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black Ridge Trail

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2.9 mile 4.6 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 2,070' 631 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 3,254' 992 m
Low: 1,185' 361 m


Avg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)


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Trail shared by KC93 Ci

Enjoy steep rock scrambling with awesome views on one of the Mid-Atlantic's most popular routes.

KC93 Ci

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

No camping above 2800 feet.


This is the most popular trail to get to the top of Old Rag. It is steep, long and requires a lot of rock scrambling. If you get hurt here it can take hours to be rescued, so only do this hike if you are prepared.

From the parking area, follow the road about 0.8 miles to the trailhead which should be marked in blue. If you continue straight you'll go onto Weakley Hollow Fire Road. Turn left onto the trail as it starts up a fairly gradual climb to the first viewpoint at about two miles. From here, the trail becomes rockier until the second viewpoint. After this, the hike quickly turns into more of a climb. There are often tight passages between rocks and stone staircases. If your backpack is too big it might require you to remove it in order to squeeze through the rocks.

After another mile, you'll reach the summit, which is especially fantastic in the fall. There can be rock climbers around the summit. Please do not throw things off the cliffs. After enjoying the view, head down the southwestern side of the mountain via the various staircases to a day use shelter called Byrd's Nest.

Check out Mountain Project's Shennendoah National Park climbing beta if you're interested in climbing in the park.

Flora & Fauna

You are likely to see deer and other wildlife, as well as a steady profusion of wildflowers during the spring, summer, and fall. Watch for changes in vegetation as you gain altitude.


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Feb 24, 2018
Jena Turner
Rock scrambles were very fun, would love to try again in dry weather! 2.9mi
Feb 18, 2018
Chris R
Aug 19, 2017
Shammy S
Mar 11, 2017
Donovan Fitzgerald
A steep trail that leads to some awesome boulder scrambling. A great workout to some of the best views in VA!!!! 2.9mi
Feb 1, 2017
Cameron Titus
My phone GPS says 3.5 miles. I did feel like I got lost a little here and there. Not sure if that makes the difference (started at start post - not... 2.9mi
Oct 17, 2016
Chris McCloud
Oct 15, 2016
Chris McCloud
Done as part of Old Rag Loop, first hike done with Jiaxin Wei.
Oct 13, 2016
Chris McCloud

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 10 votes


  5.0 from 10 votes
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in Virginia


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