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by Bill and Mary Burnham (Falcon Guides)
Old Rag is so popular, the park has special rules for recreational use. There’s a fee to park and use the trails on certain weekends and holidays during summer and fall. What’s the attraction? Old Rag is a quick drive from Northern Virginia and offers day-trippers a craggy knob with eye-popping views. Beating the crowds on Old Rag means hiking in the off-season. Mountain laurel decorates the Saddle Trail with white and pink blossoms during spring. In fall, views from Old Rag across Weakley Hollow are filled with autumn colors. Whatever the season, carry a warm overshirt or jacket; wind and no tree cover can make Old Rag’s summit feel positively alpine.
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
by Bert & Jane Gildart (Falcon Guides)
A climb to the top of one of the park’s most famous peaks presents incredible views from the summit.The rocks of Old Rag are among the park’s oldest. Billions of years ago, the granite that forms the crest of Old Rag was thousands of feet underground.With time, the rocks uplifted to the point where they now perch atop this 3,268-foot mountain. At the same time, the igneous rock that once surrounded today’s boulders eroded and exposed them. Seeing these rocks shrouded in all the various weather conditions is one of the rewards of hiking to the summit of Old Rag. Another reward includes completing a quick self-taught course in “Rock Climbing 101” as you scramble over and under boulders. Just be sure not to climb on days when the rocks are wet. No pets are allowed on the Ridge Trail or the Saddle Trail.
AMC's Best Day Hikes in The Shenandoah Valley
by Jennifer Adach and Michael R. Martin (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
No other hike in the Shenandoah Valley rivals the fame of the scramble along Old Rag’s Ridge Trail. If you’re going to do only one hike in the area, this might very well be the one. But come prepared—the Class 3 terrain atop is as challenging as it is rewarding.Old Rag is one of the best hikes in the region, and everybody knows it. Mid-morning on a beautiful spring day, count on finding this parking lot full to bursting and plan on encountering a few thousand of your best friends on the mountain. For more solitude, come on a weekday or on a day when the weather is less than ideal. Even then, this is a very popular hike; expect to wait in lines at some of the obstacles. The terrain at ridgeline is challenging and will likely require you to use your hands to pull yourself up and over the rocks; if you’re uncomfortable with very rocky terrain, this may not be an ideal hike for you.
AMC's Best Day Hikes Near Washington, D.C.
by Stephen Mauro and Beth Homicz (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Old Rag Mountain is a strenuous rock scramble on an eastern spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park and one of the most popular hikes in the Mid-Atlantic region.
A fun hike with a lot of great views. The "rock scramble" was by far my favorite part. It requires you to climb over, squeeze through, duck under, and slide down a variety of obstacles. This is a busy trail, so if you plan on hiking it on the weekends be prepared. You may have to wait at some of the more difficult climbing parts as people figure it out. At one spot almost everyone required a hand from above or a push from below as they tried to get over a boulder. I hiked this on a Sunday and the crowd at the top was quite large. The rocks provide a great challenge if you are looking for something different than a regular trail. Overall it deserves its reputation as one of the best hikes in VA.
Amazing Hike, very strenuous, you must be somewhat in condition to do this hike. We went on a Saturday & there were alot of hikers, I always feel better, when there are alot of people around. I am short 5" & there was 2 spots I wouldn't be able to complete without a little help, due to reach & short legs. The view was spectacular & we had a great day. This hike took us 7 hrs. There is a extra walk to the trailhead I don't think they counted.
Absolutely stunning views and overlooks. We did this in the ice and snow which is nothing to joke about, the trail in those conditions is very challenging. However, in the dry weather you can take the trail more light heartedly.
Truly a treat no matter the season. The average temperature was 23.5 degrees with windgusts up to 45 mph when unmasked from the treeline. With considerable snow and ice still blanketing the terrain it was no walk in the park but the trails sheer majesty and beauty made it overwhelmingly worth it. The rock scramble with the added ice resulted in some challenging obstacles but they made the summiting all the more worth it. A sensual and spiritual pleasure despite the wintery conditions. Do not let the cold and ice deter you.
what a great hike, super walk in the woods, and the scranble to the top is challlenging but doable!
Pay your parking fee at the lower lot before heading up -- no pay post at upper lot.
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