Old Rag Trail

#1 of 140 trails in Shenandoah National Park

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Old Rag Trail is an 7 mile round trip trail or 8.9 mile loop trail located near Sperryville, Virginia that features a river and is only recommended for serious hiker. The trail is primarily used for camping, hiking, rock climbing & walking and is accessible year-round.

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harry llama (50)

15 Completed1 Reviews

Hiked this on a Friday in mid-March around 9 a.m. Saw less than a dozen people all day. Started at Berry Hollow parking and did the 3 miles along the fire road to reach the trailhead for the Ridge Trail. For reference, I'm in my late forties, and in reasonably good shape, but would not call myself an athlete. I managed to chug up to the start of the scramble in relatively short order. There was plenty of snow and ice in the scramble - some of pretty sketchy (disguising potentially nasty falls or ankle twists). There were three spots where I waited for other hikers before proceeding, just to be safe. All were easily negotiated, but I feel more comfortable making what I would rate as a class 3 move when someone else is nearby. View from the top was extraordinary as always. A group of six idiotic teenagers were blasting music on some sort of portable device, and had no respect for repeated requests even to just turn it down. Come on parents! Continued north to complete the loop. Five hours start to finish, but I was pretty sore for a day or two thanks to all the scrambling. Love, love, love this hike, but don't even want to think about doing it on a crowded day.

Rebecca W. (129)

One of the best single-peak hikes I've done. It has many false peaks that all have incredible views. The scrambling is tricky but very fun. I would highly recommend this hike!

Corinne S. (132)

Novice hiker. I had to take a few photo op breaks during the ascent to manage the climb, but well worth it. The views are spectacular all the way up. Easier track down is 5.2 miles from summit to parking area. Rock scramble was easier than the first two miles up, and a lot of fun. Take gloves! We went on Veteran's Day, Nov, 2013. Crowded, but manageable, and about two weeks past foliage peak.

Mike Row (889)

34 Completed29 Reviews

This has to be a must see hike if you live in Va/DC/Md area. Like others have said, if you don't like crowds go during the week.

Lauren M. (339)

Awesome hike! Always heard of it and finally hiked it myself. I wasn't expecting all the rock to climb over, but it made the hike.

Victoria Dunbar (239)

7 Completed5 Reviews

Awesome hike, awesome views, awesome rock scramble.

David Roe (121)

1 Completed3 Reviews

Forgot to give it my stars.....

David Roe (121)

1 Completed3 Reviews

Forgot to give it my stars.....

David Roe (121)

1 Completed3 Reviews

I call it a "jungle gym for adults".
I've hiked Old Rag at least 8 times and enjoy it every time. I love taking people who have never been especially people with little to no hiking experience. It is easily my favorite hike in the Mid-Atlantic. A lot of people complain that they don't like it because it can be too crowded. But I've never heard anyone complain about the actual hike it self. I agree there can be a lot of people on the trail sometimes but if you can go during mid week (between Tues and Thurs) it's not nearly as bad. Aside from any erosion potential, the amount of people don't bother me too much because if it's such a great hike,... why shouldn't it be popular? Like people who don't like a band solely because they became too popular. If their music is good, why shouldn't a lot of people experience it.
The hike itself is awesome and fairly strenuous . I find the trail itself before you reach the rocks to be harder than the rock part of the climb. Mainly because some parts of the trail going upwards are steep and I personally move slower on inclines as I don't do well with most things cardio.The rock part of the climb is the fun part. Not real strenuous but there are some parts where you need to take your time and analyze your next move before you make it. If you can do this hike at the peak of the foliage on a beautiful sunny day,... that will be your reward for completing an intense hike. I'd hit it perfect twice and there is very little I've ever seen to match it's beauty.
While at the top, play around on the boulders and enjoy the views. If the boulders are wet be really careful, they're slick. If you loved the rock part of the climb, go back the way you came and do it again the opposite way. But if you enjoy seeing things you haven't yet, continue on the circuit and it'll loop you around back to where you started. Parts of the trail on the other side are really pretty. If you have at least 2 full solid days (3 so you can really enjoy it), go backpacking and connect yourself to the White Oak Canyon Trail and hike that. Another beautiful hike. I actually prefer White Oak Canyon when it's raining and Old Rag when it's sunny and beautiful.
Old Rag is a great 1st "intense" hike. If you're hiking has always been casual easier hikes in the woods along streams, etc. yet you've always yearned to do an "intense" hike,..... make Old Rag your first. If you don't end up enjoying it, then harder intense hikes aren't meant for you. And if you go on a cloudy or rainy day you're not going to reap the rewards of the views from your long day. Try to at least make your first Old Rag hike on a beautiful sunny day so you get the full experience.
Happy Hiking

Ashley So (213)

2 Completed2 Reviews

My friend and I hiked Old Rag a couple of days ago on November 25th, 2014. The weather was perfect: partly sunny and in the 50's. Not quite sure what to expect, we powered our way up the Ridge Trail (huffing and puffing but determined to keep our pace). At the top, the views were incredible. We also went off the trail (shh) and climbed some boulders to get the full 360 degree view.

When we started at 9 AM, we saw a two smaller groups of 2 and 3 people and a larger group of about 5 people. There were about 10 cars in the parking lot. When we got back to the lot at 12:45 AM, there were about 30 cars in the lot, and we saw about 5 more groups on our way down the trail. Overall, I truly enjoyed this hike. The trails were very clearly marked, challenging but very doable, and the panoramas were amazing, especially since the fall foliage made the closer mountains glow red. I am still shocked that we were back at the car in 3 hours and 45 minutes, including time spent off the trail and eating lunch. I can't wait to bring the rest of my friends and family to do this hike!!