Hike Old Rag Mountain

9 miles 2510 ft gain  - Loop Trail

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 of many hikers. Sorry no pets.

Be prepared to deal with crowds, especially on the rock scrambles, which tend to cause a bottle neck. I would recommend starting out early, 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 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 mark to indicate 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. 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 marks 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!

Read More




Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥇Top Contributor

2 months ago

Easily the best

It doesn't get much better than Old Rag. Yes, the crowds are insane. Yes, it gets congested. Arrive early and you'll have the trail to yourself and a couple other smart planners. Oh, and just because its popular doesn't mean its easy... its a difficult hike with some rock scrambling. I've seen many folks/families have to turn around just a couple miles in...

Loved it

Once you get to the rock scramble it’s an amazing hike

Exhilarating and tremendous views

I have been waiting years to do this hike as each time I made plans the weather was icy/rainy! It was definitely worth the wait! We got there at 10:30am and were able to get parking in the lot, however it was a Thursday. The hike up is definitely tough, but once you get to the rock scrambles your pace slows down. Highly recommend having a friend go with you as I wouldn’t have wanted to be doing the rock scrambles on my own. The rock scrambles also require lots of upper arm/core strength in addition to strength in your legs. It’s the day after and I am sore as can be. Once you get to the top, there are about 3 overlooks you can view and eat lunch. After an exhilarating climb up, the hike down is rather boring in comparison. Being already tired on the way down was really tough, as you need to walk on an almost flat gravel/dirt road for about .8 miles. DO NOT WEAR SNEAKERS. I wore hiking boots and saw many people in sneakers, the tread and ankle support in my boots helped me so much! I only wish the way down was more interesting rather than walking on a flat road. Took us about 5-6 hours to complete the whole loop.

Great day hike

It's definitely a strenuous hike, but the view is worth it.

Winter Hike On Old Rag

Great place to hike and a great workout! Completed 7.5 mike loop in 4 hours. Going up was the most difficult part; following Ridge Trail is pretty easy with several switch backs until you hit the 2800 ft mark and enter the “Rock Scramble” here the trail becomes a little more difficult to follow and your workout begins, at times you may find yourself doing a little bouldering / rock climbing. Due to the frigid temps, it was a bit slick at times and took additional time to complete the rock scramble. My camelback insulated hose actual froze during the hike. Once you reach the summit your reward is stunning views of the various peaks within Shenandoah. Heading back to the parkinglot it’s easy, all down hill following Saddle Trail then Weakley Hollow Fire Rd, aprx 5 miles, overall very rewarding hike

Stay Nearby

Stanley, Virginia

Big Meadows

Overview Secluded in the thick trees and rolling hills of Shenandoah National Park, the Big Meadows Campground is the ideal spot for an outdoor family getaway.Recreation Shenandoah National Park ha...

Luray, Virginia

Luray Koa

Rileyville, Virginia

Mathews Arm Campground

Overview Secluded in the thick trees and rolling hills of the Shenandoah National Park, Mathews Arm Campground is the ideal spot for a camping getaway.Recreation Shenandoah National Park has over 5...


Getaway Shenandoah

A Handcrafted Hideaway Enjoy your tiny spot in nature - our collection of cabins is spread across 57 acres. The cabins are scattered throughout our Outpost, but you'll be near your neighbors.  Unpl...

From $199/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to the Summit of Mt. Robertson in Shenandoah NP

    This hike is one of the lesser known hikes in Shenandoah. While everyone else is headed to Old Rag, hikers will find themselves on a peaceful hike to the summit of Mt. Robertson. Hikers should park in the Old Rag Parking lot and make sure to pay t...

    9 miles 2500 ft gain

  • Hike White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run Loop

    This route combines Cedar Run Falls and White Oak Canyon Trail (one of the more popular hikes in SNP, with separate adventures detailing those hikes). Parking is easy, but gets very crowded due to the popularity of White Oak Canyon (WOC). When sta...

    8 miles 2500 ft gain

  • Hike Cedar Run Falls Trail

    Cedar Run Falls is located in the central district of Shenandoah National Park.  This is a pretty waterfall that flows into a deep swimming hole.  There are two ways to get to the Cedar Run Waterfall: from the top of the mountain off of Skyline Dr...

    2.6 miles 1000 ft gain

  • Fly Fish on the Robinson River

    There are two sections that you can fish on the Robinson River. The first section is about 15 minutes away from the trailhead of White Oak Canyon. The river is on the right side of the road and you can see where it has bee stocked from the white d...

    6 miles 2000 ft gain