Hiking Project Logo

Old Rag Loop

Difficult
 4.8 (221) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An extremely popular hike, and for good reason, with awesome scrambling and stunning views.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

8.9

Miles

14.3

KM

Loop

3,221' 982 m

High

859' 262 m

Low

2,362' 720 m

Up

2,359' 719 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildlife

No camping above 2,800 feet.

General Park Pass Info
  • Shenandoah Annual Pass - $55
  • Shenandoah Single Vehicle Fee (7 days) - $30
  • Shenandoah "Per Person" Fee (walk-up/7 days) - $15
  • Shenandoah Motorcycle Fee (7 days) - $25
  • Campground Fees (per site/night) - $15 to $20

Camping Information

Overview

This loop is totally worth it, but make sure you are ready for a lot of people because this is so close to a bunch of cities it gets a ton of traffic even on less-than-ideal days. Do not let this deter you, as this is a classic hike. Just be sure to get an early start.

Need to Know

This is a popular rock climbing spot. Do not throw things off of the cliffs. Check out Mountain Project's Shennendoah National Park climbing beta if you're interested in climbing in the park.

Big backpacks can be cumbersome. The NPS recommends a fanny pack, but a small backpack would be fine. Squeezing through those boulders might just be a tad bit harder.

Description

Park at the Old Rag parking lot and pay the Park fee (see the Restrictions notes). Ridge Trail is the most popular way 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.

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, which can be taken to do this loop in the opposite direction. To complete this loop as mapped, turn left onto Ridge Trail, which starts as a fairly gradual uphill to the first viewpoint, in approximately 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, so please do not throw things off the cliffs. After enjoying the view, head down the southwestern side of the mountain via the various staircases leading to a day-use shelter called Byrd's Nest.

Head down the stone stairs for another mile or so. From there, you'll reach Old Rag day-use shelter which has an outhouse you can use. Continue down the rest of the way until you reach an intersection with Berry Hollow Fire Road and Weakley Hollow Fire Road.

Turn right and head down the yellow-marked Weakley Hollow Fire Road. You'll pass a few trails on your left but just stay straight. On your way back, you'll see the Ridge Trail off to your right and eventually, you'll be back at your car!

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

KC93 Ci

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 221 votes

#15

Overall
  4.8 from 221 votes
5 Star
81%
4 Star
18%
3 Star
1%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Virginia

#15

Overall
300 Views Last Month
26,232 Since May 28, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
5%
0%
86%
8%

Photos

Colorful of fall foliage is the awesome feeling and smell
May 29, 2015 near Stanley, VA
Foggy Old Rag. Still beautiful!
Jul 4, 2016 near Stanley, VA
Old Rag Mountain Summit
Dec 29, 2017 near Stanley, VA
This rocky outcrop defies logic in a great section of the Old Rag rock scramble.
Jul 4, 2017 near Stanley, VA
Perfect picture frame.
May 29, 2015 near Stanley, VA
Best hike in Shenandoah!
Sep 22, 2019 near Stanley, VA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jun 23, 2020
Steven Morrison
Finished 6 hrs, 6 minutes. Got 12.63 miles out of it according to my Fitbit/GPS. A great challenge and a great experience. 12.6mi — 6h 06m
Feb 17, 2020
Alec Lynde
Wonderful hike! Definitely a challenge - both steep and required a bit of climbing in some parts. 9.8mi — 4h 04m
Feb 17, 2020
Amanda Robertson
Great hike, fun scramble. Husband and I did it in about 3 hours. Definitely do it clockwise— I can't imagine wanting to scramble DOWN. 8.9mi — 11h 30m
Jan 26, 2020
Chris Caruso
slayed it — 4h 30m
Jan 12, 2020
Chris Irving
12h 00m
Jan 12, 2020
Chance Johns
Hiked this with karlie. super long fun route. that fucking fire trail is BRUTAL at the end. karlie finished with no shoes on and we finished in the… 8.9mi — 5h 30m
Jan 1, 2020
Kevin Luo
10.8mi
Dec 27, 2019
Lynne W
Beautiful day! Hiked with Erin — 5h 40m