Old Rag Mountain Loop

Hiking Tours

Old Rag Mountain Loop

Explore this 15.0-kilometer circular trail near Etlan, Virginia. Generally regarded as a difficult route. Because this is a popular hiking region, you will most likely come across other people while exploring. This trail is best visited between May and October. Dogs are not permitted on this trail, so leave them at home.

Although difficult, this hike is one of the most popular in Shenandoah National Park. Many people have described it as a "brutally awesome" walk. Your ascent to the peak will feature several rocky switchbacks, so you won't be heading straight up, but the trails are still difficult. The descent, which will be slightly longer than the ascent, will have a much more gentle grade.

To begin, take a one-mile walk up the road to the original Old Rag parking lot. Turn left along the Ridge Trail and start your two-mile ascent over switchbacks before reaching the boulder scramble part. The trail is marked with handwritten numbers beneath the blue route blazes. Throughout the scramble, you'll be traveling up, down, in between, around, and underneath granite boulders. Keep a watch out for the blue blazes while rock scrambling, as they can appear in unexpected places.

Throughout your journey to Old Rag Mountain, whenever you think you've arrived at the top, you haven't! There are multiple false peaks on this mountain. When you see the brown, you've arrived at the Old Rag Summit.

While rock hopping down, you'll come across two shelters. The Byrds Nest Shelter comes first, followed by the Old Rag Shelter (privy here) before reaching a fork. Return to the parking area by staying to your right on the Weakley Hollow Fire Road for about four miles. You'll pass through lovely forests and see Brokenback Run, which flows into the Hughes River.

This is a difficult hike that will take most users several hours to complete. It is strongly advised that you bring lots of water with you on your excursion. Hiking Old Rag should be on the bucket list of every Virginia hiker.