted at the summit to Saddle Trail. (While on the Saddle Trail, keep an eye out for a view of Balanced Rock near the Byrd's Nest Shelter. ) This trail will lead you past Old Rag Shelter to Weakley Hollow Fire Road, which you will follow for about 2.5 miles back to the parking lot.

If you ever get lost or are unsure of which way the trail goes, just keep an eye out for the blue blazes that line the trail.

If you’d like a nice glass of wine to enjoy afterwards, check out Sharp Rock Vineyards, located on the foot of Old Rag Mountain at 5 Sharp Rock Road. It's just a short drive from the parking area and is a perfect place to unwind after a long hike!

Helpful Links

Shenandoah National Park Service website - (540) 999-3500

Trail Map

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Old Rag Mountain Loop Reviews

Moved to the city and needed nature. Went with a friend on a rainy & foggy day. Perfect day to go. Didn't see many people, saw a bear tho. Best part of the hike was seeing the cub less than 2 feet away from me, just staring at me. A fun scramble my second favorite part. At the top you couldn't see any sort of view which I personally loved. All you could see was the fog moving quickly. You maybe could see about 4 feet then straight fog. It was beautiful and crazy since I have never seen anything like it. It was a long hike and cold but well worth it. Nothing else is really around which was cool.

This is THE must do day hike in the Mid-Atlantic. $10 parking if you don't have a Shenandoah Pass, $10 parking on the old lady's private property if the Old Rag lot is full. Expect a lot of crowds but the payoff is great. Tremendous panoramic views of the VA Piedmont or towards the park. After the hike, grab a meal at the nearby town of Sperryville before heading home.

I've been hiking old rag since I was a child. The views are unlike anything I've seen and you literally feel on top the world. Pack appropriately and know that this does require rock scrambling. Follow the trail markers and stay on the path!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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