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“Spectacular View” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Old Rag Mountain Hike

Old Rag Mountain Hike
, Shenandoah National Park, VA
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Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Spectacular View”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

This hike starts with just a basic trail winding through the trees and brush. You start to see the random boulder scattered throughout the landscape. Then you come upon your first real challenge. These boulders are enormous. The trail is marked so you really can't get lost. Upper body strength is needed to manoeuvre some of these trails or at least a helping hand in places. There are many places along the way to stop and reflect or to satisfy your eyes with stunning views of the mountains. Take your time.
We started early in the morning and by the time we arrived at the summit, the morning was clear and beautiful. There are no toilets on the going up of the hike, but coming back there are a few places at which you can stop. The going back down part was quick and jarring on the knees, so take your time and don't let the people trying to be fast that are behind you rush you in any way. Just stand off to the side and let them pass and then continue your journey. It took us roughly 5.5 hours to complete the up and down of the trail. Give yourself at least 7 hours to make the trek. It is well worth it.
Standing at the top of the boulder on the top of the trail when the wind is whipping around your hair, makes for a moment when all care is taken away and the beauty before you is the only matter in the world.

Visited September 2012
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148 reviews from our community

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Rapidan, Virginia
Level Contributor
29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“By the full moon”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

This is a very special night and a local hiker leads groups up at night each month when there is a full moon. One side is a gentle slope but on the other side you much do some rock scrambling. Most go up one side and come down the other, assuming you can arrange for your car to be waiting. Views are wonderful and people do this hike all times of year. One friend does it each year on Jan. 1 but in the winter you must be prepared for some ice.

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Columbia, Maryland
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

The parking lot was at least 1/2 mile from the trail head, but there was plenty of parking spots. There was also 4-5 portapotty on site. We took the circuit hike (which was posted 7.7 miles, 7hrs). We started the hike at 9am, we encountered many different people along the hike. It was nice to follow those that knew where they were going. We took many water and snack breaks before we got to the rock scrambling part. By then, I was exhausted but adrenaline kicked in when you're climbing through and under these giant rocks to get to many spectacular views where you can enjoy lunch. Slimmer backpacks and hiking sticks are recommended. The rock scramble was 30-60 mins, and we stayed at the top for 30 mins to eat and rest. Breathtaking views, definitely worthwhile! Coming down the mountain went by so much faster, and the hike back on the road to the trail head was very long. We finished right around 3 pm, so it's doable for beginner hikers. Make sure you have good hiking shoes with treads. Will definitely go again with a group of friends.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Fun hike with GREAT views!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

I went on this hike the Friday after Hurricane Sandy with my boyfriend. We had been worried that there would be snow and lots of trees down on the trail but decided to give it a try anyway. There were rangers clearing the fallen trees and the storm debris and there wasn't much snow at all. A plus side of hiking so shortly after the snow was that there were barely any other people there! The actual hike way exceeded my expectations.

We hiked counterclock-wise and did the rock scramble going uphill. I would definitely not recommend saving that part for the way down the mountain-it doesn't seem too safe in that direction and is much easier to climb up. It took about 2.5 hours to get to the summit with stops for pictures. Definitely pack a lunch and have a picnic at the top for an awesome view. (Unfortunately it was super windy when we were there so we had to cut the picnic short). The way down was pretty easy and we were back at the car park in around 2 hours- more than enough time to drive down Skyline Drive!

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Rockville, MD
Level Contributor
42 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Amazing Views, pack a picnic lunch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012

Old Rag mountain is topped with rocks allowing for amazing views in all directions. It is really special and I highly recommend this hike with the following notes. People who do cardio workouts several times a week will find this lovely hike through the woods for the first miles and a fun scramble over rocks toward the top. For people who don't do that much cardio, this is a difficult hike. You are hiking to the top of a tall mountain and there are parts of the hike that are strenuous. Just plan on taking a few breaks to catch your breath. It's very popular in the fall when the leaves are changing and can be crowded on weekends so if you can make it on a weekday, that is best. Parking is limited and you must have a Shenandoah Nat'l Park parking pass (you can pay at the parking lot - i think it is $15). PRINT OUT your driving directions from the park service website and follow them carefully. There is limited phone and gps around the mountain and gps may try to take you on roads that are not open to the public (I lost my ATT phone service until we got to the first big overlook spot several miles up the trail. My friend didn't have phone service at all with her verizon phone.) We packed our picnic lunch and enjoyed it while taking in the views (you need to take your trash out with you). Can't think of a better way to enjoy an afternoon but I was "ragged out" after that hike ;-)

This website gives you some great information... definitely check it out before you go: http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/old-rag-hike-prep.htm

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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