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


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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

IMPORTANT: Shenandoah now requires pre-purchased tickets to access any part of this trail in addition to the park pass. You CANNOT purchase day-of tickets in the parking lot!

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 with improvements by Theodore Harkness

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 289 votes

#18

Overall
  4.8 from 289 votes
5 Star
83%
4 Star
16%
3 Star
1%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Virginia

#18

Overall
67 Views Last Month
31,260 Since May 28, 2015
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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
rock scrambling
Sep 22, 2019 near Stanley, VA
This rocky outcrop defies logic in a great section of the Old Rag rock scramble.
Jul 4, 2017 near Stanley, VA
Old Rag Mountain Summit
Dec 29, 2017 near Stanley, VA
Beautiful and shaded hike back from the summit.
Sep 22, 2019 near Stanley, VA
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 63 days ago
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jan 1, 2024
Cheri C
8.7mi
Oct 20, 2023
Colleen Gebauer
Lots of rock scrambles near the top, few falls, but slides, and climbing down on stomach 9.2mi — 5h 30m
Oct 20, 2023
Brooke Walczak
Fun hike with rock scrambles that required some sliding, crawling, jumping, and careful falling. 8.9mi
Oct 13, 2023
Meredith Wozniak
Sep 6, 2023
Geoff Prall
Sep 3, 2023
Page Pest
9.7mi — 4h 45m
Aug 12, 2023
Steven Eliades
Aug 1, 2023
Emily White
Started ridge trail at ranger station, not too busy, did need a day pass booked online. Continued on ridge trail up to Summit with frequent snacks.… 8.9mi — 5h 00m
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