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September Hike - Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park

  • Sep 30, 2012 · 9:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

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.

Directions

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.)


Parking

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.


Fees

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

Join or login to comment.

  • Deborah

    I know that Don said only a min. of two required - but I added 3 more stars for a truly great event!

    October 1, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Absolutely perfect hike led by the most outstanding leader ever! Best group hike I have ever been on - look forward to many more!

    October 1, 2012

  • Helmut

    This hike was a blast!!!!! Thanks to the Fab 5 for leading the way, to Don for all the entertainment, to Adrienne for making us smarter, and to Gary for sweeping up the rear with his big stick!!!

    October 1, 2012

  • Jean

    I've never laughed so much on a hike! So much fun. Thanks to Adrienne for organizing, to Gary for driving (he had the biggest stick), to Helmut and Paul for the helping hands on the rock scramble., and to everybody for all the laughs.

    September 30, 2012

  • Don

    The Fab Five rocked. For the others, you did OK, and don't feel bad. Great job of organizing by Adrienne--great post-hike fun at Griffin Tavern.

    September 30, 2012

  • Adrienne

    Outstanding group of folks attended this event, lots of fun.

    September 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Don, ill be there in 10.

    September 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The one right past centerville, correct?

    September 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    [masked] is my cell

    September 30, 2012

  • Don

    Ok Tammie, are you leaving now?....Dunkin Donuts: 14631 Lee Highway I will email my phone

    September 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Don, i live @ tysons corner, I can meet you anywhere on 66

    September 30, 2012

  • Don

    If anyone has room after forming the carpool, and you are willing to stop on the way right off of rt 66 at Lee Highwy, the Dunkn Donuts (address posted below), let me know, and I will leave the house when you guys leave.

    September 30, 2012

  • Scott

    I'm not feeling well this morning... hope to join for October's hike.

    September 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Rag, you are on attendee list.

    September 29, 2012

  • raaj

    I assume I am still on waitlist.
    well I hope to join in next hike.
    have fun

    September 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm going to be coming from Vienna, anyone else want to carpool?

    September 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Janet. Shall I ride with you? I'll buy you gas, bring you an apple, pretty much suck-up the whole way there :?)

    September 27, 2012

  • Don

    I prefer to ride, but willing to drive, but want to meet at a convenient spot on the way, e.g., right off of 66 West: Centreville Park & Ride, or better yet, a block away, Dunkin Donuts: 14631 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA. Meet at 8am.

    September 25, 2012

  • Adrienne

    All - if you plan to carpool from Fairlington Community Center or from Centreville Park and Ride - please post here to coordinate your rides with each other.

    September 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'd like to hitch a ride if anyone wants to car pool.

    September 23, 2012

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