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Old Rag Mountain Shenandoah National Park

Syria, Virginia



9.1 miles

Route Type



Added by Brandon Stoffregen

Old Rag is an amazing hike that leads to beautiful panoramas and rock formations. It can be completed as a day hike or backpacking trip to other loop trails. There are a number of rock caves to explore along the way. Old Rad is a great trip in October when the leaves are changing and views are best from the summit.

Old Rag Mountain is located in Shenandoah National Park and is one of the most popular hikes in the area. The hike is often filled with crowds of day hikers and the parking area becomes occupied quickly. The hike can be accomplished as a day hike, but is also a great challenge to complete as part of a backpacking adventure while in Shenandoah. The hike consists of two trails that can be completed in a loop. The Ridge Trail is the more difficult portion of the hike which includes a number of rock scrambles. The scrambles require climbing and squeezing through cracks of rock formations. The Saddle Trail primarily consists of switchbacks. There are two, day shelters available on the Saddle Trail with fire rings. The Birds Nest Shelter is first with a fire ring and Old Rag Shelter is second with a fire ring and bathroom.

Start at the Old rag parking area (can be used overnight) and follow the road (SR600) to an older closed Old Rag parking lot. Once at the old parking area follow the blue trail markers to the left up to the Ridge Trail. The trail begins with slight increase in elevation and turns into switchbacks before reaching one of a number of beautiful views. After one of first outlook points the trail will become rocky and the climbing will initiate. At this point you will begin your rock scramble to the summit. The scramble can be challenging but fun and Old Rag will provide a great reward once you reach the summit. If you don’t see a sign, you have not reached the summit. There are a number of views along the way that may appear like the summit. At the summit enjoy the panoramas and rock formations (great place for lunch) and head down toward the Saddle Trail. The sign at the summit provides arrows towards the Saddle Trail. Carry on down the Saddle Trail which will begin to decrease your elevation and lead you to the Byrd's Nest Shelter at about 0.3 miles. Travel to the right of the Birds Nest shelter down through more switchbacks to the Old Rag Shelter and you will reach Old Rag fire road. Old Rag fire road leads back to the parking area.If you are completing this trip as part of a backpacking adventure you cannot camp above 2,000 feet or anywhere in Old Rag area. There is camping in surrounding areas and at the end of the Saddle Trail near Old Rag shelter. If you are backpacking you can camp and complete a number of additional loop trails around the area before heading back to the parking area.

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Mountain Biking
Easy Parking


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