Old Rag Mountain Loop

Etlan, Virginia

4.7/5
based on 32 reviews

Details

Distance

8.95 miles

Elevation Gain

2510 ft

Route Type

Loop

Description

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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Features

Photography
Hiking
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

Old Rag Mountain Loop Reviews

Went in June with friends - beautiful clear day.

So much fun! Bouldering and views are the best part.

Old Rag Trail requires a permit from Recreation.gov beginning March 2022. The trail from the new parking lot ascends quickly. The rock scrambles begin at the sign, "No camping beyond this point". I prefer to hike it out-and-back because the loop includes a long fire road.

Leave No Trace

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

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