Summary: Old Rag Mountain (3291ft) is the most spectacular mountain in the northern Virginia Blue Ridge. Unlike most of the mountains in the Blue Ridge, it stands alone as an outlying mountain rather than as part of a continuous chain. Old Rag is a popular hike in all seasons; on weekends it can be crowded. Old Rag's attractions include a rugged scramble over and through boulders on the Ridge Trail and spectacular views in all direction. This circuit includes two shelters with fireplaces that can be used for cooking. Camping is not permited above 2500 ft.
Trailhead: 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. do not cross Hughes River. After 3.5 mi from SR 231, just beyond Nethers, VA, and SNP parking area accommodates 200 cars. Park here and walk 0.8 mi to small parking area at end of SR 600. A $5 to $8 fee will be charged for each person over 16. (Lat:38.56 Lon:-78.3)
Trail Guides for Old Rag Mountain, VA:
Circuit Hikes in Shenandoah National Park
by Potomac Appalachain Trail Club (PATC)
A Hikers Guide to the Geology of Old Rag Mountain
by SNP (www.snpbooks.org)
by Potomac Appalachain Trail Club (PATC)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: National Park Service 1-540-999-3500
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joe Cross, who has posted 56 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 32 Submit your own review
Reviewed by RGT on 1/19/2015
Hiked 1/18/15 (Total hike time 9:30 - 4:00.) - 12 yr old daughter struggled on a somewhat slippery day to climb some of the rocks. The rocks were more challenging than we expected but a lot of fun! I would suggest never hiking this trail if it is wet. There was very little snow on the backside of the trail, but the little bit that melted on the trail in the afternoon made the hike back down a little slick. Any wetter would be too dangerous (from a skydiver, bungee jumper, Marine). Great views! Our group of four are all sore and in pain, but well worth the time.
Reviewed by Sean O on 5/13/2014
Great views and challenging rock terrain make this a very enjoyable hike. It rained off and on yesterday so the rocks became a little slick in some spots (note... do not bring running shoes like i did.. duh!) Helpful hints.. I love hiking by myself to escape the daily grind, but this is a hike where you should bring friend(s) cause you never know if you're gonna sprain an ankle or sink into a crevasse and need a buddy to dig you out! Also, if using GPS, type in Old Rag Car Trail. It will take you directly to the closest parking lot which is approx .8 miles from the trailhead. Don't rely on GPS to get you out of the park.. I literally had no signal on my sprint phone until I got like 40 miles away from the park.
Reviewed by Jacob on 5/26/2013
Took my 11 year old son up today. This wasthe the first time I have been up since I was his age. It doesn't appear to have changed a bit in 20+ years. A couple spots are a little gut wrenching if you have any fear of heights but well worth the hike!
Reviewed by Henry on 1/7/2012
The views from this mountain are great, and the rock scramble is hard but fun. I've hiked this mountain twice, and I intend to hike it again. Bring a lot of water, though.
Reviewed by Ian on 11/5/2011
Great Hike done in the snow on the 29th Oct so not crowded and more challenging especially the rock scramble.
Reviewed by Kate on 10/11/2011
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Reviewed by RGR42 on 9/17/2011
Fun hike!! I force marched up the front to the summit, ran around on the rocks, took a quick break, and ran down the backside to complete the loop in 2 hours 4 minutes. I will definitely do it again a few more times this fall!! I was most impressed by the courtesy of everyone on the trail. Thanks for accomodating my pace. Great time!!
Reviewed by UK on 7/5/2011
This is my favorite hike in SNP. It is best to go early in the morning as everyone says. The trails are very well marked and the signage is pretty good. I have done it twice in 3 weeks and I can't wait to do it again. I wouldn't dare to do it alone. The rock scramble is fun, but I needed a pull across the boulders at 2 spots. It is a must do hike especially if one wants something different than the monotony of regular trails. Good shoes, plenty of water (I drank about 3 lt), and snacks are a must.
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