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Old Rag Mountain Hike
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Columbia, Maryland
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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
3 Thank bluelilmunkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Fun hike with GREAT views!”
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
4 Thank suitcaseshenanigans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockville, MD
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Amazing Views, pack a picnic lunch”
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
5 Thank gsd12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Amazing View”
Reviewed October 17, 2012

The drive getting to the parking lot of this trail is a little far from the main road. Get in early, parking spaces fill up quickly. The map for Old Ridge said the trail is strenuous - for a beginner, it is true. This can also be an all day experience. From the parking lot tot he start of the trail is about a mile. The first two miles of the trail is okay, not much going on. A little pass mile 2, there are some rocks you can rest on and have a good view of the bottom forest. When you hit the beginning of the third mile, you can get a good view on the other side of the mountain. Good place for a picnic too. After this area, the rocky trail begins. I'm not a mountain climber but you need to have a good balance and stamina to get to the very top of the mountain. Some of the rocks can be slippery, so be careful. There is a sign that will tell you the highest peak of the mountain - it will be around mile 4. The view from the top is amazing. Even now, I still could not find the right word/s other than amazing to describe the feeling being on top of that mountain. I suggest going through the whole trail, saw many hikers who after reaching the summit turned around. The walk down from the summit requires a good amount of endurance. As a runner, I would have sped through but living in Florida you don't get to see and experience this much lush forestry and cool weather. It is a nice path to clear your head and just enjoy the scenery. Also If you find yourself in need of assistance, there are volunteers who goes around the trail on a daily basis and there is a phone on the second shelter where you can call for park rangers to pick you up. I suggest to bring liquids with electrolytes as they may come in handy and some snacks too.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank tparunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pahoa, Hawaii
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Perfect escape from the beach, a mountain climbing experience!”
Reviewed October 6, 2012

As I look at the reviews, I realize that people do not consider this a "beginner" hike. It's actually not that hard, you just need to be in some sort of shape and can walk at least 9 miles. The rock scramble was the hardest part and that was only because we wore slippery running shoes. I'm not a mountain climber and I rarely hike because I live on a giant sandbar (no real hikes here!). This is one adventure I cannot believe I did not know about until my friends in Richmond called me up. Amazing views, perfect to pack a lunch for & just all around fun in general. Do it if you know about it!

Visited September 2012
Thank surfbaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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