Old Rag Mountain Hike; Shenandoah National Park Va
Total Mileage: 9.8 Miles Directions 38.570708,-78.286080
Total rise: 2500′ Facebook
Hike Time: 5.5 Hours My Pintrest
Significance: Rock scrambles, views East Coast Fire Towers
Here is some of what you need to know: This place is Busy, there were 20 cars in the lot by 9 am mid-week, late November; could you imagine a summer weekend? I read the lot fits 200 cars, charge of $10 per person or $25 per car 2017.
-We hiked clockwise on the map.
1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them large
The official parking area is about 0.8 miles from the start of the trail, walk the road until the end where you will find the clearly marked trail head.
The first 2.3 miles from the trail head is all woods; we gained about 1550′ of elevation over those miles. There was a nice stream and several boulders that presumably fell from the top of the mountain many lifetimes ago. Overall it was a nice climb to the rocks.
We went from seeing a few rocks to full on rock scramble in no time. What is cool about scrambles is that you do not need rope; you WILL need to boost yourself up and ease your self down in places. It is a ton of fun, but is it dangerous? well yes, but we were not required to walk along any steep cliffs, the trail was well marked with light blue blazes, and in some areas you can find another route around if you need to. Bottom line is, you can expect a tough mile, but it was very doable. We hit a bunch of false summits, finally a sign that we could not miss informed us that we had arrived; there was a ton of boulders to climb around on, or to take shelter from the wind while you have lunch.
Do not forget about the Views! Look west you will see a horizontal line in the mountain, and that would be the Blue Ridge Highway as it travels underneath Hawksbill and Stony Man’s Mountain (both great Hikes). The east is very flat and looks very cool, I wonder if I could see the Chesapeake? To the North you will see Hot and Short Mountain.
The trail after the summit resembles the trail in the beginning of the hike, nice steady drop in elevation, rocky in places; it is about 5 miles from the summit to your car. There are two day shelters on the way down, the lower one had a bathroom. 1.8 miles from the top you will come to a 4-way intersection, take a hard right onto Weakley hollow Fire road, the blazes are yellow now and you will follow this all the way to the trail head (ignore the two blue blazed trails off to the side). If you want to see the views from the summit but want to avoid rock scrambles you can do the loop counter-clockwise it is 10 miles up and back.
We love our spring and fall trips into Virginia, the hiking is awesome and the weather is perfect. Be sure to check out the East Coast Fire Towers page and enjoy your trip.