Old Rag Fire Road

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia 22835

Distance4.3mi
Elevation Gain1,984ft
Trailhead Elevation3,329ft
Top3,329ft
Elevation Min/Max1922/3329ft
Elevation Start/End3329/3329ft

Old Rag Fire Road

Old Rag Fire Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Madison County, Virginia. It is within Shenandoah National Park. It is 4.3 miles long and begins at 3,329 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,984 feet. The Old Rag Fore Road parking is near the trailhead. This trail connects with the following: Robertson Mountain Trail, Indian Run Trail, Weakley Hollow Fire Road, Whiteoak Canyon Trail, Corbin Hollow Trail and Meadows Horse Trail.

Old Rag Fire Road Professional Reviews and 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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

Old Rag Fire Road Reviews

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7/12/2018
This is a great day trip for experienced hikers. Aside from the distance and elevation there's some rock scrambling and stream crossings. You should definitely wear some good sturdy hiking shoes. We went right after some rain and it was definitely slippery. The view at the top is really something! Also I recommended going during the week if you can, there's a lot of people during the weekends.
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6/3/2018
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11/13/2011
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.
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7/9/2011
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.
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1/29/2011
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.
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1/9/2010
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.
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6/26/2009
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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2/15/2009
This is the best hike we've done in a while, probably since the multiple Grandfather Mountain trails we did last August. Hiked it on our 18th anniversary and even though it was very cold and windy, it was still pretty busy on this winter Sunday. May not be for beginners however, in fact a guy from Bethesda hiking with his son had dislocated his shoulder about 2/3 of the way through the boulder scramble. We stayed with him until the rangers arrived, which ended up being almost three hours after his son had called 911 around 1pm. We gave him a hot meal as he was not really prepared for leaning against the cold rocks for so long. His only extra warmth other than that was a young woman being a good Samaritan, who had wrapped a space blanket around him and was snuggling up against him to help keep him warm, when we arrived. He's kind of lucky. Bring extra clothes, hats, etc _and _ an emergency blanket when hiking in the mountains, especially during the winter! You just never know what can go wrong. Didn't mind helping him at all but it was interesting hiking the last hour or so in the dark... I would like to hike this trail again some time, but I will try and be in better shape next time. It kicked my butt! ;-)
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10/4/2008
Best hike we've ever done!
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7/21/2008
As the person said below, I would advise starting this hike by ascending the boulders (not starting on the fire path). The trail starts out rather steep and the same trees and rocks can be seen for the first hour or so. My cousin and I hiked at a decent pace. The fun started once we got to the boulders and climbing the rocks. The views were awesome from atop old rag and other various place. Total hike was about 8 miles over a 4 hour period. We took a nice break on top also.
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Trail Information

Shenandoah National Park
Nearby City
Shenandoah National Park
Parks
Difficult
Skill Level
Views, Wildflowers
Features
Shenandoah National Park, 3655 US 211 East, Luray (540) 999-3500 www.nps.gov/shen
Local Contacts
DeLorme: Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer: Page 74, B3
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018