Old Rag Trail

Sperryville, VA
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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.

This hike is strenuous and very busy. It is pretty hard climb, but when you make it about 3/4 of the way up, then you have some rock scrambling that makes your pace a little slower but gives you a change in what you are doing. There are alot of switchbacks, so you will not be going straight up, but the trails are still at a steep grade. The descent, which is a longer distance than the ascent, is a much more gradual grade, ending on a fire trail.

Take US 522 to SR 231, which is 0.8 mi south of Sperryville, VA and 12.7 mil north of Madison, VA. go south 8.3 mi on SR 231, cross Hughes River, and immediately rutn right (west) onto SR 602. Stary on left side of Hughes River. route number changes to 601, 707, and then 600.

There is parking for about 200 cars.

Park Information: (540) 999-3500

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29 Completed 21 Reviews

Contrary to Scott Kelly , I do this hike 4-5 times a year and after completing the trail 5 times or so I don't bother using the trail anymore . See you at the top! Just a compass and a topo and some good boots . This hike is great the rock scrambles and the overall length of the trail is not only physically demanding but a great introduction To anyone wanting to cover multi-day hikes into the wilderness. The physical strain of this hike is similar to the strain of multi-day, long mile hikes. The scenery at the top is stupendous whether its packed or not . If your looking to an interesting twist on an already amazing hike , try this hike at night with NVG or flashlights . Personally brought my sleeping bag right to the summit and slept under the stars . HOWEVER , there is technically no camping on the summit. Just pack in pack out and clear out before dawn and your golden . What a hike !

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15 Completed 15 Reviews

My favorite hike that I have done in Shenandoah. Although crowds can get tough, during the week or off season is perfect.

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2 Completed 2 Reviews

Old Rag is a fun and beautiful hike that features a very tedious series of switchbacks followed by a rock scramble and lots of spectacular views to the east. The one MAJOR detractor is that this trail is a MOB SCENE on nice weekends despite being located in a federally-designated wilderness area where one might expect to find "opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined" experience. If you want solitude, come during the week, or at dawn on weekends (not 10am). There are also a lot of unprepared hikers on this trail. You should bring AT LEAST three quarts of water, a meal and a half, a trowel, some toilet paper, a first aid kit, a rain jacket, and hiking boots. The ten essentials are a better plan. There is no treated water anywhere nearby (including the trailhead), so either filter the water from the river before you hit the trail or bring it with you. There are a couple seeps on the way up, but they often run dry. A better alternative for those who are looking for solitude or who wish to bring Fido, is the Robertson Mountain hike, which is -right next- to Old Rag, has better views than Old Rag, and is actually five feet higher at the summit. No rock scramble, but otherwise a far superior hike. Finally, if you do hike on Old Rag, PLEASE stay on the trail, even if there's a long line (sometimes it's a two hour wait at one particular point in the rock scramble). Leaving the trail in this area tramples sensitive plant life, puts you in some very unsafe spots, and even if you're extremely careful, sets a poor example for everyone else who might not be as careful as you are. Please Leave No Trace!

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AD H

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15 Completed 15 Reviews

Great day trip

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2 Completed 1 Reviews

Old Rag was a great day trip! My boyfriend and I visited on a unusually warm day in November and the weather was perfect. had it been very hot I wouldn't have enjoyed the trip, because some stretches are quite difficult. The 1-2 mile rock scramble at the top was a lot more challenging (and terrifying!) than I anticipated; be ready to do some climbing. Because of the popularity of this trail, many rocks on the path are worn smooth, so I'd recommend boots with good traction. We completed the 9 mile circuit in under 5 hours. Pack light but do bring protein-packed snacks and plenty of water.

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17 Completed 11 Reviews

Super crowded. We arrived at 8:30 AM on a Sunday and were surprised by the nearly full parking lot. Insane. A very nice hike, and probably the best I've done in Virginia, but the rock scramble was jammed packed with people, making it slow going. Kind of awful actually - like waiting in line for a restaurant. I've done this hike several times before, but this was the first time in maybe 5-6 years. Probably the last time I'll ever try the climb on the weekend.

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8 Completed 4 Reviews

Excellent trail! Did it a few years back with some buddies in college. I remember it being a bit longer than 8.7 miles tho from the farther parking lot. Excellent views along the way. Rock scrambles were actually moderately challenging for just a hike. Plenty of opportunities to do other rock scrambles off the trails. Great views all along the upper portion of the hike. My profile picture is actually from this hike...

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1 Completed 1 Reviews

Awesome trail. I did this loop in 2010 with a hiking group. A lite mist in late September kept it cool. The second time, I took my kids. Since they were only 11 and 13 at the time and since it was January and freeeeezing cold, we took the back way up the Weakley Hollow Road and came back down the same way since I was concerned about the potential for ice on the rock scrambles(they aren't no joke!). There was not snow starting the hike, but several inches half way up. At the summit it was 14 degrees! After the effort to get to the top, we sunned ourselves on the rocks and had a cold lunch. Kids still talk about that hike. Even coming up the back way, it was very memorable.

We had stayed at the base of the mountain in Old Rag Cottage which can be rented by the weekend. At night, the cold wind whipped down off the mountain and shook the cabin. There is also a trail nearby called White Oak trails. While not as challenging or scenic, it is still a nice hike.

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Kena Holmes

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5 Completed 3 Reviews

I LOVE this hike! You better expect to be tired after this hike. I went with my sister brother, who are in good shape. We were able to complete this in 4 hours with a 30 minute lunch stop on the summit. (this was a moderate walking pace) There are plenty of rocks to climb over, under, and through. You need good shoes, plenty of water, and wear pants. You will get scrapped up. I have done this hike twice now, once in perfect weather and once with rain and mist. The mountain looked different each time. If you want to do it in reverse, it might be easier. However, you could miss the rock scramble.

The elevation gain is not correct on this. Hiking Upward has accurate information. The trail is well worn and well marked. If you get to the mountain early enough (7am) there will be very few people on the trail. This is a popular one for its amazing views and how challenging it is. Bring cash for parking.

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5 Completed 2 Reviews

For the first hour of the hike I was prepared to contest the "very challenging" description given this trail by the NPS. However, once the rock scramble began, it became clear why it has that rating. Very fun and very rewarding once you get to the top. Don't attempt this trail however unless you are athletic and nimble as the rocks can be dangerous. Great hike that is best experienced early in the day before major crowds arrive.

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