Update: For those meeting to carpool from Fairlington meet in front of the community center 3001 South Abingdon Street, Arlington, VA at 7:00AM.
If you're carpooling from Centreville - get in touch with Don.
September’s hike is going to be a daylong adventure: We’re tackling Old Rag which is one of the most enjoyable and popular hikes in Shenandoah National Park at this time of year.
- This hike will take 6-7 hours, and it takes about 1.5 hours to get there from Arlington.
- This hike is for the more experienced hiker, so take into consideration your fitness level and hiking ability before committing to the hike.
- We’ll go at a moderate pace – not slow but not fast.
- Bring several quarts of water, snacks, sunscreen and lunch to eat at the summit.
- For more information and directions to Old Rag, click here
We’ll be hungry by the end of the trek, so on the way back to the DC area we’ll plan to stop at a british pub in Flint Hill, VA called the Griffin Tavern. [With any luck, like August’s post-hike fun, there will be live music and fiesty regulars telling us to keep it down.]
Additional information on Hiking Old Rag Mountain below:
There are numerous fantastic views from the boulders of Old Rag.
Planning Your Visit
The most important step to a great hiking experience in Shenandoah National Park is good planning. Many of the points below are applicable to any hike, but there are a few special considerations for Old Rag.
- Be sure that you are physically able to complete this hike. The circuit hike is about 9 miles. There is a significant elevation change and a strenuous rock scramble that requires good upper body strength. Often, children and shorter adults need assistance navigating the scramble.
- Take at least 2 quarts of water per person. Dehydration is one of the most prevalent issues.
- Wear sturdy shoes that will support your ankles and allow you to to get a foothold without slipping.
- Allow 7 or 8 hours. Yes, people do it in less time but, like all types of travel, you may experience unanticipated delays. It's always a good idea to have a headlamp in case you don't complete your hike before dark.
- Be sure you know the forecast and never attempt this hike in wet or icy conditions.
- Stay with your group and stay on the trail. Do not allow children to run ahead.
- Although you need to be sure you have plenty of water and food, it is a good idea to pack as lightly as possible. Most hikers prefer fanny packs to backpacks which can be difficult to maneuver through the rock scramble.
- Planning your hike on a weekday will enhance your experience. Old Rag can become very crowded on weekends. At times, the parking lot will be full and there will be long lines and substantial waits at some of the narrow passages. For current conditions follow us on Twitter: ShenandoahNPS.
- Pets are strictly forbidden on Old Rag for their own and hikers' safety.
Here's some directions plucked from the Mid Atlantic Hiking Meetup Group (thank you Kelly Carlisle!):
Directions to Old Rag Parking Lot
GPS Coordinates to Where We Meet:
N 38 34' 13'
W78 17' 12'
Note: We meet in the large parking lot.
Central District of Park
(Between Thornton Gap, US Hwy 211 and Swift Run Gap, US Hwy 33)
Finding the Trailhead from the North
Take 66 W, and merge onto Lee Hwy/US-29 S via Exit #43A. (11.5 mi)
Merge onto US-211 W/US-29 BR S toward US-15 BUS/WARRENTON/LURAY. (2.0 mi)
Turn slight right onto US-211/FROST AVE. Continue to follow US-211 W. (26.9 mi)
Turn left onto BERRYVILLE PIKE/US-522. Continue to follow US-522.
Take US 522 to SR 231, which is 0.8 mi south of Sperryville, VA and 12.7 mi north of Madison, VA.
Go south 8.3 mi on SR 231, cross Hughes River, and immediately turn right (west) onto SR 602.
Stay on left side of Hughes River. Stay on the same road and note that the route number changes to 601, 707, and then 600 even though you make no turns! Do not cross Hughes River. After 3.5 mi from SR 231, just beyond Nethers, VA, a Shenandoah National Park parking lot accommodates 200 cars. (See the South directions for an alternate description of the final approach.)
Especially during busy weekends, parking can be another challenge. All Old Rag hikers must use the large parking area at the Old Rag Fee Station. The small parking area at the Old Rag Trailhead is NOT open to the public.
Visitors hiking Old Rag must have a valid Shenandoah National Park entrance permit. You can purchase permits and yearly passes from Rangers when present, or via self-pay at the Old Rag Fee Station. To learn more about Shenandoah's Fees click here.
For more about the Old Rag area, click here.
For additional Old Rag resources and to see what the bloggers are saying click here.
Summit of Old Rag